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Disillusionment in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider)
In Albert Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider), the protagonist Meursault is clearly disillusioned of life in general. Two examples of this disillusionment occurred in the instances of his mother's death and an offer to be transferred to another work environment. This incomplacency is paramount in discerning this meticulous, selfish Camusian character.
In regard to his mother's death, he seemed indifferent at the loss of her life. He was so uninterested in her funeral that he remarked the following: "...I can be there for the vigil and come back tomorrow night" (Camus 3). His mother appeared to slow him down. He claimed he never went to visit her in the nursing home because she enjoyed it too much. Nonetheless, he admitted, in addition, that the visit "took up my Sunday -- not to mention the trouble of getting to the bus, buying tickets, and spending two hours traveling" (Camus 5). To further define his insensitivity, Meursault shed not even one tear in this part of the novel; moreover, he expressed no form of sorrow whatsoever.
Likewise, Meursault's attitude and reaction toward an offer to be relocated to a Parisian location was a monumental indicator of his insensitivity. One would expect him to accept or decline the offer graciously and respectfully. Meursault proved, again, to be unpredictable when he states, in regard to his then current life and a possible reincarnation in Paris: "...it (life) was all the same to me" (Camus 41). Caught off-guard by his response, Meursault's boss asked yet another question: was Meursault interested in a change of life? Unmoved, Meursault further retorted that one life was as good as another, and, furthermore, he wasn't dissatisfied with his current status at all. (Notice how he never stated that he was happy with it either.) Meursault's boss blasted him, crying that Meursault never gave him a straight answer and had no ambition; his boss sad both of which were "disastrous" qualities in business (Camus 41).
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Both scenarios are synonymous in that they are prime examples of Meursault's stolidity and relentless unappreciation of life. In both cases he was unexpressive, unmoved in either diretion: happiness or sorrow. The funeral director and Meursault's boss were indeed taken aback at Meursault's attitude. Neither, however, was successful in swaying Meursault and drawing him away from his "Stalinated" way of thinking.