“The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.” (The Myth of Sisyphus) There is no denying the fact that Sisyphus is given a tragic fate. Nor is the fact that Sisyphus is a hero, a tragic hero who dares that things are difficult and who chooses to bear the pain and is finally beyond the pain. Fate wants him to use every ounce of his energy to raise the rock and to push it up toward the summit of the mountain, and he does it; fate wants him to remain standing to watch the rock rushing down in a few moments toward the lower world, and he does it; fate wants him to take a breath and then to walk back down to the plain whence he will have to repeat the same futile and hopeless toils, and he does it. Which need courage. Faced with the unspeakable penalty of expelling him to achieve nothing after the long and herculean effort for hundreds of times, Sisyphus chooses a disdainful attitude toward the fate that attempts to exert misery on him. He takes the test to pass the test. He is superior to the fate. The force inside Sisyphus is courage.
Another brave man is Meursault, the “absurd” hero in The Stranger, who chooses his own way of thinking, his own pattern of life, and his own attitude in any given set of circumstance, regardless of the misunderstanding or even the resentment cast upon him. Meursault dares to say “no” to the stereotyped values and morality, since he trusts just in himself and complies just with his own feelings. He believes that his perceptions of the world are often more accurate than he is told to believe. He chooses to know and to accept what he prefers instead of what the world tells him ought to prefer. Which also need courage. Although under pressure, Meursault never caters for the society, but remains nonchalant to the world instead. He sticks to his own principles of leading an honest life without exaggerating anything that the world may need him to exaggerate. He is faithful to life and has actually grasped the nature of it with a clear and sharp sight. Meursault’s faithfulness and clear-mindedness are just backed up by his inside courage.
living needs courage!
Sisyphus, sounds like a character from Greek mythology? I’ll check it later. And I believe that I’ve seen a reference to The Stranger, but have never looked into it. So, thanks for two interesting leads. My own contribution relates to a famous novel made into a movie. Courage under enemy fire must be an awesome thing. I’ve read some of the published diaries from the American Civil War and they are very solemn.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
From The Merriam-Webster Encyclopaedia of Literature
This is a novel of the American Civil War by Stephen Crane, published in 1895 and considered to be his masterwork for its perceptive depiction of warfare and of the psychological turmoil of the soldier. Crane had had no experience of war when he wrote the novel, which he based partly on a popular anthology, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. The Red Badge of Courage has been called the first modern war novel because, uniquely for its time, it tells of the experience of war from the point of view of an ordinary soldier. Henry Fleming is eager to demonstrate his patriotism in a glorious battle, but when the slaughter starts, he is overwhelmed with fear and flees the battlefield. Ironically, he receives his "red badge of courage" when he is slightly wounded by being struck on the head by a deserter. He witnesses a friend's gruesome death and becomes enraged at the injustice of war. The courage of common soldiers and the agonies of death cure him of his romantic notions. He returns to his regiment and continues to fight on with true courage and without illusions.
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Thank you for reading my essay. Actually I wrote it from a different angle. These two books focus on absurdity. The Myth of Sisyphus emphasizes the relationship between absurdity and happiness; the Stranger the split between man and the world.
The Stranger by Camus. Goodness, this is a controversial novel. I don’t often find an author who inspires so much passion and disagreement! I spent some time reading through journal articles this evening to come up to speed; it was a pleasure and I’m grateful to you for posting the topic. I’m only sorry that I didn’t take more time to consider everything before I replied with something that missed the point. Next week, I’ll prepare & share appropriately. For now, I’m puzzled about Meursault's character. He’s a murderer?

“In The Stranger the hero's intelligence is more often remarked on than his stupidity or insanity. And it may be that rage at his boring job and the failure, because of factors beyond his control, to complete his education and fulfil his ambitions precipitate Meursault's act of violence. Disgust with himself for getting involved with a disreputable person such as Raymond may have forced His hand, causing him to pull the trigger—a last desperate means of wrenching himself free of a degrading entanglement. Critics who depict Meursault as an insensitive, ignorant "juvenile delinquent" when it is frequently mentioned that he is an intelligent, well-educated man, have either not read the novel carefully or have been misled from the start by its deceptively simple sentence structure (the French passé composé).”

Camus's the Stranger
Journal article by Arthur Scherr; Explicator, Vol. 59, 2001
I’d be interested to know if the section of text I’ve copied from a psychology journal (below) rings true for you regarding the nature of courage in the terms mentioned previously.

For Camus, the nihilistic void functions as an inescapable generator of absurdity, undermining every human enterprise and thought by revealing its ultimate pointlessness and meaninglessness. He locates the only intellectually defensible response to this absurdity in acts of rebellion that maximize available life and its intensity, even as the cosmic futility of these acts is kept uncompromisingly in mind. Fitzgerald describes a dynamic much like this as he looks back with rueful nostalgia at his life in the 1920s, ten years before his crack-up, and reflects on his personal philosophy of those days: One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.... I must hold in balance the sense of the futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle; the conviction of the inevitability of failure and still the determination to succeed.... If I could do this through the common ills-domestic, professional, and personal-then the ego would continue as an arrow shot from nothingness to nothingness with such force that only gravity would bring it to earth at last. (Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "The Crack-Up) It is, of course, "gravity" as a reductio ad absurdum deep in the scheme of things, that Camus's Sisyphus battles in pushing his boulder up the hill, and that inexorably brings the boulder back down to the value-negating nihil where he began his struggle. Between these negations, provisional values have their brief moments as underwriters of a heroic significance, however doomed, that humanity forces on the scheme of things.

Abridged from: Petite, Joseph. "Hemingway and Existential Education."
Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 12 (1991) 152-164.
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Actually I could not agree more with Camus. He is my favorite foreign writer. I just find something besides absurdity, rebellion, and happiness behind The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus.