The order of events and their detailing defines the technique of a particular writer. The narrative technique of absurdism used by Franz Kafka and Albert Camus does full justice to bring out the pathos in the 'The Outsider' and 'The Metamorphosis'. In both 'The Outsider' and 'The Metamorphosis' both Albert Camus and Franz Kafka use similar narrative. The technique of "absurdism" has been extensively used by both the writers to establish the unsettling existence of the both the protagonists. The present situation of the narrators then brings out incidents from the past that justify their unpleasant situations and what they are going through in their respective lives.
Camus brings to life an absurdly dramatic story of a man who has no emotions in him evidently in the opening lines "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from the home: 'Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.' That doesn't mean anything. It may have been yesterday". He does not even feel obliged to justify his reason behind such weird and rude avoiding of any emotional involvement. Speaking briefly with the director of the home, Mersault tells him that he did not feel any guilt at having sent his mother away. He declines an invitation to view the body, but keeps vigil with it overnight, in accordance with the custom. When asked by the undertaker how old his mother was, he replies 'Fairly', for in truth he doesn't know her exact age. His going for a swim with a woman of his acquaintance at an inopportune time proves futility of his life.
As a quintessence of absurdism, Mersault doesn't he see any need to fulfill or dispel the discomfort from the minds of the people as his nature was very offending to other people.
He seemed completely inhuman, and never believed it was important to live up to the expectations of others and follow other etiquette, he talks very philosophically about his mother's death, and still he is not able to feel any grief. He doesn't he see any need to fulfill the remove the discomfort from the minds of the people as his nature was very offending to other people. When asked by the undertaker how old his mother was he actually did not know as he never bothered to know. According to me, every human being goes through the kind of unpleasant and embarrassing situations and Mersault and Gregor are facing but it mainly it would depend on how a writer decides to detail and sketch these characters.
There is a funeral procession, in the heat of the day, across the parched, sun-drenched landscape, and once again, Mersault is disturbed by the light, the sun, and the heat, and feels unable to concentrate. His mother is buried and he returns home. He believes that everything went very quickly, but he thinks about a few other scenes which occurred in the day; 'the church and the villagers in the street, the red geraniumsâ€¦the blood-red earth tumbling onto mother's coffin, the white flesh of the roots mixed in with itâ€¦and my joy when the bus entered the nest of lights which was Algiers and I knew I was going to bed and to sleep for a whole twelve hours.'
The Outsider is set in Algiers, where our protagonist Mersault, who was bachelor, is leading a life without having any existence. He does not show any interest in his job and does not believe in socializing with other people around him. As the story goes ahead, the reader gets to see the bad side of Mersault as this weird attitude of his towards the world with conflicting emotions make him commit a deadly crime. This nature of Mersault is brought out in the narrative in many incidents in the book, one of them being in chapter four where he is not at all concerned about Raymond torturing his wife. "At about 3 in the morning there was a knock on my door and Raymond came in. I didn't get up. I sat at the edge of my bed. He didn't say anything for a minute and I asked him how it had gone. He told me that he had done what he wanted to do
but she'd slapped him and so he'd beaten her up. I'd seen the rest. I told him I thought that this time she'd really been punished and he ought to be pleased". This was Mersault's rude and bad attitude towards other people around him.
I feel that the writer's philosophical stance is unique, as he puts immense emphasis on the belief of "absurdism". The best part about the narrative is that it does not preach with a message but at the same time does tend to ask us some important questions about humans and their social existence. The narrative is kept simple but is compelling nevertheless.
Like Camus, Kafka too was existentialist and adapted to an absurdist way in carrying the narrative of his stories ahead as traces of his style are evident in his letter to Max Brod.
In Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, the absurdist and existentialist elements form the main parts of Kafka's narrative technique. The story begins with the line "When Gregor Samsa awoke from troubled dreams one morning; he found that he had been transformed in his bed into an enormous bug." After realizing that his life would never be the same again Gregor starts realizing certain truths about his existence which had not come to his realization before. He starts to reflect on his own being. Till the day before he had been a hardworking salesman who looked after his family but now he cannot continue the same life anymore. Now after Gregor's transformation his parents and sister realize that they shall now have to look after Gregor and start making a living of their own. This leads Gregor into a state of depression which he can only observe but cannot do anything about it. His family is robbed of happiness and normalcy and though they are trying their best to cope with it their disparity is clearly evident in these lines of the second chapter- "Now his sister working with her mother had to do the cooking too; of course that did not cause her much trouble since they hardly ate anything. Gregor was always hearing one of them pleading in vain with one of the others to eat and getting no answer except "thanks, I've had enough or something similar'. They all knew the burning question that was disturbing them but none of them had an answer to it.
I think that both the stories are existentialist and absurd in their narratives, and they both create a long lasting impact on readers and create a serious sense of debate about human existence and the acceptance of social rules.