Parallels Within The Stranger (The Outsider)
The Stranger by Albert Camus is a story of a sequence of events in one man's life that cause him to question the nature of the universe and his position in it. The book is written in two parts and each part seems to reflect in large degree the actions occurring in the other. There are curious parallels throughout the two parts that seem to indicate the emotional state of Meursault, the protagonist, and his view of the world.
Meursault is a fairly average individual who is distinctive more in his apathy and passive pessimism than in anything else. He rarely talks because he generally has nothing to say, and he does what is requested of him because he feels that resisting commands is more of a bother than it is worth. Meursault never did anything notable or distinctive in his life: a fact which makes the events of the book all the more intriguing.
Part I of The Stranger begins with Meursault's attendance at his mother's funeral. It ends with Meursault on the beach at Algiers killing a man. Part II is concerned with Meursault's trial for that same murder, his ultimate sentencing to death and the mental anguish that he experiences as a result of this sentence. Several curious parallels emerge here, especially with regard to Meursault's perception of the world.
In Part I, Meursault is spending the night next to his mother's coffin at a sort of pre-funeral vigil. With him are several old people who were friends of his mother at the home in which she had been living at the time of her death. Meursault has the strange feeling that he can see all of their faces really clearly, that he can observe every detail of their clothing and that they will be indelibly imprinted on his mind. He also gets the strange feeling that they are all watching him or sitting in judgment over him and that they hold him responsible for his mother's death.
This particular scene is echoed in Part II, at Meursault's own trial, where he has the again unsettling feeling that he is being judged--only this time it is for something he actually did, and it's official. He has the weird impression, again, that he will remember the faces of the jurors forever because he can see them with a sort of heightened vision; he observes every detail of their clothing and can see every little blemish and feature on their bodies.
Another curious parallel emerges with regard to the weather in The Stranger. On the day of his mother's funeral, Meursault is feeling very tired because he stayed awake the entire previous night, and that tiredness combined with the excruciatingly hot weather...