Free Essays on The Stranger (The Outsider): Relationships

Free Essays on The Stranger (The Outsider): Relationships

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Relationships in The Stranger (The Outsider)  


On the surface, Albert Camus's The Stranger (The Outsider) was about a misguided man and his sudden, fatal tribulation. Covertly, a second, more heart-grasping plot occurred in the novel. It involved a misfortuned widower and his side-kick of a dog. This scenario can be sharply contrasted to Meursault's insensitivity toward all life (and beyond). Purposefully, this contrast will evidently prove the case that Camus employed a broad range of multipersonality to enhance his novel and, perhaps, to illustrate the keen differences in people.

Salamano, the widower, was afforded the dog shortly after the passing of his wife. Apparently, he showed no regard or value for her, for "he hadn't been happy with her, but he'd pretty much gotten used to her" (Camus 44). The dog was to fill the void in his life. He often pampered the dog and lavished it with gifts. When the dog took ill, he nourished it back to a considerable health. However, soon afterward he became indifferent to the dog. He began verbally and physically abusing the dog. His second "marriage" mirrored the one with his wife profoundly. The dog eventually ran off to escape the punishment, and once again Salamano experienced a life of solitude. He did not get over this loss as well or as soon as the one of his wife. He came to the realization that he had taken life for granted. To prove this, he rarely socialized prior to his dog's disappearance; after losing the dog, though, he offered his hand to Meursault in kindness (Camus 46).

Meursault, in contrast, does not change his mental attitude at all in the novel. His time was precious, for he could correspond with no one unless arrangements had been made in advance. He was very disrespectful and unsensitive, and he was very open about this fact. One aspect of his attitude was the relationship between him and Marie. She was only a sex object to him. He based their relationship solely on sex and sexuality. He most definitely talked with her, but he did not truly care for her.

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During and following his murder trial, he had no thoughts about her at all. The quote "...remembering Marie meant nothing to me" supports this conjecture (Camus 115). In the end, all correspondence between the two ceased.

In closing, Meursault was an immovable stone, and only he himself could remove the subconscious barrier in which he enshrouded himself. While Salamano received a type of reincarnation, Meursault undoubtedly ruined his chances for a second shot at life.
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