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Albert Camus' "The Stranger". This Essay Was About The Ultimate Conclusion Of Death To Ones Life.

936 words - 4 pages

In Camus' The Stranger, the author exposes a tension between society and the protagonist's perspective of society. The reader comes to understand the pointlessness of existence through the protagonist's lens. Although society defines people by actions, Meursault rejects ideas of categorization and embraces a nihilistic view of life. This judgment passed on individuals is based on an individual's actions. Meursault realizes that everything that lives must die, therefore no matter what one does in life, one is still doomed to the same fate that everyone else is. Meursault makes all of his decisions based on his notion that his actions are unimportant because no matter how society classifies him, he will still die. It is Meursault's utter rejection of all things irrational that separate him from his fellow man and make him a "stranger".The fact that Meursault doesn't cry at his own mother's funeral demonstrates how Meursault is disconnected from the normal human emotions of grief that usually accompany death. Meursault is not even sure when his mother died. "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know"(3). He seems to view the rest of humanity as the "others," as if he is a mere observer rather than a part of humanity that he was born into. For example, the image of the elderly people gathered around the caretaker "nodding their heads" at Meursault conjures up the feeling of vultures surveying their prey. Even Meursault himself feels "that they were there to judge"(10). His behavior only reinforces this division as he finds himself unable to share in the emotional connection and experience of the vigil. For instance, when one of the women starts to cry, his only response to the tender display of love is, "I wish I didn't have to listen to her anymore"(10). He does not relate to nor understand the woman's humanity--as if he were a "stranger" to the essential elements of what it means to be human. Moreover, when the vigil ends and the elderly friends leave they shake his hand, a gesture to which he mockingly thinks "...as if that night ... had somehow brought us closer together" (12). This sarcasm underscores how utterly detached he feels from the rest of the world.After returning from the funeral for his mother, Meursault really demonstrates the meaninglessness of his life. What could possibly be more boring and meaningless than walking around your apartment for a while? This passage is interesting because it gives the reader a rare glimpse of reflection about his mother. Even here, though, it is ultimately selfish in nature. Now that his mother is gone, he feels that his apartment is too big for him. He still lacks remorse or grief, but he's realizing how his...

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