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Essay On Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): Meursault’s Indifference

1453 words - 6 pages

Meursault’s Indifference in The Stranger (The Outsider)  

The language in The Stranger (The Outsider) is strikingly simple. The sentences are molded to fit their function. They state what Meursault, the narrator believes. More importantly, their structure conveys Meursault’s feelings. His feelings are a prominent focal point of the novel. With all of the varying emotions and feelings he has throughout the story, there is one general term that can be applied to them all: indifferent. Meursault delights in simple pleasures, but never fully indulges himself into any of his endeavors. He is always reserved, taciturn, lacking an abundance of emotion. The only passionate surge that emanates from his mind and body comes in the form of his encounter with the Chaplain in his cell.

Monsieur Meursault speaks when he has something he feels he should say. Otherwise, he remains the receiver of other people's communications. It is this innocent reservedness that begins to build the image of him in the reader's mind. At first he may seem dull, unintelligible, even unfeeling; the reader is soon taken in by his casual persona however, and empathizes deeply with his plight by the end of the novel. Meursault perceives his world as extremely indifferent--he does not believe in God or seem to believe in anything higher than pure human existence, and pure human non-existence when death ends life. Meursault is himself indifferent to all of the things throughout his life, except when he is finally met by the specter of death. However, even this fear and anxiety ceases after he accosts the Chaplain. At the end of the novel this young Frenchman comes to realize his similarities to his universe. He feels things are almost "consummate", only a few more details necessary.

The Verdict of Indifference

In this novel, the protagonist is unjustifiably sentenced to death for a murder he did not premeditate or even truly intend. In this essay sufficient proof will be presented that M. Meursault was extremely indifferent to things in his life, which eventually resulted in his conviction and sentence. Jurors, Meursault's fellow human beings, had no compunction with sentencing a disinterested and indifferent individual to death. Perhaps they considered it helping him along on the path that he had already begun to follow in life.

The first prime example of his indifference comes in the form of his inability to admit he loves Marie. It is apparent that in his own way, he truly does love her. He may not love her in the way his culture and society defines love, but for his personality he does truly love her. When she confronts him and asks him if he does love her, he replies that he probably doesn't, but that doesn't really matter anyway. His remark is bathed in unsympathetic indifference, he fails to confess to Marie that he loves her in his own mind, if not in the terms that society proclaims. When he states that it does not matter anyway, what he is really saying...

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