The Stranger by Albert Camus and No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre both give us a unique insight into the internal philosophies of two well known thinkers. Their writing allows and shows their characters both emulating and demonstrating the antithesis of what they actually think. While both authors use a similar style in this specific fashion, how and what they actually write is much different.


First to start with Sartre. From the beginning of his play, which I really liked, I pegged him as being an existentialist. My initial impressions turned out to be true, and over the course of the reading I also picked up several hints of Marxism as well. While picking up on his larger overarching beliefs was relatively straightforward, the interesting stuff was really to be found in between some of lines and hidden behind some of his characters scathing words.
"Don't be so unreasonable darling. I can't put myself in your skin. You must decide that for yourself" (37).
Here Sartre promotes self responsibility. Evidence of his belief that one should recognize the impact of their actions can also be seen when Estelle claims "As I told you, I haven't a notion. I rack my brain, but its no use" (26), while she tries to figure out how she got into hell. You have no idea? you dont think that how you drove your lover to suicide after drowning his baby was basis for you being down there? Gimme a break, and own up to what you did.


I thought this video did a great job of showing what No Exit was about in a very short, innovative way.


Now on to our equally french friend, Camus. The Stranger was my favorite book out of the three, but I found it the most difficult to comprehend through the philosophical lens. Although I found the wider concepts pertaining to general existence and life easy to pick up on, I had a hard time discerning between what we as readers were supposed to think that Meursault thought of the world, and what Camus' philosophies were.
Although Camus claims "No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked..." I find that I sort of want to side with the critics who claim that he in fact is on this one. Another philosophy that I picked up on even though it had less obvious examples, was absurdism.


I find this particular english instruction video a great example of absurdism. When
someone talks about absurdism, this is what I think of. I mean, what is going on?
My favorite moments are 1:45 and 12:50.

So what about me? These books have spurred me to ask myself what I think multiple times over the course of this unit. And every time I fail to give a clear answer. I believe that certain parts of each of the philosopies presented in these texts are true and applicable to everyday life, but on a whole I think that they are all wrong. Meursault was wrong to think that most things in his life didn't matter, look where it got him. And the three clowns in No Exit weren't any better. All four of them had fatal character and philosophy flaws that curtailed them from living out their lives to the full potential. My way of thinking, whatever it is or ends up being tries to compensate for at least some of their flaws. I cant articulate my personal philosophy into words other than to say that, in my mind, these two authors were correct about a couple things, but wrong about most of the others.



"Artist's" statement:
I have compiled these bits of information and musings purely on a whim. This stream of conciousness reflection is nothing to take too seriously, it's just what I think about these philosiphizing writer-thinkers. I decided to put it into this format because it seemed like the easiest and most seamless way for me to record my thoughts.