Mersault's Control Over His Actions In The Stranger

681 words - 3 pages

Dialogue is simple throughout part one of The Stranger. Camus does not provide direct explanations for Meursaults actions and response to events. Instead the reader can find an unusual emphasis on the setting and physical aspects of events and characters in part one. Meursault has complete control and conscious awareness of his indifference towards social situations. It is Meursaults underlying radical attitude towards authority and social norms that provide for his dissent behavior. In order to prove that Meursault is free to act as he does, his inability to grieve over the death of his mother should not be accepted. Meursault attempts to justify his indifference by offering a detailed description of the setting from the “crackling of grass” to “the sun” in particular. Distractions may be consuming but to accept them as justification for the inability to grieve at the funeral of his mother is difficult. Meursault is instead creating a façade in which he uses a convinced indifference to both hinder and object to the reality of societies established standards for social behavior and the presence of authority. Similar to his inability to fully acknowledge the death of his mother, providing heat as an excuse, Meursault instead of grieving the death of his mother, begins a relationship with Marie the day after his mothers’ funeral. In his relationship with Marie, Meursault remains indifferent to both love and marriage. His indifference should not however be accepted as an innate, uncontrollable response, rather a radical refuse of both social and religious affairs which authority impresses upon society. This indirect refusal to authority is also a present in Meursaults relationship with his boss. Meursault is offered a job in Paris and to his bosses’ surprise is indifferent to the situation stating that while “it was all the same”(41) that his life was content and “people never change their lives” in fact, “one life was as good as another”(41). Later however discussing the opportunity with Marie instead of displaying indifference describes Paris as “dirty”(42) with “lots...

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