Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Section 8- Installment 1: Albert Camus and How 'Absurdism' Can Be Applied to "The Plague" (Premise)

As one may or may not know, Albert Camus (1913-1960) had a huge influence during the Golden Age of French Intellectualism. (I have linked two of what I believe to be very explanatory, crash-course YouTube videos about Camus and French Intellectualism. The video about the Golden Age of French Intellectualism also gives insights on two other big names in existentialism, Sartre and Maulraux. You should definitely check them out if given the chance.) From what we have learned in class as well as what I have learned from supplemental reading, I would say that Camus was known for two very large contributions to philosophy. The first would be his essay known as "The Myth of Sisyphus." The second and maybe even larger contribution is his manifestation and frequent use of the philosophical ideology known as 'Absurdism.'

Before I can really discuss 'Absurdism,' I need to give a recap about the "The Myth of Sisyphus." In this myth, Sisyphus is condemned to forever roll a boulder up a hill and to never have the boulder reach the top. To eternally roll a boulder may seem like a pointless and dauntless task, but Camus argues that such is the fate of humankind and their lives. We each have our own boulders to roll up our own hills. As long as we are happy, we must continue to push our boulders until we inevitably perish. This essay and myth directly correlates to the ideology of 'Absurdism,' This is the belief that in the search for meaning, we are directly in conflict with belief that there may be an actual lack of meaning to our actions. However, even with this conflict, we must continue to rebel against the futile situation because of what we are. Definition aside for 'Absurdism,' "The Myth of Sisyphus" can only exist as one example of this very broad ideology. 'Absurdism' is the raindrops that pelt essay or novel umbrellas such as "The Myth of Sisyphus" or The Stranger. (The Stranger is a novel by Camus that is absolutely drenched with 'Absurdism.' There are many different essays discussing 'Absurdism' in tandem to this novel, such as the one that I have linked.)

Below is a video that gives some insight into 'Absurdism' as well as the rebellion that goes with it: 

After giving a concise premise, I would like to reel you to my main focus for my second blog installment. My main focus for my next installment is how Albert Camus's novel, The Plague, ultimately relates to this ideology of 'Absurdism.' As I have mentioned before, The Stranger is the novel that seems to get the most attention by critics in concern to 'Absurdism'; however, I believe that  The Plague and its relationship to 'Absurdism' may be more important, especially because it won Camus the Nobel Prize in 1957 and because it covers a broader scale. (Though, that's just my opinion.) With the bait in place, I will discuss The Plague in detail as well as this relationship to 'Absurdism' in my next installment. 

Below is a video of Albert Camus winning the Nobel Prize:

Below is a photo of some of Camus's works:


  1. I like how you added visual aids like pictures and videos to make your essay more understandable and entertaining

  2. It's really true, isn't it? So much of life feels like boulder-pushing, and yet (if we're healthy) the alternative is unthinkable... which must somehow mean that like Sisyphus, we ARE happy.

  3. Camus’ The Stranger (or The Outsider, depends on the translation I guess) is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read. Meursault is such a strange perspective to read from. I think the book really is drenched in absurdism, as you said, and the lack of emotion in Meursault as a character makes it hard to know what to feel yourself when you’re reading the story. I’ve always been fascinated by Camus. I’ve never read The Plague, but I fully intend to soon.