How Did Meursault Transition in Characterization from the Beginning of the Book to the End of the Book

Written Assignment: How did Meursault transition in characterization from the beginning of the book to the end of the book?

Camus’ novel The Stranger offers a view of someone’s indifference from society. Through the interactions and relationships Camus puts Meursault though, displays Meursault's transition in characterization, going on to show how he is indifferent from society. Ultimately furthering his development from indifferent, to realizing he has a place within society. There is an emphasis placed on Meursault’s indifference from society through the shift in the book on how he interacts with people in the beginning of the book to how he interacts with people in the second half of the book.

Meursault in the beginning of the book does not have a care for anyone he interacts with. Right in the beginning of the book his mother passes away and, although most people would mourn for their mother, Meursault did not. He was not even going to go to his mother's funeral, but the people in his workplace and that knew him and found out about the news strongly encouraged him to go. When he made it to the place of his mother’s funeral he spent time where his mother’s body was being kept, but he never once requested to see her one last time. All he did was sit around and drink and smoke near her coffin. The day of his mother’s funeral Meursault was more concerned with the environment around him rather than the fact that his mother was dead, and mourn with the other people who had came to her funeral. Instead, all he had to say about the mournful day was, “...Sunday was over...and, really, nothing had changed.” (24). Another instance in the first part of the book where Meursault shows his carelessness for people, is when Marie asks...

... middle of paper ... exist because they are going to die. Aside from his atheism, Meursault makes few assumptions about the nature of the world around him. However, his thinking begins to broaden once he is sentenced to death. After his encounter with the chaplain, Meursault concludes that the universe is, like him, totally indifferent to human life. Which he then goes on to decide that people’s lives have no grand meaning or importance in life. And that their actions, their comings and goings, have no effect on the world. This realization is the final result of all the events of the novel. When Meursault accepts “...the gentle indifference of the world...” (110) he finds peace with himself and with the society around him, and his shift in characterization is complete.

Works Cited

Camus, Albert, and Matthew Ward. The Stranger. New york: Vintage International, 1989. Print.

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