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Casey Anthony: What would Camus have made of her?

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Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/AP

(Read caption) Like the narrator of the classic existential novel "The Stranger," Casey Anthony was presumed guilty by many due to her seeming lack of grief.

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They say that art imitates life, but sometimes, it’s the other way around.

It’s been more than half a century since Albert Camus wrote “The Stranger,” but a story played out this summer in a Florida courtroom trial was chillingly reminiscent of the author and philosopher’s 1942 existential novel in which a man standing trial for murder is found guilty largely because of his lack of remorse or guilt over a death he caused – and more importantly, his lack of grief and sorrow earlier in the novel when his own mother died.

Sound familiar?

The Casey Anthony trial was among the most-followed trials largely because of Ms. Anthony’s actions after her 2-year-old daughter Caylee’s disappearance and ultimately, death. Anthony partied, got a tattoo, hung out with friends, and went shopping and clubbing for a month after her daughter disappeared. Indeed, the prosecution’s central argument in the trial was Anthony’s lack of remorse over her daughter’s death.

Camus’s story also begins with a death followed by joviality.

It starts with a man attending his mother’s funeral.

“Maman died today,” the man, our narrator, explains. “Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: 'Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.' That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.”


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