Publication Date

Summer 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


World Languages and Literatures


Dominique van Hooff


Camus, châtiment, déchirement, Epaves, Green, La Chute

Subject Areas

Literature; Classical literature; Comparative literature


This thesis explores how the paths of Julien Green and Albert Camus cross through Épaves and La Chute, when their characters question who they are and what they have become. This study analyzes not only existentialist philosophy, but various other factors such as the authors' biography, literary criticism, and psychoanalysis to understand how Philippe in Épaves and Clamence in La Chute suffer the consequences of an absurd world. Based on the authors' biographies highlighting the common link with other nineteenth century writers, one can confirm Green's saying that the work arises from a "domestic crisis." The study exposes an absurd situation where the feeling of being indispensable is erased from the human heart and leads to self-torturing and self-punishment. Green and Camus reveal the "absence" of a sense of responsibility, compassion, and solidarity in their protagonists and how the guilt crushes and tears apart man. Philippe and Clamence have suffered from their lack of morals and have reacted differently in terms of expressing remorse and seeking repentance. They are transformed into "Sisyphus" figures damned for eternity.