The Individual and Society in Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968) and Albert Camus’s The Stranger (1942)

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university Mouloud Mammeri of Tizi-Ouzou


This dissertation is concerned with the comparison of two novels written by two different writers and set in two different areas and eras, yet reflecting on the theme of individual and society. These novels are: The Beauytufl Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah and The Stranger by Albert Camus. The purpose of my study is to show that the main character in Armah’s novel shares some features in his behaviour with Meursault in Camus’s The Stranger. These similarities are the result of the two authors’ recourse to the absurd to focus on the difficult relationship that links the individual to his society. My aim is also to show that Armah’s novel can be read in the context of the Akan traditional thought. This is shown through the conformity of the protagonist’s behaviour to this culture in which a great importance is given to the moral values of the individual. The following dissertation has been divided into three chapters. The first is composed of method and materials sections. The materials section comprises the biographies of the two authors, whereas the method section is a dense explanation of the two theories that I have applied to my corpus: the philosophy of the absurd and the Akan traditional philosophy. The second chapter focuses on the study of the similarities between Armah’s The Beauytufl Ones Are Not Yet Born and Albert Camus’s The Stranger, by applying Camus’s book The Myth of Sisyphus. The third and last chapter emphasizes the study of Armah’s novel in relationship to the Akan traditional cosmogony. The results of my study are the affirmation of Armah’s influence by Camus which is shown through the similarities between Armah’s and Camus’s works. I have also come to the conclusion that Armah is attached to his own culture which is obvious through his reference to the cleansing ritual and the conformity of the man’s behaviour to the Akan traditional cosmogony.





Comparative Literature