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Changes In Reader Opinion On Meursault Throughout Albert Camus’ The Stranger

852 words - 4 pages

In Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault is seen as a very unique character, but not in a good way. Throughout the novel, he continually fails to show normal human emotions to things like his mother’s death, Marie’s love, and the man he killed. Most people in his town, along with the reader at first, are not able to reason out his actions but as the final events of the novel unfold, the reader begins to see Meursault in a different light.
The novel starts out with Meursault getting a telegram saying that his mother had died. He takes time off work to go to her funeral and completely fail to show the emotion that the reader expects to see of a son towards his recently passed mother. First ...view middle of the document...

Towards the end of the novel though, the reader gains some perspective. Through conversations with the chaplain and the judge, the reader learns of Meursault’s third dimension. The chaplain comes to see Meursault against Meursault’s own wishes and the chaplain tells him that he should turn to God for comfort in his final days. Meursault does not believe in God and he tells this to the chaplain. The chaplain seems so sure about everything in life and about everything that will happen but to Meursault, the only certainty is that everybody dies. If it does not happen today, it will happen tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then the day after. Life is indifferent to everybody and nothing in it is important unless the person makes it important. There are no pre-set values that everyone must believe in when they are born. The choices a person makes are what define him because existence precedes essence. If someone chooses to value love, then it is important to him or her and he or she should care about it. If someone chooses to believe in God, then He is only important to him or her and only he or she should care about Him. The reason that he did not cry at his mother’s funeral is because he does not believe that this is the appropriate reaction since everybody dies at one point or another. The...

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