The Hero in Camus’s The Stranger (The Outsider)
Certain novels include a character who, based solely on his actions, would appear to be evil, but in an in-depth examination, can be seen in a different, more sympathetic light. The character Meursault, in Albert Camus’s The Stranger, is notable for this description. While his murderous crime and indifference to emotions make him seem to be cretinous, his dramatic transformation at the end of the story make us feel for him. When he finally grasps the theme of the book, embracing the “gentle indifference” of the universe, he also grabs our hearts, in becoming an “absurd” hero.
To begin, the outside observer of Meursault would find him a distressingly hardened criminal. Most notable, of course, is his cold-blooded murder of the Arab. When he declares that it was “because of the sun,” he is labeled “a monster,” by the prosecutor, and our minds. His other so-called crime is being found guilty of indifference. All throughout the book, Meursault refuses to open any part of his self to the emotional world. “Maman died today. Or maybe yesterday,” symbolizes his lack of regard for the people in his life. Later, when he sheds no tears at the funeral and answers nonchalantly to Marie’s talk of marraige, we come to realize that he is without the vital passion that fuels human existence.
So, it would appear that the cards are stacked against Meursault in his initial description to the audience. Yet, Camus manages to add subtle details to the story, which give us a reverse impression. For one thing, Meursault is surrounded by a cast of strangely eccentric characters. When contrasted to him, their violence and odd habits make us pity his situation. There is Raymond, who beats his girl...
... middle of paper ...
...rasp the meaning of his existence.
Unfortunately, in the final and most indifferent act of his unemotional life, he kills the Arab. When his chaotic nature comes into conflict with the structure of society, he is locked away. Thus, banned from the physical pleasures which had previously sustained his existence, he begins to develop the inner rage and emotional state which define us as humans.
At last, these feelings are freed from the cell of self-imprisonment, but alas, it is too late. He has followed the absurd path all the way down to existentialist enlightenment, but ironically, his reward is death. This just does not seem fair, and we feel for him despite his past acts. Now he is a changed man and we feel he deserves another chance at life. Yet, constrained by society’s justice, his now-meaningful life is dealt the cruelest blow - death - and we weep.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Meursault is condemned to die by guillotine and Sisyphus is given the burden of having to do an eternity of hard labor, yet in both of these tragic situations they both live without illusions. Thus both men come to light with the realities and truths of their lives and can now be truly happy. In the essay “the Myth of Sisyphus “and the philosophical fiction novel The Stranger by Albert Camus the existentialist idea is that human life is meant to have futile suffering in it and people should not end their lives because of this abyss of pain; but embrace the life that is given, that once the absurdity is identified it is then that one can be elated and content with their lives.... [tags: Absurdism, Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus]
1334 words (3.8 pages)
- One day, just imagine a person was walking in a city. He then stops and manages to see a hundred dollar bill, across the street. He walks across the street, and even with thousands or even millions of people walking past him, he is stuck in a dilemma whether to pick up the money or not. This little dilemma in his head makes him an “everyman character”, a person who is an ordinary person that represents him in the human race. Even by being an everyman character, a person still has the slightest greed within them that makes them pick up that hundred dollar bill.... [tags: Absurdism, Albert Camus, The Stranger]
1094 words (3.1 pages)
- Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger, Meursault the main character, narrates in the first person and thus, his perceptions are limited. The description of the other characters is entirely subjective, that is, he does not attempt to understand their thoughts and feelings. Meursault is detached from society which makes his descriptions of things going on around him removed. He also refuses to adhere to the accepted moral order of society and thus, society brands him an outsider. The internal world of his thoughts and the external world of he lives in both don’t retain any order.... [tags: The Stranger Essays]
1156 words (3.3 pages)
- The Value of Life in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) In Albert Camus' existentialist novel “The Stranger,”the alienation of Meursault from society conveys to the reader the theme of the novel: In light of the lack of a higher deity, all promise of value rests in life itself. To express this theme, Camus develops Meursault’s persona, satirizes many institutions, alludes to religion, and creates many moral and ethical questions. The universal nature of these questions reveal why “The Stranger” remains relevant to society.... [tags: The Stranger The Outsider]
740 words (2.1 pages)
- Man or Monster in Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider) In Albert Camus’ absurdist novel, The Stranger, Meursault’s detachment from society and his killing of the Arab reveal moral and ethical implications for him and his society. As is common in many absurdist novels, Camus discusses the estrangement - and later development - of an individual in a benign and indifferent universe, one in which conformity prevails. Camus not only satirizes the conformity of society, but religion and the legal system as well.... [tags: The Stranger The Outsider]
584 words (1.7 pages)
- What is one man to judge another. Either monarch or peasant, can any mortal really say whether someone is right or wrong in his ways. Man will always try to play God, and with justice we give it our best shot when we compile all of our brightest minds together to create laws and make verdicts. Even with these laws, the human race’s best attempt at justice, the French Nobel Prize winning author Albert Camus was still unimpressed. With his 1942 novella The Stranger, Camus shows readers why men judging other men is not justice.... [tags: Human, Cell, Law, Stem cell]
1217 words (3.5 pages)
- Meursault as Metaphysical Rebel in The Stranger (The Outsider) The Stranger by Albert Camus was published in 1942. The setting of the novel is Algiers where Camus spent his youth in poverty. In many ways the main character, Meursault, is a typical Algerian youth. Like them, and like Camus himself, Meursault was in love with the sun and the sea. His life is devoted to appreciating physical sensations. He seems so devoid of emotion. Something in Meursault's character has appealed primarily to readers since the book's publication.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
2000 words (5.7 pages)
- Use of Stylistic Devices in The Stranger In his novel The Stranger, Albert Camus uses the stylistic devices of imagery and diction to develop the intensity of the physical action and to illustrate the lack of emotion in the last paragraph of Part I. Imagery of all kinds is abundant in this passage as Meursault, the main character, pays great attention to and describes in detail the beach environment that surrounds him. Visual imagery is present as he conveys the intense heat by telling how it seemed as though the sky had cracked open and was raining flame, and by personifying the ocean, recounting how it breathed blistering hot air onto the beach.... [tags: The Stranger The Outsider]
415 words (1.2 pages)
- It is a common belief that in times of turmoil love will be the strong point that allows us to live through the ‘dark’. However, Albert Camus and Elie Wiesel in their novellas The Stranger and Night challenge the idea that love will be the hero that saves all in the end. The authors create characters that gain and lose the love of family, community, and religion. They both start out on different paths, Eliezer a boy with family and love and all well, and Meursault, an existentialist. Yet, they both end on the same road.... [tags: Albert Camus, Elie Wiesel]
1093 words (3.1 pages)
- From the very first line of Albert Camus’ The Stranger, “Maman died today,” (Camus 3) the quirky character of Meursault is shown to be different. The same holds true with Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, A Doll’s House, concerning Nora, a mother who abandons her family in order to pursue her own happiness. Both characters, while set in opposing societies, exhibit similar characteristics: a courageous, if not reckless, pursuit of happiness, be it physical in the case of Meursault or mental for Nora, and the relentless disregard of social standards and norms in the chase for free will.... [tags: Literature]
1644 words (4.7 pages)
- Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): Conformity
- Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour
- Discovering Freedom in Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour
- Redemption in The Story of B
- Essay on Social Expectations in Story of an Hour and Sorrowful Woman
- Free College Essays - Use of Imagery in Shakespeare's Othello