Monday, 4 April 2011

The Stranger(Stolen)

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In The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays Meursault, the book's

narrator and main character, as aloof, detached, and unemotional.

He does not think much about events or their consequences, nor does

he express much feeling in relationships or during emotional times.

Buy the stranger(stolen) term paper

He displays an impassiveness throughout the book in his reactions

to the people and events described in the book. After his mother's

death he sheds no tears; seems to show no emotions. He displays

limited feelings for his girlfriend, Marie Cardona, and shows no

remorse at all for killing an Arab. His reactions to life and to

people distances him from his emotions, positive or negative, and

from intimate relationships with others, thus he is called by the

book's title, "the stranger". While this behavior can be seen as a

negative trait, there is a young woman who seems to want to have a

relationship with Meursault and a neighbor who wants friendship.

He seems content to be indifferent, possibly protected from pain by

his indifference.

Meursault rarely shows any feeling when in situations

which would, for most people, elicit strong emotions. Throughout

the vigil, watching over his mother's dead body, and at her

funeral, he never cries. He is, further, depicted enjoying a cup

of coffee with milk during the vigil, and having a smoke with a

caretaker at the nursing home in which his mother died. The

following day, after his mother's funeral, he goes to the beach and

meets a former colleague named Marie Cardona. They swim, go to a

movie, and then spend the night together. Later in their

relationship, Marie asks Meursault if he wants to marry her. He

responds that it doesn't matter to him, and if she wants to get

married, he would agree. She then asks him if he loves her. To

that question he responds that he probably doesn't, and explains

that marriage really isn't such a serious thing and doesn't require

love. This reaction is fairly typical of Meursault as portrayed in

the book. He appears to be casual and indifferent about life

events. Nothing seems to be very significant to him. Later on in

the book, after he kills an Arab, not once does he show any remorse

or guilt for what he did. Did he really feel nothing? Camus seems

to indicate that Meursault is almost oblivious and totally

unruffled and untouched by events and people around him. He is

unwilling to lie, during his trial, about killing the Arab. His

reluctance to get involved in defending himself results in a

verdict of death by guillotine. Had Meursault been engaged in his

defense, explaining his actions, he might have been set free.

Meursault's unresponsive behavior, distant from any apparent

emotions, is probably reinforced by the despair which he sees open

and feeling individuals experience. He observes, for example,

Raymond cheated on and hurt by a girlfriend, and sees his other

neighbor, Salamano, very depressed when he loses a dear companion,

his dog. Meursault's responses are very different, he doesn't get

depressed at death nor does he get emotionally involved. He

appears to be totally apathetic. Thus, he seems to feel no pain

and is protected from life's disappointments.

Sometimes a person like Meursault can be appealing to others

because he is so non-judgmental and uncritical, probably a result

of indifference rather than sympathetic feelings. His limited

involvement might attract some people because an end result of his

distance is a sort of acceptance of others, thus he is not a threat

to their egos. Raymond Sintes, a neighbor who is a pimp, seems to

feel comfortable with Meursault. Sintes does not have to justify

himself because Meursault doesn't comment on how Sintes makes money

or how he chooses to live his life. Even though Meursault shows no

strong emotions or deep affection, Marie, his girlfriend, is still

attracted and interested in him. She is aware of, possibly even

fascinated by, his indifference. Despite the seemingly negative

qualities of this unemotional man, people nevertheless seem to care

for him.

There are individuals who, because of different or strange

behavior, might be outcasts of society, but find, in spite of or

because of their unconventional behavior, that there are some

people who want to be a part of their lives. Meursault, an asocial

person is such an individual. His behavior, while not antagonistic

or truly antisocial, is distant, yet it does not get in the way of

certain relationships. While there are some people who might find

such relationships unsatisfying and limited, Meursault and those he

is connected to seem to be content with their "friendships". His

aloofness, though, may not have saved him from suffering. It might

actually have been the cause of the guilty verdict at his trial for

killing the Arab. Withdrawing from involvement with people or life

events might not mean total isolation or rejection but it does not

necessarily protect an individual from pain or a bad end. This paper is the property of NetEssays.Net Copyright © 1999-2002 i got this from another site

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