Literary thoughts of Malraux stemmed mainly from his doubt about and his reflection on Western civilization in the early 20th century. His harsh criticism on depravities of material civilization and the imperialistic expansion in La Tentation d’Occident (1926) drew much attention from the world literature circles and the knowledge-based society. Since then, the author wrote his involvements in revolution and adventure, the Spanish Civil War, and the Second World War into the successive publication of books as Les Conquérants (1928), La Voie Royale (1930), La Condition Humaine (1933). As an existentialist participatory writer, Malraux voluntarily takes action in revolutions, adventures, and wars, and records own experiences in literary works in detail. In them, he takes a tragic world view of human values being disintegrated as the central issue of his philosophical thoughts.
Immersed in irrational situations of revolutions, adventures, and wars, the characters of Malraux reveal antisocial antagonism through their negative view of the reality. A human being, isolated from the world, facing irregularities and solitude without any relief, struggles for self-recognition. Therefore, Malraux denies the existence of God and emphasizes nihilism by arguing the necessity of death to consent to the world. The nihilism of the author is a form of an existentialist idea that a human being resists against unjustifiable human conditions by committing a suicide or a murder. In other words, Malraux’s nihilism is that a human attaches value to death and constructs dignity by eliminating the misery of fate and the agony of life with his or her own will, which is a pursuit of metaphysics.