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Albert Camus' The Outsider

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Albert Camus’s novel The Outsider is a fictional narrative that presents strong philosophical themes such as the irrationality of the universe and meaningless of human life. Throughout the novel it is clear that the narrator and protagonist – a young man named Meursault – is the only character that is able to understand and appreciate these ideas or philosophical truths. It is for this reason that he is an outsider. Accordingly, other social groups, including women, are represented as shallow as they constantly attempt to identify or create rational structure and meaning in their lives – Camus’s notion of absurdity. Women are a social group that show attributes of attachment, hope and ambition all of which in the novel are a futile attempt to impose rationality when none exists. Thus, Camus implies that women are shallow — lacking the deeper understanding of the universe.

The concept of attachment is associated with many female characters throughout the novel. Marie, clearly shows attachment for Meursault as she delights in physical contact, enjoys kissing in public and engages in casual sex. Furthermore, her visit to Meursault in jail consolidates her sentimental longing for him. Even evidence of Meursault’s mother showing attachment to men can be seen. When the warden of the nursing home was asked if Meursault’s mother “reproach[ed] [Meursault] for having sent her to the home ... he said, ‘Yes’” (Camus, 86). When she looses the last male figure in her life, she soon found another – Thomas Perez. “[Thomas Perez] and your mother had become almost inseparable”(18), said the keeper of the nursing home. Marie also is unable to let go of Meursault even after he turns down marriage proposals, refuses to say that he loves her and goe...

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...omen are represented as shallow, naive and unintelligent. Furthermore, their failure to see their sexual objectification adds to this representation. This is done purposefully to show that very few in society can come to the realization of irrationality in the universe. Only few can truly be outsiders.

Works Cited

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 18. Print.

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 35. Print.

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 44. Print.

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 45. Print.

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 74. Print.

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 86. Print.

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 116. Print.

Camus, Albert. The Outsider. London: Penguin Books, 1983. 117. Print.
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