Camus The Metamorphosis, And Soborio’s The Ni

In Camus’s The Stranger, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, and Soborio’s The Nihilists, we see a parallels of existential themes. These three sources fall into many different terms under the broader theme of existentialism, however the most apparent among them is nihilism. Through these three works of art, some aspect of them address the concept that life is meaningless and that nothing in the world has real existence. In the story of The Stranger, the main character, Meursault, is lifeless man who finds no meaning or worry about anything in the world.

He appears to be the model nihilist. A man mentally at odds with the entire universe, he plods through life knowing no certainties and caring for nothing. The first and most significant pointer to Meursault’s nihilistic tendencies is his mother’s death. Early in the novel, in the first couple lines, Meursault’s nihilist views become apparent. “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: ‘Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours. ’ That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday” (3).

The opening lines of the novel introduce Meursault’s emotional indifference. He proceeds to go to the funeral, but does not shed a tear. Rather than realising the loss of his mother, he is more concerned with a woman at the funeral in ‘the second row’ who couldn’t stop crying. He quoted “She was crying softly, steadily, in little sobs. I thought she’d never stop… I wish I didn’t have to listen to her anymore” (10). At first, one could believe Meursault’s lack or reaction is simply due to a poor relationship between him and his mother, however we soon find out that is not the case.

Further into the novel, when his mistress Marie asked him about marriage, he said he would marry her, but that he didn’t love her, and more significantly, that “… it didn’t make any difference to me”(41). He had no emotional attachment to her, or any person for that matter, and he only associated with her because of his physical needs. This clearly backs Meursault’s nihilist views and the belief nothing matters in life; not love, not marriage, nothing. Then, after another even more serious act, the senseless murder the the Arab, Meursault still feels nothing.

When asked if he regretted the action, he said merely “I felt kind of annoyed” (67). He felt no sense of remorse for killing somebody for no reason at all. He couldn’t even argue he did it for Raymond because he was indifferent to all the prior encounters between the two. He takes no interest in any of it. The event was no more than an annoyance to him. These are only a few acknowledgment of his nihilistic ideas. Meursault totally resigns himself to the irrelevance of his own existence. He says that nothing matters, that life, death, and love are all totally meaningless and potentially nonexistent things.

In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, we’re introduced to a character named Gregor Samsa. Gregor wakes up one morning and finds himself transformed into a bug which leads to a lot of issues pertaining to both work and his family. Towards the end of the story, his transformation took a toll on everyone in his family, and all ties he had with his family are lost. His family ask Gregor to leave and upon filling their request, he dies in his bedroom. His family concluded that all of their life problems had been because of Gregor and all he was was a burden on the family.

Beginning with his transformation and ending with his death, Gregor developed nihilist views on the world. Regarding existential nihilism, I believe it is quite evident in two parts of the novel. The first sighting was when Grete tries to remove all items from Gregor’s room so that he has more room to move around. However, Gregor becomes sad and angry with the removal of the inanimate objects. “They were clearing out his room; depriving him of all hi dearest possessions… ”(91). This shows that without surrounding yourself with inanimate objects, you reveal your true self.

I believe that if you become increasingly sad with fewer inanimate objects, you base less on your own life’s importance. The second instance where Kafka brings nihilistic views to light is when Gregor’s family tell him to leave. Gregor had been shunned by his whole family by the end of the novel and sees that he’s affecting his family negatively. At this point, it becomes apparent that he realizes there’s no meaning to his life in the home of his parents which becomes his world after his metamorphosis.

Gregor worked his entire life to support his family and in the end was left with nothing. From the beginning he had no friends, after his transformation he lost all contact with associates from work, and most importantly his family. He was left with nobody and his optimism quickly diminished. The third source that communicate nihilistic views is the poem The Nihilists written by Pablo Saborio. Ssaborio is known to be a nihilistic poet and photographer. However, this particular work of his illuminates the nihilistic theme of essentialism greatly.

The poem begins with a powerful first sentence, “many are striving to convince me there’s nothing. ” Beginning with this opening line and continuing through the poem, the theme that people are trying to find meaning in life ultimately fail and therefore prove life to be futile is apparent. This author has seen ample examples of failure and thus is the basis behind his beliefs. Another compelling line is in the middle of the poem. “They explain the world as a chain of illusions expiring.

The meaning behind this sentence is that you are going through the motions of life every day to inevitable one day ‘expire’. The author finds no meaning or attachment in anything because one day it will be gone. He has extreme skepticism that nothing in the world has real existence due to observations of others and self attempts. The poem ends with another forceful line. Saborio is essentially thanking all the people who have shown him the insignificant meaning in life. “They are good people, the care for me and advise me to smear my lips with silence and go into deeper sleep.

The poet is saying these people help him and make it that much easier for him to remain distant from everything and keep to himself. He goes into ‘deeper sleep’ by becoming more and more alienated from the world and rejecting all moral principles. The overt overarching theme in Camus’s The Stranger, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, and Soborio’s The Nihilists is the existential motif nihilism. The main characters in both the novels and the author of the poem clearly see life through a pessimistic lense. Their actions, reactions, and mannerism can easily justify that.