The language in The Stranger (The Outsider) is strikingly simple. The sentences are molded to fit their function. They state what Meursault, the narrator believes. More importantly, their structure conveys Meursault’s feelings. His feelings are a prominent focal point of the novel. With all of the varying emotions and feelings he has throughout the story, there is one general term that can be applied to them all: indifferent. Meursault delights in simple pleasures, but never fully indulges himself into any of his endeavors. He is always reserved, taciturn, lacking an abundance of emotion. The only passionate surge that emanates from his mind and body comes in the form of his encounter with the Chaplain in his cell.
Monsieur Meursault speaks when he has something he feels he should say. Otherwise, he remains the receiver of other people's communications. It is this innocent reservedness that begins to build the image of him in the reader's mind. At first he may seem dull, unintelligible, even unfeeling; the reader is soon taken in by his casual persona however, and empathizes deeply with his plight by the end of the novel. Meursault perceives his world as extremely indifferent--he does not believe in God or seem to believe in anything higher than pure human existence, and pure human non-existence when death ends life. Meursault is himself indifferent to all of the things throughout his life, except when he is finally met by the specter of death. However, even this fear and anxiety ceases after he accosts the Chaplain. At the end of the novel this young Frenchman comes to realize his similarities to his universe. He feels things are almost "consummate", only a few ...
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...will not come for the others in his world either. Meursault is fortunate enough to realize this while still living, for this foresight he triumphs.
The merging indifference. Meursault is a man whose life is hedged on a pervasive indifference. His Existentialist philosophy of the world is also a conception built on indifference. By the end of the novel Meursault is at peace with himself. He has finally come to a unity and understanding of the interwoven nature of his individuality and the existence of existence. Meursault's head will roll. His life snuffed out. A life complete. Ended. Actualized. All of this because he harbored no false hopes, no vain strivings, because he made a subtle covenant with the death that returns us all to the earth we were produced from.
Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Everyman's Library: New York, 1993.
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