Existentialism In My Life

As we finished reading The Stranger, I decided to think about how different my life would be if I lived following this philosophy. The main question I asked myself was could I even do it? I think the short answer is no. I’m still grasping the whole concept of existentialism but here is what I know: I am a part of a world that values social constructs so much that we are convinced they give our life meaning, when in fact, only I can give my life meaning.

In The Stranger, Mersault says, “Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter” (114). I believe this to be true but I can’t help but not want it to be true. I learned that life is absurd and that life is full of pain and suffering, and we use things such as, love, family, money, and religion to distract ourselves from these truths. Mersualt does not. He does not rely on anyone to make him happy, he uses his thoughts to control his own life, and I admire that because I can admit to myself that I could never live like that.

I know that living this way is supposed to set you free and set you on the path to real happiness but in my opinion this would make me so depressed. I take comfort in my family and in love, and if those things held no more meaning to me, then what does? Why should it matter if these values are “fake” or “not fake”? If we’re going to die someday it shouldn’t matter what caused your happiness as long as you are happy.

I do admire the philosophy of existentialism and what it can give people but it’s just not for me.

The Meaning of the Sun in the Stranger

In the novel, The Stranger, there is the repeated usage of weather, more specifically, the sun and its heat. The sun symbolizes Meursault’s inner conflicts and overall battles. This makes sense because the sun’s appearance is during times of uncomfort and distress, for example, his mother’s funeral.

When we were first introduced to the story we took a questionaire that asked us “If you do not cry at your moms funeral, is there something wrong with you?” I said yes.

During the funeral for his mom Mersault had an overwhelming response to the heat but no response to his mothers death. Mersault desribed the sun as, “All around me there was still the same glowing countryside flooded with sunlight. The glare from the sky was unearable” (16). Mersualt repeats how the sun is bothersome.

Is there something wrong with Mersault for not crying at his mother’s funeral? I’m not sure yet. I think this is how Mersult shows his feelings. Instead of expressing outward expression the things around him feel more intense and he cannot focus. This happens later on in the novel when he kills Arab the man. He is experiencing something uncomfortable, so the sun becomes intense again.

The sun is negative in Mersault’s life whether you think he has feelings or not. It symbolizes his feelings but mybe later on in the novel it can show us when something bad will happen again.