Conformity in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider)
Camus' novel The Stranger presents the character of Meursault who, after killing an Arab, is sentenced to death. This conflict portrays the stark contrast between the morals of society and Meursault's evident lack of them; he is condemned to death, less for the Arab's murder, than for refusing to conform to society's standards.
Meursault is an anomaly in society; he cannot relate directly to others because he does not live as they do. Meursault is simplistic, even detached; he speaks of his mother's death without regret for her loss, merely stating: "Maman died today." He goes on to mention that perhaps it was yesterday - he is not sure which. He cannot abide by the same moral confines as the rest of the world because he does not grasp them; he is largely indifferent to events occurring around him. Meursault's entire being is sensuous, yet unemotional. He derives a certain level of pleasure from eating and drinking, smoking cigarettes, sitting on his balcony to watch passersby. He likes to wash his hands, especially at work in the morning, when the roller towel is dry. He likes sex. When Marie leaves, he lies in bed and tries to get the salty smell of her hair from the pillow. Yet all these things are tactile; Meursault derives physical satisfaction from them, but there is no emotion attached.
This is in direct contrast to society, whose strict guidelines focusing on right and wrong depend on the individual's sense of these concepts. Meursault is perfectly capable of analyzing the situation, but not of responding to it as society wishes him to. Life or death, and anything in between, makes no difference to him. The nurse at his mother's funeral had warned him that if h...
... middle of paper ...
...re is no inherent meaning in life - its entire value lies in living itself. Meursault feels he has been happy, and longs to live. When he must die, he wants a crowd to greet him "with cries of hate"; they are screaming because they want life and the world to have meaning; they need this because that is what their entire existence is built upon. As the magistrate asked of Meursault, "Do you want my life to be meaningless?" Meursault understands how estranged the individual truly is from society. Until the conclusion, he was a stranger to himself as well as to the rest of the world. In the end, he opens himself "to the gentle indifference of the world," and "finding it so much like myself, - like a brother really," feels he has been happy, and is again. Society finds this unacceptable, and by refusing to conform to its face-value standards, Meursault must die.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Gentle Meursault of Camus’s The Stranger (The Outsider) In Albert Camus’s The Stranger, Meursault, the protagonist, could be seen as immoral if he were judged on the basis of his actions alone. However, through Camus’s use of a first person narrative, we begin to understand Meursault as not an immoral man, but simply an indifferent one. Meursault is a symbol of the universe, and so in understanding him we understand that the universe is also not evil, but instead a place of gentle indifference.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
688 words (2 pages)
- Finding a Rational God through Nature in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) Turning towards nature for fulfillment, The Stranger’s Meursault rejects the ideology of God as a savior and is consequently juxtaposed against Jesus Christ’s martyrdom, Christianity and the infamous crucifixion. To the inexperienced reader, Meursault appears to be an extreme atheist. Later in Albert Camus’ novel, he is revealed as a humanistic soul that’s in touch with the universality of the earth and soil he treads upon.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
3485 words (10 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)
- Choice and Individual Freedom in The Stranger Camus's The Stranger is a grim profession that choice and individual freedom are integral components of human nature, and the commitment and responsibility that accompany these elements are ultimately the deciding factors of the morality of one's existence. Meursault is placed in an indifferent world, a world that embraces absurdity and persecutes reason; such is the nature of existentialist belief, that rationalization and logic are ultimately the essence of humanity, and that societal premonitions and an irrelevant status quo serve only to perpetuate a false sense of truth.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
442 words (1.3 pages)
- Recognizing hopelessness in this human condition, man discovers his kingdom in this world. True, this world is a temporary kingdom, one which he will eventually loss, yet this is the only world possible for him. This knowledge sets off in him in a terrible feeling of frustration, one that leads to a passionate commitment to life and all that it can offer. Consequently it brings about an equally passionate rebellion against death and everything that may justify it. The absurd as a human condition is dramatized in the experiences of one man in the stranger.... [tags: Hopelessness, Absurditty]
682 words (1.9 pages)
- Apathy in The Stranger (Outsider) Often times an author incorporates a thought or philosophy into a work that can shape or reshape the attitude emitted from the novel. In Albert Camus', The Stranger, the Existential philosophy that the author fills into the work give an aura of apathy. With the opening lines of "Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure," Camus immediately sets a tone of indifference (1). Though the protagonist, Mersault, is not completely without cares, the overall attitude of passiveness he has toward himself, as well as toward others, give the entire novel a tone of apathy.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
574 words (1.6 pages)
- Reader Response Criticism to Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider) In The Stranger (The Outsider), Albert Camus anticipates an active reader that will react to his text. He wants the reader to form a changing, dynamic opinion of Meursault. The reader can create a consciousness for Meursault from the facts that Meursault reports. By using vague and ambiguous language, Camus stimulates the reader to explore all possibilities of meaning. Camus also intends to shock the reader into rereading passages.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
2242 words (6.4 pages)
- World Without Purpose in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) In The Stranger, Albert Camus misleadingly portrays his existentialistic views of life, death, and the world. Camus portrays the world as absurd or without purpose Meaursalt, who, as a reflection of Camus, is foreign and indifferent to his own life and death. Meaursalt eventually senses guilt for his crime, not because of the remorse of taking someone else’s life, but because it means he would lose the little things that he considers important in his life. Meaursalt is a puzzling character, who leaves readers to be uncertain about Camus’ views of life.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
1754 words (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)
- The Character of Meursault in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider) Raymond typifies the beast-character in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider). He is like Stanley from A Streetcar Named Desire (T. Williams), emotional and manly. Physical solutions come naturally to him, as we see when he mistreats his ex-girlfriend. Ideally, society is exactly the opposite; law and order attempt to solve things fairly and justly. I propose that Meursault is somewhere between these two extremes and that this is the reason why he is a societal outcast.... [tags: Camus Stranger Essays]
852 words (2.4 pages)
- 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
- Tensions in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening