Meursault: A Man Who Refuses T

1110 words - 4 pages

"Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know," are the first statements made by the protagonist Meursault, in Albert Camus's The Stranger, One finds this a very peculiar way to speak of a mother's passing. Meursault, however, finds his statement perfectly normal because he is not sure which day his mother died; he feels this is a perfectly logical statement. This quote is just one of the many examples of how Meursault is not a normal person in societies eyes. Meursault, in fact, is a man who refuses to play the game.Meursault never really visited his mother (Maman), while she was alive, although he knew she was going to die eventually. When Maman dies, Meursault sees the services as a mere formality, dictated by society. He feels that the services are something that he has to attend. Although Meursault does not remember his mother as religious, per her request, there is an all-night vigil held for her. During this vigil, Meursault thinks very little about his mother. Instead, he notices the people in the room, he makes crude observations about them, and he sleeps. These actions are not commonplace at a vigil for ones mother.The next day is the funeral. The funeral is yet another formality. As Meursault is on the trip to the cemetery, he takes notice of his mother's dear friend, a friend he has never met. Meursault notices how this friend is constantly falling behind the hearse during the ride. Despite his observations, he does not do anything to help the man or solicit help from others. As for the funeral, he does not seem to feel anything regarding the loss of his mother. In fact, he does not shed a tear. He makes a few random observations, such as, "Then there was the church and the villagers on the sidewalks the red geraniums on the graves in the cemetery…" etc. and that is all that he says about the funeral. Meursault talks nothing about how he loved his mother, or how much he missed her, but talks of the noises he hears and the joy he feels when he gets home.When Meursault returns, his outlook on life is no different then before. He seems to do whatever he wishes to do at any particular time. A good example of that is with Marie, a former typist in his office for whom he used to have feelings. When he sees her again, he is instantly drawn towards her. Right away, the two of them have a good relationship. They begin to see each other in a traditional manner. Then one day Marie asks him if he would marry her. He says that it does not make any difference to him. This was not the kind of answer that Marie was looking for. Later Meursault talks about how he wanted to marry her, but does not tell her. Why does he not tell her? He does not want to. That is the only reason he has.Along with his somewhat different relationship that he has with Marie, Meursault also has another interesting relationship with his supposed friend Raymond Sintez. Is Raymond really Meursault's friend? The terms of their friendship are quite interesting....

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