A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences Between Albert Camus’ The Outsider and Zack Braff’s Garden State

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The Outsider and Garden State Reflection

Both The Outsider by Albert Camus and Garden State directed by Zack Braff share similarities in terms of their main characters. Both Meursault from The Outsider and Andrew from Garden State are young men who exhibit emotional detachment. However, despite following a similar path, the endings of their stories differ significantly. Many people find the ending of Garden State more satisfying than that of The Outsider, primarily due to Andrew’s choices at the end of the film. While both narratives explore comparable themes and events, such as the death of their mothers and a lack of emotional response towards their funerals, their conclusions diverge greatly. This disparity is why the ending of Garden State is more widely accepted compared to that ofThe Outsider.


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In the final chapter of Camus’ The Outsider, Meursault finally meets with the chaplain after refusing to see him three times. Their meeting is focused on discussing God, during which Meursault expresses his emotions by angrily confronting the chaplain. Despite knowing that he will be executed later that day, Meursault experiences a moment of clarity in the morning. He understands why his mother started a relationship with Thomas Perez towards the end of her life and decides that he is now prepared to live in a similar manner. This realization stems from his understanding that both he and the world are indifferent towards others. In contrast, Zack Braff’s Garden State ends differently. At the conclusion of the movie, Andrew says goodbye to Sam at the airport and admits that although she has had a profound impact on his life during his brief visit home, there are still personal issues he needs to address before fully committing to their relationship.

Andrew boards his plane and leaves before takeoff to return to Sam, realizing he cannot waste any more of his life without her. Both men acknowledge the need to live their lives fully and display emotions. However, Garden State’s ending is considered more satisfying than that of The Outsider. In Garden State, Andrew decides to stay with Sam, resulting in a happy conclusion as he recognizes his inability to live without her. Conversely, The Outsider concludes on a less joyful note. Meursault accepts the harsh reality of the world and embraces it but realizes this realization too late on the morning of his execution.

The readers of the novel know that Garden State has a more satisfying ending than The Outsider. In Garden State, Andrew realizes his true desires and chooses to stay with Sam to continue their romance. On the other hand, Meursault in The Outsider patiently waits in his prison cell for his impending execution. It is difficult for many people to accept that Meursault comes to understand the true nature of the world, only to be killed thereafter. This is why they would prefer the ending of Garden State.

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A Comparison of the Similarities and Differences Between Albert Camus’ The Outsider and Zack Braff’s Garden State. (2023, Feb 19). Retrieved from


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