Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Stranger

In The Stranger by Albert Camus, the main character Meursault is a disconnected man who doesn't even cry at his own mother's funeral. Through out the novel, Meursault is chastised for the way he lives his life because it is different from what society says is right. Meursault lives a mediocre, monotonous life with no excitement or expectations. Because of his lifestyle he has no connections or real relationships with others. He has meaningless relationships with the people around him, Marie and Raymond.

After his mother's funeral, Meursault starts dating Marie but throughout the novel there an overwhelming disconnect between the two. Meursault really has no desire other than physical to be with her yet Marie loves him.

"Marie came that evening and asked me if I’d marry her. I said I didn’t mind; if she was keen on it, we’d get married.
Then she asked me again if I loved her. I replied, much as before, that her question meant nothing or next to nothing—but I supposed I didn’t."

His emotionless answers show that he really doesn't care that much about the relationship and that it doesn't have much of an impact on him. Although he doesn't depend on Marie, she provides him with a constant barrage of affection and loves him and visits him in jail when no one else will.

Meursault also interacts with a man named Raymond that ultimately leads to his downfall. Although Meursault is also disconnected from the relationship with this man he is affected by it in a way that will change his life. Raymond is in a fight with some Arabs and when Meursault goes to the beach with Raymond, he is dragged into the fight. Raymond allows Meursault to become part of his "gang" to help fight the Arabs when in reality Meursault has nothing to do with it. In the end, Meursault is affected by the sun beating down on him and kills the Arab.

"But I fired four shots more into the inert body, on which they left no visible trace. And each successive shot was another loud, fateful rap on the door of my undoing."

By the end of the novel, he finally wants to feel emotions and see the relationships between people and on his dying day he finally comes to a realization.

"all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration."

He wants to be able to feel some kind of emotion or connection to people that he had pushed out of all of his relationships in his life. He wanted something more.

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