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Miss Lonelihearts

Concern with the "absurdity" of the human condition, believing that that the world does not offer a basis for people’s lives and values, has pervaded the thought of many writers. The protagonists in Camus’s The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus illustrate Camus’ absurdist outlook. This philosophy is also evident in Miss Lonelyhearts, the work of Nathanael West. Miss Lonelyhearts addresses the central dilemma facing modern man; nothing in our world can provide people with the answers, values or morals needed to structure men’s lives. West depicts men as isolated beings; lonely hearts who are unable to love one another.In Camus’ The Stranger, the protagonist Meursault manifests Camus’s outlook. Life for Meursault has little meaning on a profound level, and he is not concerned with making value judgments or assessing right from wrong. Camus explains that most people accept the common events that compose their existence, without questioning their actions. He feels that nothing we do have deep, lasting effects; our lives end while the universe goes on, without being fundamentally changed. Natural forces are evident in our lives, yet by simply relishing the fleeting moments of nature, one will never find steadfast enjoyment. In The Stranger, Meursault is incapable of looking beyond the sensations of the moment.In another of Camus’ works, The Myth of Sisyphus, Sisyphus is portrayed as an absurd hero who his conscious of his plight. Sispyphus has been condemned for his scorn of the gods, hatred of death and passion for life. He has been relegated to the rolling of a rock to the top of a mountain forever, and he does not appeal to hope or to plead with any gods. Sisyphus’ rolling of the rock up the mountain establishes a confrontation between the passionate, longing human and the indifferent universe. Camus demonstrates his concern, as in his other works, with people and their world,...

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