Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Stranger

The Question: What does it mean to be an outsider or insider and how does it affect our personalities?

Monsieur Meursault is one of the most bizarre characters ever created not to mention a total and complete outsider. The book begins with the funeral of his mother where he shows absolutely no emotion. He even expresses annoyance with the other mourners. When asked he cannot even give the age of his now dead mother. Weird. Upon returning home he goes to the beach and frolics with a rather loose woman, Marie. Even she, I suppose at this point his girlfriend, didn't know his mother was totally in the ground.

He then starts to explain Mr. Salamano and his abused dog. Then his other neighbor Raymond, the pimp and woman beater. Meursault never puts any emotion into his words; he simply says it how it is. The story never has any emotion...ever. It is a very odd way to read a story and receive no background information or incite into anything at all.

Fast forward to Meursault shooting the Arab. What the heck is he even doing? Why did he go back? Did he even know what he was doing? Who cares...he is indifferent towards everything. He marches through life with his head down knowing the only place he ever will be heading is death.

His trial is a total personal attack on him. No one actually ever cared that he killed the arab, its the fact that he is so strange that lead to the trial. The fact that he didn't grieve for his mother is the main topic of the entire trial. He also felt no remorse for his crime or ever made an appeal to a higher power. His lack of religion seemed to freak everyone out. Because he was so totally "without" a soul he was condemned to death. No one gave a damn about the Arab he murdered but he didn't fit in with societies norm so he had to be dealt with.

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