The major works on existentialism in literature deals with the problem of the meaningless existence of an individual in an absurd world, whereas in this dissertation, the main focus is to understand meaning of an individual’s life through the concept of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus’ Existential Dualism within the selected fictional works. Many articles have been written, which intend to find and understand the existence of an individual in an absurd world. As the works of Camus are majorly based on the assumption that there is no absolute moral values, that life is a matter of living from day to day, trying to find happiness, but this research intends to understand the existence of an individual through the concept of existential dualism of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus in their selected works of fiction, where an individual needs to find meaning in his life, not through the gaze of the other but through realising that his existence does not lie in the bad faith, rather in the reality, where he needs to accept the reality and redefine the purpose of his living. The other major theme in Camus’ works is suicide and in Sartre it is bad faith, which helps an individual to end all his sufferings and problems of alienation and isolation, but in this dissertation, the main focus will be on how alienation and isolation can lead a person to redefine his existence and have meaning in his life. The literature also deals with the understanding of the essence of a person in life, which confines a person to live life according to the standard of society, whereas this dissertation will show how the protagonists of the selected novels of Sartre and Camus, find their way out from the clutches of society which confines their existence and take the responsibility of their actions. There are works which emphasis on the existential themes but this dissertation helps in exploring the free self and the existence of an individual in an absurd world, which would finally help in reaching the ultimate purpose of finding meaning in the life of an individual in an absurd, irrational world.
In this research, the philosophical positions of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus will be related to their fictional works within the issues of alienation, isolation, absurdity and meaninglessness. It will further deal with how the issues like alienation and isolation could be dealt, as it becomes the weakness of a person thereby leading the individual towards suicidal tendencies in the works of Albert Camus and bad faith in the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, which temporarily help the individual to escape from the sufferings and difficulties of life. This research will help in understanding that how the issues like alienation and isolation could also be seen in the optimistic light and can lead a person to explore the meaning of life which will help him redefine his existence In this present study, a comparative framework will be built to do a cross analysis of the two selected philosophers and their works at three levels. The dissertation will attempt to track the succession of Dualism, Individuality and Meaning within the fictional works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.
The first objective of this dissertation aims at understanding existential dualism within the comparative frame of ‘Dualism’ through the explication of the key concepts- ‘Being-in-the-World’, ‘Being-in-Itself’, ‘Being-for-Itself’ and ‘Being-for-Others’ – in their selected fictional works in order to understand the diverging and converging aspects of the concepts of the two writers. At the second level of comparison, i.e. ‘Individuality’, concepts namely ‘Freewill’ and ‘Freedom’ will be analysed with cross-reference of the works of the two writers. Similarly, the concepts namely, alienation, isolation, absurdity and meaninglessness/meaning will be dealt within the last comparative frame of ‘Meaning of Existence’. The last and most important objective is to see the diverging and converging points in the existential philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.
In this research, both primary and secondary sources will be consulted for an in depth critical analysis of the Sartrean idea of ‘Being’ and the explication of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus’ key concepts.Through the cross-examination of the selected fictional works, the dissertation intends to find the answers for few research questions, with the course of the completion of this dissertation. Firstly, the research will inquire how the idea of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus’ key concepts developed with Existential Dualism. Secondly, the research will examine how individuality and authenticity of an individual can be studied through Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus’ concept of Freewill and Freedom within the fictional framework. Thirdly, the main focus of the research is to explore the existence and meaning of an individual’s life in an absurd, irrational and meaningless universe through the issues of Alienation and Isolation within the selected fictional framework. Lastly, it will attempt to see if the philosophical perspectives of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus converge or diverge or both.
To understand Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus’ stand on Existential Dualism and their way of dealing with being and nothingness, to find the purpose of an individual’s meaningless existence in an absurd, irrational world through their selected fictional works, the dissertation will entail five chapters. The first chapter will provide of existentialism. Second, it will provide the answer to the question of Dualism in Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus through their concepts of ‘Being-in-the-world’, ‘Being-for-itself’, Being-in-itself’, ‘Being-for-others’, ‘Bad-Faith’ and ‘Pure-Being-there’. It will give a conceptual insight into Existential Dualism.
Third, it will be a study of Individuality in Jean-Paul Sartre and Camus’ selected fictional works through the themes of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Freewill’. Fourth, the meaning and essence of life and what comes before, will be explored through ‘Alienation’, ‘Isolation’, ‘Absurdity’ and ‘Meaning/Meaninglessness’. And in the final chapter, the major conclusion hoped to get out of this comparative framework is the diverging and converging points in the concepts and perspectives of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, through the in-depth study of their selected fictional works.