Cormac McCarthy's Suttree explores humanity's suffering in its longing for meaning and significance alongside the indifference of the universe to this longing, a pairing Albert Camus calls “the absurd.” Existential despair and endurance are present in all of McCarthy's works, even his short stories, and McCarthy scholars record and examine the philosophy of existentialism within McCarthy's novels, especially Suttree. In Suttree, the protagonist, Cornelius Suttree, adeptly perceives the indifference of the universe and the meaninglessness of existence. However, instead of resigning to this meaninglessness or obscuring human reality with unreasonable hopes, he lives according to an ethic of quantity and affirms his temporary existence to his greatest possible magnitude. After realizing his autonomy and uniqueness, Suttree exemplifies an authentic embrace of life's momentary value and becomes the willful author of his fate. A thorough examination of Suttree through the lens of existentialist philosophy, particularly Camus's absurdism, equips us with an understanding with which to approach McCarthy's other works. A cohesive existentialist reading of McCarthy's works would establish a foundational purpose that unites all of his works.

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