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French and Francophone Language and Literature


Karen Erickson


This thesis, written in French, is a comparative study of the themes of absurdity and revolt as reflected in fictional works of Franz Kafka and Albert Camus. Aspects of absurdity studied include sense of strangeness and alienation, mis- or non- communication, and ineffective action. Characters in these works revolt against absurdity, manifested in stagnant life and in the certainty of death, and sometimes come to a level of acceptance of life in itself and of death. The two authors complement each other remarkably well: Camus gives us philosophical explanations and psychological examples of the absurd struggle, and Kafka presents us with intense, surrealistic and unforgettable images, which pull us into the direct emotional experience of absurdity.