Effect Of Light In The Stranger And One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

1493 words - 6 pages

The light in the two novels The Stranger and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich(One Day) has an animalistic effect on the protagonists. In The Stranger, Meursault complains about the intensity of sunlight. His nature is not a light friendly one, he becomes distracted and begins to sweat under intensive light. Meursault may in several ways be compared to a bat, confused and irritated by light, though when in a dark environment, he is able to concentrate and focus. On the other hand, Shukov from One Day experiences light as mental freedom from the dark camp. Light allows him to hope for a better future for him and everyone in the camp. Shukov shows animalistic features as well, as he wakes with the sun rising and ends his day with the sunset. He tolerates darkness as long as he does not encounter major vision difficulties due to the dark. Meursault lives in a small town at the beach with daily, sunny and warm weather. On the contrary is the weather in the USSR, in which Shukov has family and a home . The USSR, by maintaining mostly negative temperatures throughout the year, transmits a rather negative image of the environment. Both protagonists ironically react to light and darkness opposite to the presence of light and darkness in their environment.
In The Stranger, Meursault is not able to tolerate intensive light which causes him to think narrowly and furthermore behave according to such thoughts. He does not seem to feel any emotions at his mother’s funeral as he shows more interest in the details of her death than his emotional connection to her as his mother. He is more bothered by the intensity of the light than the fact that his mother died. He portrays this kind of attitude at his mother’s funeral and then later on the beach. While Meursault and Raymond are walking at the beach, Raymond gives him the gun. In that moment, though the sun is relatively strong, he is able to focus on the situation and realize that one can either "shoot or not shoot" (The Stranger, 56).
Meursault is aware that this applies to the current situation equally as to everything in his life up to that point, which has been a "Yes or No" situation he simply accepted without disobeying this. The fact that he was able to make such a realization under relatively intensive sunlight is odd for his character. Later on "The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes. That's when everything began to reel. The sea carried up a thick, fiery breath. It seemed to me as if the sky split open from one end to the other to rain down fire." (The Stranger, 59) Meursault represents an existentialist existence. That he was able to make a life-changing realization, but later on is not able to control his mind when the situation becomes real, shows how he is directed by the glaring sun. In the dark Meursault is himself, as soon as he is surrounded by light though, his self is pushed aside and he is physically as well as mentally lead by a different...

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