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Sun Symbolism in The Outsider

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Words: 541 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 541|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Sun as a Symbol of Freedom
  2. Sun as a Symbol of Existential Crisis
  3. Sun as a Symbol of Perception
  4. Conclusion

The use of symbolism in literature allows authors to convey deeper meanings and themes through the use of various objects, characters, or events. Albert Camus, a prominent figure in existentialist literature, utilizes symbolism in his novel The Outsider to explore themes of absurdity and the search for meaning in life. One recurring symbol throughout the novel is the sun, which serves as a representation of both freedom and existential crisis. In this essay, I will analyze the significance of sun symbolism in The Outsider and its connection to the novel's central themes.

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Sun as a Symbol of Freedom

From the very beginning of the novel, the sun is described as an overwhelming presence in the protagonist's life. Meursault, the main character, constantly refers to the sun's intensity and its blinding effect on his perception. This can be interpreted as a metaphor for society's expectations and the pressure it imposes on individuals to conform.

Additionally, the sun can be seen as a symbol of freedom throughout the narrative. Meursault's actions and attitudes towards life often defy societal norms, leading to his eventual alienation from society. The sun, with its blinding power, represents the overwhelming force of societal expectations that Meursault is determined to escape. For example, when he shoots the Arab man on the beach, it can be viewed as a rebellion against the "blinding light" of society, metaphorically freeing himself from its constraints.

Sun as a Symbol of Existential Crisis

Furthermore, the sun in The Outsider can be interpreted as a symbol of existential crisis. Meursault's indifference towards life and his inability to conform to societal norms reflect his existential condition. The scorching sun acts as a constant reminder of the absurdity of life and the lack of inherent meaning.

Throughout the novel, Meursault's encounters with the sun intensify the feelings of alienation and existential dread. In the climactic scene, while awaiting his execution, Meursault reaches a state of enlightenment, realizing the futility of his existence. The sun's oppressive heat amplifies this existential crisis, leading to Meursault's final acceptance of the absurdity of life and his embrace of his own impending death.

Sun as a Symbol of Perception

In addition to representing freedom and existential crisis, the sun in The Outsider also serves as a symbol of perception. Meursault's constant observations of the sun's intensity reflect his unique perspective on the world. Unlike other characters in the novel, Meursault does not conform to societal expectations and perceives reality with an unconventional clarity.

The sun's presence in Meursault's life heightens his ability to see beyond the superficiality of human existence and recognize the underlying insignificance. This heightened perception can be seen in Meursault's detached and objective observations, such as when he describes the physical details of the funeral procession or his indifference towards his mother's death. These instances demonstrate Meursault's rejection of societal norms and his pursuit of a deeper truth.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, Albert Camus's use of sun symbolism in The Outsider adds depth to the themes of freedom, existential crisis, and perception. The sun's representation of societal expectations, existential dread, and unique perception provides readers with a greater understanding of Meursault's existential journey. By employing this recurring symbol throughout the narrative, Camus successfully conveys his existentialist philosophy and challenges readers to question the meaning of life and the constraints of society.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Sun Symbolism in The Outsider. (2024, March 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sun-symbolism-in-the-outsider/
“Sun Symbolism in The Outsider.” GradesFixer, 06 Mar. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sun-symbolism-in-the-outsider/
Sun Symbolism in The Outsider. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sun-symbolism-in-the-outsider/> [Accessed 20 Jun. 2024].
Sun Symbolism in The Outsider [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 06 [cited 2024 Jun 20]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sun-symbolism-in-the-outsider/
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