Albert Camus Essays

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Camus France WWII France Under Essay

Words: 1600 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 34790877

Throughout his play, collective devastation is met with personal suffering. It is only when this becomes a shared suffering that it can become a collective way to redemption. The divides of a war now over would give way to this shared experience for all peoples of France, charged with the responsibility of rebuilding.

Indeed, this speaks much to the futility of war itself, as spoke by Camus when he resolves that "all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories" (Camus, 262). The viewpoint expressed here is in informed by the severity of World War II and the unprecedented global experience of attempting to be removed from this trauma. In the resolution instigative of this discussion, we can see that Camus holds on to some sense that man is inherently more a good creature than a bad one, and that he is to be recognized for his virtues. This is an optimism which is perhaps confided in desire and necessity more than anything else.

This notion contributes, though, to the determination that man's life is steeped in suffering, from which he must be constantly prepared to find ways to protect himself. And moreover, the text is paired with the viewed documentaries in their suggestion that the real triumph of human life is finding ways to overcome its vanity, its suffering, and indeed the evils of our fellow man, to achieve the type of expressive redemption which drives works like the Plague.

It would only be through the type of philosophical charity concerning man's capacity for good suggested by Camus that the world could begin to remove itself from the experience of man's capacity for evil.

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Camus, Albert. The Plague. 1947. NY: McGraw Hill, 1965.
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Camus in the Book the Essay

Words: 701 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 54263026

It is true that Grand changes over the book. He finds within himself the words to express himself and knows how he would act differently given the chance. He is redeemed at the end when he overcomes illness.

However, it appears that the individuals who are the greatest heroes in real life are those who change the most when confronted with adversity. This is because they are the ones who will help others change. They can be role models and encourage people to find something deep within themselves to deal with suffering, find love or destroy evil. Change agents are the ones who can motivate people to fight against the Hitlers and not be afraid of change inside or the world around them.

Who is this person who changes the most? As noted, Grand transformd, but not to an extreme. Nor is it Rieux who is always willing to help others, Paneloux who does not actually alter his religious convictions, or even Cottard who changes for a while. Overall, it is Rambert who undergoes the greatest change over the first 170 pages of the book. At first he wants to leave Oran; he wants to run away and not face who he is inside. He does not want to get involved. Ignorance is bliss. However, he begins to change when realizing that he can make a difference if facing reality. He can be useful. As in real life, his transformation does not come easily, but rather gradually. First not running away, then accepting to stay, and finally not wanting to leave. Now, he is no longer a stranger to himself or to others. "Until now I always felt a stranger in this town, and that I'd no concern with you people. But now that I've seen what I have seen, I know that I belong here whether I want it or not. This business is everybody's…… [Read More]

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Camus the Search for Meaning Essay

Words: 594 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 91022899

" By imagining Sisyphus happy, it then becomes possible to find our own happiness in no matter what situation.

Camus begins his argument with a powerful statement about suicide, noting that it is the most important of all philosophical problems. The question of suicide cuts to the core of whether life has any meaning. If life has no meaning then it only makes sense to end the life, and seek meaning elsewhere. Camus claims that accepting absurdity negates the function of suicide, and renders suicide itself an absurdity. To commit suicide is no different than perpetuating blind and useless faith in an abstract God. Both acts entail surrendering the personal will. Suicide and blind faith both deny personal responsibility and instead project and expect meanings onto the universe. Camus' argument is self-empowering. Instead of having faith or hope, holding out for the revelation of true meaning, the individual has the opportunity to reach enlightenment in the present moment. Imagining Sisyphus happy is a bold mental step, and can be a paradigm shift. Taking personal responsibility means transforming one's perspective by embracing the absurd.

One of the strongest points in Camus' the Myth of Sisyphus is the explanation of what an individual can do with knowledge of the absurd. Art is one of the primary suggestions on how to deal with the absurd. Through absurd art, one has the power to help others achieve the same state of mind. The absurd life can also be expressed by comedians, actors, political activists, and even simple hedonists who live life to the fullest in every moment.

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Works Cited:
Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus.
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Camus -- the Plague an Essay

Words: 1970 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 7371224

Yet, even Tarrou must fall to the plague inevitably. Camus as much as says that while Tarrou's ideals may be beautiful, they are not ultimately the truth: there is no moksha for Tarrou -- only death. Does absurdism expect that one's best course of action is to interact with life at a slight remove -- as Rieux does? No definite answer can be given.

Cottard, however, is definitely not the best example of how society should act in the face of the absurd. His attempted suicide leads him to more irrational and violent behavior. His foil is found in the person of Rambert -- who, like Cottard -- attempts to find a "way out," at least initially. Gradually, Rambert is moved to shame for his desire to escape and seek his happiness outside of the human experience that is happening in Oran. Rambert finally decides to stay and help even though his conniving produces him a chance to escape. His sacrifice is rewarded at the end, when he is reunited with his wife, who has been waiting on the outside. Rambert is recognized as the man whose courage fails only to be revived by conscience -- the simple man, who embodies neither high ideals nor scientific inquiry, but who recognizes the good within himself.

Yet -- each of these representations is ephemeral, as Camus suggests at the end: "The men and the women Rieux had loved and lost, all alike, dead or guilty, were forgotten" (248). The conviction or belief in transcendentals -- in eternity -- is absent in Camus' The Plague. High ideals are noble and praiseworthy, but in the end what is left? Spectacle, admiration, experience…the effects, in other words, of the "age of faith," still being felt even as the new world sputters to a halt under the plague of "modernity."

In conclusion, Camus' The Plague is full of characters who are representative, within the framework of absurdism, of the social spectrum ranging in extremes from good to ill. Through Rieux, Rambert, Tarrou, and Paneloux, Camus creates a panorama of social characteristics that reveal themselves when the world reveals itself to be a place of…… [Read More]

Camus, Albert. "The Myth of Sisyphus." Web. 4 Aug 2011.

Camus, Albert. The Plague. Web. 4 Aug 2011.
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Guest and Sonny's Blues Albert Essay

Words: 899 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 48207320

Daru is still trying to cling to a sense of morality; yet, the Arab himself shows how this will not work in a world of uncertainty because after he is set free, he goes to the police station himself.

James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" Topic 6

James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is an interesting tale of a lost soul, who finds his solace and ability to express himself through the art of music. Sonny lost both of his parents, and his brother was not there for him during the times he needed him the most. Sonny's brother did not understand his suffering, and as a result he turned his back on Sonny during his times of darkness. Sonny was left alone in a world of darkness and he was not strong enough to deal with it in a healthier manner, as his brother did. Therefore, Baldwin writes "this life, whatever it was, had made him older and thinner and it had deepened the distant stillness in which he had always moved" (Baldwin 100). He had turned to drug and crime to get by. Essentially, the hard-knock life of living in Harlem during the extreme racism and despair of that era had worn Sonny down. Sonny simply just didn't fit into the world that his brother had spent so long trying to. However, as his brother witnesses when he attends Sonny's concert, Sonny found a way to cope with the harsh realities of New York City. After hitting rock bottom, he found music. Through the Blues, Sonny could truly express himself without the fear of being rejected or demeaned. The very nature of Blues music drew him in; it helped express his sadness while giving him the freedom of improvisation to try to cope with his emotions on his own terms. Sonny is able to make the ugliness of his own life into…… [Read More]

Baldwin, James. "Sonny's Blues."

Camus, Albert. "The Guest."
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Kant Camus Kant and Camus Essay

Words: 1439 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 95083014

If Kant's points are to be assimilated when adopting a moral stance which is consistent with man's dignity, such absolute terms are inevitably defined by dominant social structures, bringing us to the application of a normative theoretical structure. The inextricable relationship which theology and morality have shared throughout history tends to have a tangible impact on the way these hegemonic standards are defined.

And Kant, rejects any flexibility outright, however. Beyond its deviation from his established disposition toward moral absolutes, such variation violates Kant's maxim about man as an end rather than a means. Man is to be the motive for moral acts, with his dignity defining right and wrong. Indeed, as he pointedly phrases it, "the laws of morality are laws according to which everything ought to happen; they allow for conditions under which what ought to happen doesn't happen." (Kant, 1)


Like Kant, Camus asserts a clear ethical rejection of the act of suicide such as demonstrated in his the Myth of Sisyphus. Published in 1942, the original essay concerns the absurdity of life and the necessity to recognize this without succumbing to nihilism. However, as it addresses the subject of suicide as a possible outcome of recognizing the absurd meaninglessness of life, the Myth takes an explicit stance against the Kantian categorical imperative. Camus clearly rejects the emphasis on the broad social impact of individual decisions. To the point, his text remarks that "suicide has never been dealt with except as a social phenomenon. On the contrary, we are concerned here at the outset, with the relationship between individual thought and suicide. An act like this is prepared within the silence of the heart, as is a great work of art.' (Camus, 4)

The poetic impulses demonstrated here aside, Camus takes the view that the individual's unique battle with this absurd meaninglessness of life will take on its own proportions. To the point, Camus insists that there is an inherency in all men to consider the implications of suicide, whether or not this is any serious or actionable proportion. This is, Camus argues, because the sudden awareness or the persistent enduring of the apparent absence…… [Read More]

Camus, a. (1942). The Myth of Sisyphus. Vintage.

Kant, Immanuel. 1785. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Jonathan Bennett.
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Baldwin and Camus How Much Essay

Words: 1023 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 60712336

Balducci, a soldier who Daru knows, approaches with an Arab prisoner. Balducci's government papers give custody of the prisoner to Daru, who must now take him to the French jail in Tinguit. Upset, Daru wishes to refuse. He does not want to become involved. Balducci likewise does not want to be in the lawmaker role. "You don't get used to putting a rope on a man even after years of it, and you're even ashamed-yes, ashamed." Balducci, in fact, is shirking his responsibility for decision making by passing the buck on to Daru.

Daru understands that the Arab is being made a political example -- in other words, a guinea pig. He killed his cousin in a family feud, which is not a case for the French colonial courts but the involved families. Daru accepts his charge, but relunctantly. By doing so, Daru is taking a clear position, defying the "rules" and authorities that Balducci blindly obeys, in addition to rejecting the actions of Arab. He then states, "Every bit of this disgusts me, and first of all your fellow here. But I won't hand him over. Fight, yes, if I have to. But not that."

Daru unties the guest and gives him the opportunity to make his own choice:

First he points to the east. 'There's the way to Tinguit,' he tells him. 'You have a two-hour walk. At Tinguit are the administration and the police. They are expecting you.' He then points to the south. 'There's the trail across the plateau. In a day's walk from here you'll find pasturelands and the first nomads. They'll take you in and shelter you according to their law.' In other words, the schoolteacher makes no attempt to influence the prisoner that one course might be honorable or even just, but is suicide; or that the other, less honorable, could mean freedom.

In this story, Daru is given the option…… [Read More]