When Meursault is described to us in the early stages of "The Outsider" we see
that he does not obey society's codes therefore is it fair for us to assess
him using societies interpretation of "heroic"?
If we are to judge him by them then we are given ample examples throughout
the novel of his having no compassion or even of his thinking of the
consequences of his actions, hardly heroic, but the converse is also
demonstrated in many places. An example of the former is when Raymond asks
Meursault to "draft" a letter to an Arab prostitute. Meursault knows what
will result from his actions but seems unemotional and views the letter as
being a favour for a friend and not a vicious conspiracy. This lack of
emotion is reinforced when the prostitute is beaten up by Raymond and
Meursault remains impartial whilst his girlfriend, Marie, thought it was "
terrible" and is sickened by the beating. Another display of his apathetic
views is in the opening lines "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I
don't know" This indicates that either he does not care or he had no
comprehension of what had happened. An additional illustration of his
detached attitude is after his mothers funeral when he goes to see a
humorous "Fernandel" film with Marie, his girlfriend, and then he takes her
home and sleeps with her just hours after his Mothers funeral. This
indicates that aswell as having a detached viewpoint that he has no
perception of morality. A section of the novel that reinforces this occurs
that after the murder when he is in jail; he never mentions the Arab at
all; it is as if he does not...
... middle of paper ...
... monther's funeral is liable
to be condemned to death", Meursault is condemned as he does not conform
and people cannot understand him. In my opinion Meursault is admirable as
despite his imminent conviction he maintains his unconventional viewpoint
and standards throughout the novel. He is a "man who, without any heroic
pretensions, agrees to die for the truth". In my opinion this is the
essence of Meursaults character, if he believes in it not even death will
alter his views.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Akeroyd, Richard H. The Spiritual Quest of Albert Camus. Alabama: Portals Press, 1976.
Camus, Albert. The Stranger. New York: Random House, Inc., 1988.
King, Adele. Camus. Oliver and Boyd Ltd. 1964. 120.
McCarthy, Patrick. The Stranger. University of Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
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