For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Ellie Nam


Bold Points




Clarkstown South Senior High School

High School
2020 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Law
    • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Law Practice

    • Dream career goals:

      RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
      Book of Choice: The Stranger by Albert Camus "I had only a little time left and I didn't want to waste it on God...Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why...Throughout the whole absurd life I'd lived, a dark wind had been rising toward me from somewhere deep in my future, across years that were still to come, and as it passed, this wind leveled whatever was offered to me at the time, in years no more real than the ones I was living. What did other people's deaths or a mother's love matter to me; what did his God or the lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we're all elected by the same fate, me and billions of privileged people like him who also called themselves my brothers? Couldn't he see, couldn't he see that? Everybody was privileged. There were only privileged people. The others would all be condemned one day. And he would be condemned, too (Camus, 130-131)". Religion is a synthetic social concept evolved, and burnished by our early ancestors. Its intended role is to foster harmony and tolerance of relative strangers. Religion is an insuperable human phenomenon to assign purpose and world duties to an individual to contribute to society and create a successful future. However, Albert Camus voices an argument against this claim in his novel, The Stranger, which dives into the absurdist philosophy: that trying to find meaning in life is meaningless, because no such meaning exists. Meursault, the star of the book, rejects religion as a foundation for his absurdist values. Deeper authorial implications excoriate religious imperium; it puts the public on trial and challenges a construct deeply embedded into our world. With an open-minded perspective, readers learn that Camus is instigating meaningful introspection of our own philosophies in this world. Meursault, an idiosyncratic individual, is commiserated by the chaplain due to his lack of faith in God and life in general. The chaplain is a microcosm of the faith people have in society; he is a microcosm of the control society indefatigably tries to obtain in an inherently uncontrollable world. Meursault is a symbol of subjugation under a total law created by man; he is a symbol of oppression. Meursault ceases to find a higher meaning in life and is deemed an antichrist, a devil by not only the magistrate but society. Meursault has been in a state of equanimity, a mental state of resignation for the meaningless concord of life. Living life with total insensitivity, he despises everyone around him who tries to force a purpose he rejected long ago. He is troubled with the veracious reality of society: that man expends an unnecessary amount of energy to fit into normalcy. In rejecting such a way of life, he is cast away from society as a 'stranger'. Camus uses Meursault as a stylistic vehicle to ask the underlying question at hand: is life really worth living? According to Camus, yes, however, it is a matter of embracing death and living life as it is rather than what it could be. Sight/blindness seems to be a recurring theme that holds several religious connotations. (1) The famous story of Jesus healing blind men, (2) a refusal to see reality, and (3) spiritual loss. Blindness, for Meursault, is almost always associated with the sun/light and biblically, it is almost always associated with ignorance. For example, he describes the sunlight as “like a long flashing blade cutting” and a “dazzling spear” that slashed at his eyes and blinded him with a “warm, thick film”. Not only does the sunlight physically hurt him, but it also puts him in a delirious mental trance. He feels threatened by any presence of light and avoids it whenever possible. Camus’ arresting sunlight imagery precisely captures the painful cyclical interaction between the sun and Meursault. He implies that Meursault is blind to the truth before him. The sun symbolizes self-awareness. He is constantly faced with the realities of life, the certainty of death, and the absurdity of existence. But every time, he evades acknowledging these truths. He rejects societal customs and grants himself absolute freedom to act as he deems appropriate at that moment. Meursault, indifferent to death and religion, is being attacked by those who live in a rational world controlled by religion. When these two worlds collide, it is deleterious. Towards his execution, the noticings of lights have faded, and there is blinding clarity in death. Meursault had walked down this path in life blinded, and now he finds peace amidst the chaos of his trial. This realization makes him an absurdist hero, and as Camus implies, Jesus is the first hero to convey this ideology. Meursault, once blinded by his senses, has come to an ultimate harmony between life and death. Camus paints Meursault as a hero and society as the villain because he wants us to live with a purpose without a rigid rational structure. With death, he is no longer forced to conform to society and is free in death. Camus wants us to quit the game and live by our own rules. Another interesting element that holds a significant religious context is Camus’ incorporation of the sea/water. Typically, the sea is interpreted as a force that contains beasts and fear. it is a symbol of hell and all bad things that come from it while heaven is all things good and pure. Water could also signify a birth/renewal of the soul. Meursault debunks the first interpretation and seeks it as an extension of the second one. Symbols that may have threatening connotations for others have peaceful ones to Meursault. He finds joy in swimming, embracing the cold silk touch of undulating waves beneath him. Water, a symbol of purity and wisdom, plays a vital role in supporting the human body’s functioning and allows it to express its true essence while promoting healing. Meursault taps into the invigorating power of water by creating an immersive experience that rejuvenates his soul, revitalizes the spirit, and nurtures the body. Water incites a set of emotions within Meursault, that has not been seen before. Meursault is not at all introspective and finds pleasure in simple activities which not only include water, but sex, and cigarettes. The authorial shift in style transforms the meaning of water from an undifferentiated element that gave rise to the material world to a colonization of it by society. It is now tainted, dull, and colorless instead of the usual rich, nourishing, and peaceful. Interestingly enough, Camus includes diction and words that start with the letter ‘M’: Marie, Mistress, Meursault, Masson, Mademoiselle, Machinery [of death], Monsieur, Magistrate, Maman. And even more interestingly so, the letter M is a symbol of water. Especially in Greek history and Hebrewism, the letter M is both acknowledged as a symbol of the world. M itself is constructed in a way to resemble the Universe and the world tree. This may have been purposeful, but either way, there is a connection between the all-natural/terrestrial world with the divine one. Except, Camus condemns the higher power of divinity and harmonizes with the physical world. Unlike religion, the physical terrestrial world holds no contradictions. Religion, contorted through imagery, allegory, and symbolism, is a realm of ambiguity to some. To Camus, a realm of ignorance and control. Biblical annotations of water, light, and sight are used to emphasize, just how much religion controls humans. Control can be beautiful, but when taken to conservative measures like in this novel, can have injurious consequences. It stifles individuality, limits creativity, and suppresses freedom. Excessive control leads to oppressive systems, where power lies in the hands of a few, inevitably leading to injustice and inequality even when everyone is equally fated to the same death. Fear, mistrust, division, social unrest, and conflicts accumulate over time, threatening the harmony and progressiveness of the world. As noted through Meursault, living in a controlling world can be exhausting and relentless so why expend so much energy when everyone is going to die anyway? Camus uses various stylistic choices to convey the answer: don’t waste your entire life finding meaning and control. To embrace an extent of purposelessness is essential to a freeing life.