Unveiling Existentialism in Camus’s ‘The Outsider’: Exploring Absurdity and the Human Condition

The Outsider is the famous work of Camus, a French writer, and one of the outstanding works of existentialism literature. The book describes all kinds of absurd things that the protagonist Mersault experiences in the absurd world and his own absurd experience in a rough way with an objective record style of “zero degree”.

From attending his mother’s funeral to becoming a murderer by accident to being sentenced to death, Mersault seemed indifferent to everything. He was like a symbolic symbol, representing a universal existence, and like a blood-red beacon, with a high degree of warning.

However, the outsider phenomenon is undoubtedly bred by the world itself, and Murthau’s existence has its profound external reasons.

In his novels, plays, essays and treatises, Camus deeply reveals the loneliness of man in the alien world, the increasing alienation of himself and himself, and the inevitability of sin and death. However, he does not despair and despair while revealing the absurdity of the world. He advocates to rise up in absurdity and insist on truth and justice in despair. He points out another free humanitarian road for the world.

His courage to confront life’s gloom, his audacity to do what he knew was impossible, made him the voice of his generation and the spiritual teacher of the next generation after World War II, not only in France but also in Europe and ultimately throughout the world.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) is a famous French novelist, essayist and playwright, a master of existentialism literature.In 1957, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature for “passionately and calmly clarifying the various problems posed to the human conscience at the present time.” He is one of the youngest Nobel laureates in history.

“All personality traits mean strength.”Camus

“The world doesn’t matter, and whoever admits it wins freedom.”–Camus


Everyone in this world is unique and has their own way of communicating with the world.

Mersault was an ordinary person who couldn’t be more ordinary. His personality was a little distant and indifferent. He didn’t have a strong desire for life. Everything was inevitable. He was pushed by the people, things and environment around him passively. However, he also sucked his own taste of life in the boring and dull days.

But this indifference is the reason for those who play with the authority of the law to criticize and become evidence of their self-defined norms for the mental destruction of “dissidents.”

Because of his different behavior from most people, Murthau, loyal to his own feelings, eventually became an outsider in his own destiny.

The novel slowly unfolds its narrative in plain language and at a gentle pace, but little by little it leads the reader into a swamp, gradually sinking and unable to breathe.

Especially the psychological description of Mersault at the end of the novel, that helpless longing, makes people heavy and painful!The person who should have been an outsider decided his life and death, and he himself could only be an outsider in his own life.

How helpless!Sad!


The story of ordinary clerk Merso committing murder without knowing it and being sentenced to death by the court.

In a few thousand words, the feeling of an outsider runs through: at his mother’s funeral, Mersault is not sad, he is not crying, he is exhausted.

After his mother was buried, he lived a normal life, had sex with girls, watched comedy movies; made friends with neighbors who had bad reviews; girlfriend proposed marriage, but it didn’t matter; boss proposed better promotion opportunities, but also lacked interest; after being imprisoned for murder, lawyers or prosecutors, people handled the case as if they were completely ignoring him, their fate was decided by them, and they were excluded from the trial process like an outsider,”reduced to a zero”…

After being arrested for murder, he did not feel uncomfortable in prison. He used memories of the layout and placement of small objects in the house, the pattern of small objects to pass the time.

“I often think that if I were to live in the trunk of a dead tree, I could do nothing but look up at the clouds in the sky. Day after day, I would gradually get used to it, and I would wait for the birds to fly away and the clouds to gather and disperse.In the end, one can get used to anything.”

Mersault accepts everything.He did not care about the direction and meaning of life, thinking that “the world knows that life is too troublesome and not worth it.”

It is such a person who is indifferent by nature, incompatible with human society, loyal only to himself, and has no aggression or harm to society. He is accused of killing people and executed because he did not cry at his mother’s funeral. The judicial system judges according to social order and good custom. How absurd!

The story is very short, read in an afternoon, but for a long time can not calm down.

It is a sin not to flow into the secular world. It is really sad.


“I” always have a sense of alienation from the world, everything around me is not good or bad, life and death are inevitable, yesterday or tomorrow is no different.

Camus’s “I” in the postscript is a person who breaks the routine, refuses to accept the conventions of the world, insists on expressing his true self-feeling, always examines the world, feels that life is nothingness, everything is irrelevant, and the lack of “I” caused by imprisonment makes him strongly want to live for everything that used to be daily outside the wall, free air, trees, noise.

My understanding is that life is meaningless in essence. The end of life is nothingness. The end of reason is sensibility. It is rational behavior to find the meaning of human nature. However, the answer to this question is rooted in the sensibility in people’s hearts. After encountering nothingness, what people still want to live enthusiastically can only be love born from sensibility. It is to see the warm sun in early winter, to see the flowers and buds in bud, to see the cattail fan in the hands of the old man, to see the laughter of the children playing in the alley. Is to see smoke curling from chimneys;

Finally, about Camus ‘speech at the Nobel dinner, I can’t help but copy it:

“Art doesn’t seem to me to be a lonely orgy.Art is a means by which the common sufferings and joys of mankind are presented in a peculiar way, and which moves most people.So it forces the artist out of isolation and into submission to a most simple and universal truth.And usually the man who chooses an artistic career because he thinks he is different soon finds that his art and his uniqueness can only be nourished by acknowledging his commonality with all beings.It is in this constant communion of himself with others, with the beauty he cannot put aside and with the group he cannot detach himself from, that the artist develops himself.This is also why true artists do not despise anything; they demand that they must understand everything, not judge everything.”

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