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Meursault’s Subconscious Mind In Albert Camus’ The Stranger

1248 words - 5 pages

In Part One of The Stranger, Albert Camus avoids religious confrontations with Meursault in order to subconsciously place blame on Christ for his criminal actions. Camus restricts Meursault’s relationships to further distance him from his mother. Meursault then alienates himself from the typical spiritual ceremonies and actions to demonstrate his distrust of religion. Simultaneously, Camus uses diction of clear and bright elements to characterize people in the novel, excluding Meursault. Camus associates dark colors with Meursault to depict a sadistic persona. To conclude, Camus places Meursault in recurring situations which result in him being distracted by “the light”. Camus uses these literary techniques in The Stranger to demonstrate man’s condemnation of God.
Meursault’s actions throughout the novel lead to his regretless murder. Meursault surrounds himself around people of no spiritual faith to withdrawal himself from his mother and God. Reserved Meursault interacts with his neighbor Salamano on various occasions and observes him walking his dog everyday, repeatedly swearing at it. Meursault observes as Salamano yanks the dog while screaming, “’Filthy, stinking bastard!’” (Camus 27). This interaction illustrates the revolting and monstrous characteristics of Salamano through the eyes of society. Instead of cringing in repulsion as expected of most ordinary people, when Raymond “’asked me (Meursault) didn’t I think it was disgusting’” (Camus 28), Meursault replied no. Meursault’s response implies his lack of sentiment and places him in the same category as Salamano.
Not only does Meursault associate himself with abusive Salamano, but also unpopular neighbor Raymond Sintes. The neighborhood views Raymond as a man who “lives off women” and therefore is disliked (Camus 28). Meursault does not criticize Raymond, but instead accepts him as a friend. After Raymond found out his mistress cheated on him, he beat her. Meursault remarked that “it seemed to me that she’d gotten her punishment now and he ought to be happy”, which reveals his depraved moral values (Camus 37). Meursault envelopes his life around this category of people to avoid the religious confrontations he would have to face with others because he personally detects no immorality in their actions that the majority would.
In addition to surrounding himself with corrupt people, Meursault dismisses moral relationships. He rejects the religious influences in his life to portray his disbelief in afterlife and his resistance to deeper meaning. In the beginning of the novel, Meursault demonstrates no remorse for his mother’s death nor does he build on her afterlife. The director clarifies that “’your mother often expressed to her friends her desire for a religious burial,’” (Camus 6) .Meursault makes no comment to this, symbolizing his indifference to the matter. He sends his mother to Marengo, the old home, without attachment or emotion. This easy separation represents his distance to...

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