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Existentialism in The Adulterous Woman

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 9 (2034 words)
Categories: Existentialism, Literature, Personal Experience, Philosophical Theories, Philosophy, Short Story
Downloads: 17
Views: 464


“Existentialism is the title of a set of philosophies that stresses the presence of the person, the lack of significance and function in life, and the solitude of human presence.” (Academic Resources Center Inc. 2007) According to research what I think is: in the philosophy existentialism, its trunk is talked about; there are 2 kind of life model, one is for their own lives without understanding and lack of knowledge offers up the responsibility of the life, and another one is awakening about how they must do for the meaning of life.

For the first life to the awareness of the significance of the life is, that is an approach of the center point. No meaningful life, even still alive, these are absolutely nothing to worthwhile before. In the story The Adulterous Lady, also exposited the viewpoint of existentialism’s substantial. When individual look back their own life prior to, after understand the life’s vacuum and unreasonable, accountable their own re-chose a meaningful and gentle life, this kind of life is existentialism viewpoint are pursue by the real existence.

However when individuals face to their own life options, they need guts’s cultivate, due to the fact that of their option of life is only for their own obligation, therefore it has the pressure. Sometimes this sort of pressure will led some individuals to leave, and would prefer to select muddle along secular life. Due to the fact that they are stress over their choice if they fail by themselves option and need to bear the awful effects. However the existentialist choose a kind of life which with courage, so that they might become real existence.

Albert Camus

Albert Camus, he was born in Algeria, in 1913. He is one the most famous French author, play writer, author, and journalist. Lots of people him as an Existentialist, but he himself chosen to understood him as a thinker and a guy, rather than be called member of school or ideology. He likes people over ideas. In 1945, during an interview, he turned down any kind of ideological associations. He and Sartre always were surprised that why their names connected to that. According to Atheism. complimentary (2003 ), “Albert Camus exercised an existentialist philosophy of absurdity, resulting from the report of the absence of God and of a sense of life.

” Actually for Camus, awakening this kind of nonsense it s regarded as conquer of the clearness, and that allows bettering understand existence is by living in the reality and victory one’s freedom. Man can go beyond this kind of nonsense by against his situation and injustice. Camus spread his philosophy thinks and ideas through adapting the form to meaning. In order to expression for his own doubts and his ideas, he likes to use symbolic meaning of novels and theater plays to express his ideas and doubts.

Exile and the Kingdom, this book is a “collection of six unusual, strange-ending stories will probably be of interest to a wide range of short story fans. Sometimes seemingly vague and symbolic (and with odd titles and endings), they are thoroughly enjoyable and readable. Though similar in complexity, subject matter and settings vary greatly: a woman joins her fabric-selling husband on a business trip, a detangled former missionary awaits his replacement, barrel makers strike, a prisoner is foisted on a schoolmaster, an artist works amidst ever-changing chaos, and an engineer visits inhabitants near the site of a future dam.

”(Oak Harbor, 2007) Exile and the Kingdom, I think this is a strange, excellent and brief book. Actually there are also other strange stories: like Haruki Murakami’s Sleeping Woman, Blind Willow, etc. The book Exile and the Kingdom was published in 1957, the six stories which are: The Renegade, The silent Men, The Guest, The Adulterous Woman, Jonas or the Artist at work, The Growing Stone. In 1957, Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature, at that time he was second youngest person who recipient the Nobel Prize. After three years, he was passed away in an automobile accident in 1960. (Source: Wikipedia, 2007)

Brief summary

The short story The Adulterous Woman describes one couple ‘ Marcel and Janine, they have been married for 25 years. Marcel is a silk business man, he ask Janine come with he for the business trip which is going to Arab town. Actually Janine does not like to go with Marcel, but eventually, course of Marcel insists her, reluctantly she decided to give her husband accompany.

The trip was not met her expectation, she was stuck in the bus when going through the desert with very strong sand whipping the windows and also could not see the out side landscape. The only thing which made her happy that the second time when she went to the fort by herself. In fort she experienced the mystical union of the sky and also the stars, at the end she returned to the hotel with a new awareness. Plot The story starts with the couple ‘ Marcel and Janine, there are on a business trip which they are going to Arab town for silk business.

From the beginning of the story we can see that Marcel and Janine have a strained relationship between each other. In Janine’s mind she describe her husband has a negative image who she feels stagnant and always business with his work, having waived the ambitions and passions compare to when they met. Janine looks herself still a very attractive woman although she already in a mature way and also remembers her adolescence. The raising action of the story starts from a French soldier starts to looking at Janine.

He seems to interest about Janine, and try to let Janine noticed about that and also when Janine starts to cough he offers Janine a lozenge. Janine was happy and welcomes the French soldier’s attention, in here all of these action were reinforces her opinion about she still can be very attractive to men. But she feels depressed because later on there is noting happened. The climax of the story which is Marcel and Janine decide to go to visit a fort. When they were at the fort, Janine was so much excited and feels inspired by the experience from the view. At the fort she feels she is free, and existence.

Nevertheless, Marcel was without any emotion, we can say that he is kind of totally unmoved. After a while he convinces Janine that they should go back to hotel, and also the weather was kind cold. After come back to the hotel, Marcel was falling asleep, but Janine could not sleep, she was lay on the bed and thinking about she does not love Marcel, and even Marcel does not love her, he just needs her and that she needs that needs. After think about for a long time Janine decided to go out the room during the night, and after that she came back to the fort again.

This time she was there alone, and she feels much more excitement and freedom compare to early when they were visited fort together. Starting from here the description of the story becomes more dramatic and also sensual as Janine feeling charged about her life when she runs around the fort. And then lastly, she was lying beneath the stars. The ending of the story is when Janine came back to the room; Marcel was sleeping, but after a few second he was awoke and he saw Janine was crying. But Janine said it’s nothing and she did not tell her husband that she went to the fort.

Setting and Time The story is set in the Algeria, but in the story the Algerians play very less significant in the story. People surround Marcel and Janine most of them are Arab. The weather was very cold, from the beginning to the story we can know that, and also have very strong sand wind. Especial from “the fly shuddered with each gust of sandy wind that scratch against the windows”. When they arrive to the hotel, the hotel was also very cold, with very poor condition. During the time I am reading the story I also have very cold feelings.

The story is by using the third person’s perception to talk about the Janine’s life. Janine and Marcel live in the Algeria very isolated, as I mention before none of them speak the native Arabic. Characters In the story Janine is protagonist; she is kind one person who is very lonely, not often speak, as well as very isolate. Before had experience at the fort, she was living very boring life, no any excitement. But after went to the fort, her life changed, she realizes that her life is renewed.

From the story we can see that actually Janine revolt about her husband, because Marcel is a kind of person who is inertness, lack of vitality and also a bit advancing age. Nevertheless, Janine was attracted by concept of the power and primal vigor. Especial when she realizes that French soldier was look at her and also at the fort she was reinvigorate with a sense of youth. Marcel is antagonist in the story, especial we can see from he insists Janine joins the business trip, even she does not like to go with him, but eventually she reluctantly decided to go with him.

He is very inertness person, lack of vitality and advancing age. And from the way he talks to the Arab, I think he distrust and disdain of the Arabs, and also he does not speaks Arabic although he does business with Arab, he always speaks to the native Algerian, this express his disapproval. Theme The title The Adulterous Woman is taken from the Gospel of John. Before Jesus make his judgment, one group of people brings an adulteress women. Normally for adultery the punishment was death by the stoning. But at that time Jesus decrees the first person throw the stone that must be free from the sin.

At last no one remains. From this bible parallels, Camus made outline which is reflection of the Guillotine from the Capital Punishment. Means there is no one has capable and authority to passing judgment to another person, the reason is that no one is absolute innocence. (Source: Wikipedia, 2007) Totally opposite from the title, until the end of the story there is no any action shows Janine commit physical adultery. I think the adultery is a kind of symbol which is about in her mind. Like about the French soldier, in her mind actually she was expected something happen.

But eventually, nothing was come out of it. Therefore I think the title here may be hints that going to commit is equal to real act itself. At the beginning of the story, Janine thinks about her adolescence, at that time when she met Marcel, during that time her choices had security and independence. Later on she had perception about herself changes, and started aware actually she has a poor physical condition and her weight, these all which she pride in early she still can attract other men. Therefore I think the story is more about regain lost youth than adultery.


The title of the story Camus took from the Gospel of John. The reason he use The Adulterous Woman, because he want to say that in the world no one has capable and authority to passing judgment to another person, and no one is absolute innocence. The adultery in the story is not adultery, there is no any action shows Janine commit physical adultery. Adultery is a kind of symbol which symbolizes her mind. Therefore we can say that Janine is not an adulterous woman.


  1. Academic Resources Center Inc. , 2007, Existentialism, Retrieved 26 May 2007, from: http://www.academon. com/lib/paper/63927. html? A=shvoong Athiesm. free, 2003,
  2. Biography of Albert Camus, Retrieved 26 May 2007, from: http://atheisme. free. fr/Biographies/Camus_e. htm
  3. Oak Harbor, 2007, Amazon, Exile and the Kingdom, Retrieved 26 May 2007, from: http://www. amazon. com/exec/obidos/ASIN/067973385X/theexistentialis
  4. Wikipedia, 2007, The Adulterous Woman, Retrieved 27 May 2007, from: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Adulterous_Woman
  5. Wikipedia, 2007, Exile and the Kingdom, Retrieved 27 May 2007, from: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Exile_and_the_Kingdom.

Cite this essay

Existentialism in The Adulterous Woman. (2016, Nov 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/existentialism-in-the-adulterous-woman-essay

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