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Scherr, A. (1977). Albert Camus: Revolt Against the Mother. Am. Imago, 34(2):170-178.

(1977). American Imago, 34(2):170-178

Albert Camus: Revolt Against the Mother

Arthur Scherr, Ph.D.

For Albert Camus, rebellion was an essential part of living. The author of The Rebel was in rebellion against social injustice, dating from his youth in the 1930's when he protested the Communist party's degrading treatment of Algerian Muslims, to his extensive involvement in the French. Underground's fight against Hitler in the 1940's and his editorship of the Resistance newspaper Combat, to his support of the colonial uprisings against French rule in Indochina and Algeria in the 1950's.

In a basic sense, Camus was also a rebel in his life and in his work. He rebelled against the stifling atmosphere of lower-class Algiers. He “rebelled” against death, conquering tuberculosis at the age of seventeen. But the first rebellion, and perhaps the most important, was against his mother.

That Camus felt acutely guilty over his rebellion is indicated by his novels and autobiographical writings, three of which—The Wrong Side and the Right Side (1936), A Happy Death (1938), and The Stranger (1942)-will be considered here for the insight they provide into his unconscious conflicts.

The Wrong Side and the Right Side (L'Envers et L'Endroit), written when Camus was twenty-two, was the only attempt he ever made at recording his childhood.

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