It’s almost impossible not to see the parallels to today. Why is the tense wrong in the beginning of The Stranger? The important detail in the novel is the death of an Arab. He is far from being totally deprived of sensitivity for he is animated by a passion, profound because it is tacit, the passion for the absolute and for truth. Meursault describes his physical reactions to details he notices in the world around him. Moreover, if I recall rightly Camus insisted that he was not an existentialist - at least in Sartre's mould. In that case, according to Freud, the grief is so heavy that it is repressed and cannot be processed by the conscious mind. The abyss that separates Meursault … At two o’clock on a sunny afternoon, Meursault kills an unnamed Arab. The trigger gave, I felt the underside of the polished butt and it was there, in that sharp but deafening noise, that it all started. The story is divided into two parts, presenting Meursault's first-person narrative view before and after the murder, respectively. All sane beings had more or less wished for the death of those they loved." These passages provide a direct narrative for what directly instigated the act. He lets go of any expectations for life and accepts the universe’s indifference. The final words of Part I read this: I wanted to hear the murmur of its water again, to escape from the sum and the effort and the women's tears, and to relax in the shade again. As for why Meursault kills the Arab, again Camus gives us very few clues. The sky seemed to be splitting from end to end and raining down sheets of flame. This is nature's hand, i.e. Meursault even acknowledges that he doesn't have to kill "the Arab". He tenses, accidentally pulling the trigger. He was lying on his back, with his hands behind his head ... As far as I was concerned, it was all settled and I'd gone there without even thinking about it. looking beyond character analysis); another approach looks beyond over character motivation to find motives that are not apparent at the surface. Well, that is what the book is about. The entire story is told from a first-person perspective, i.e. After returning, he goes on a date with Marie Cardona, a former co-worker, and has a sexual relationship with her. How is the Czechoslovak traveller's story relevant to The Stranger as a whole? I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn't dissatisfied with mine here at all. Just pinging you to let you know there's now an open bounty on the question. What is the significance of the names Mersault and Meursault? For Freudian critics, Meursault's wish for his mother's death is as if he had effectively killed here, so it would only be just for him to share her fate. Meursault comes to the conclusion that death is the end result for every human's life. Did you mean "shows no remorse" rather than "shows remorse"? Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. Promote our site and earn a Booster badge or a Publicist badge! Tous les être sains avaient plus ou moins souhaité la mort de ceux qu'ils aimaient.") It conveys the theme of existentialism, as well as the title of the book overall - Mersualt is an outsider in the way that he defies the laws of society. The reader will appreciate the dramatic irony in Meursault’s statement that he does not like policemen, as he will soon be forced to deal with not only policemen but prison and the legal system as a result of his own violent acts. This would explain why, at the funeral, Meursault behaves in a way that witnesses later describe as insensitive. Gallimard, 1992, page 187.). Where did all the old discussions on Google Groups actually come from? He remarks on Meursault’s failure to provide for the full-time caretaker she needed but reassures him that she had many friends there. But what I find interesting is the last sentence. Albert Camus, the author, was an existentialist. Could all participants of the recent Capitol invasion be charged over the death of Officer Brian D. Sicknick? When he becomes blinded by the sweat that washes into his eyes, the flash of light from the Arab’s knife, and the cymbals of pain clashing in his head—he shoots the Arab dead. Two Arabs were seemingly following them. (See for example, Bernard Pingaud: L'Étranger d'Albert Camus. The day after he The prosecution's closing speech appears to mention the killing of the Arab only briefly, adding that Meursault "knows the value of words", which is another allusion to Meursault's commitment to truth (though probably not from the prosecutor's point of view). Raymond is later seen assaulting this woman and after being let off with a warning invites Marie and Meursault to the beach. But strangely enough, no real explanation is given for why Meursault killed "the Arab". The man is lying in the sand, watching him intently. It struck me that all I had to do was to turn, walk away, and think no more about it. From this point of view, the killing of the Arab is a roundabout way of committing suicide, using the justice system as an instrument. Meursault reacts to the Prosecutor’s closing argument that he did not show the least bit of regret for his actions. There is no God, no meaning, no free will, and (most impressively in this work) no absolute moral judgment. In displaying his indifference, Meursault implicitly challenges society’s accepted moral standards, which dictate that one should grieve over death. What does not work well is looking for motivation at the surface level of the text. Quoted in Bernard Pingaud: L'Étranger d'Albert Camus. I think this answer would probably be improved if you talked more about existentialism. What's the earliest treatment of a post-apocalypse, with historical social structures, and remnant AI tech? The French protagonist and his friends all have names: the man he kills, and his friends, do not. It doesn't matter. After Meursault kills a man, “the Arab,” for no apparent reason, he is put on trial. How does this nihilism come out in the text itself? This is due to Camus's narrative technique. No matter how you look at it, there is not a reasonable explanation for Meursault's actions. The universe has no judgment because there is no God or objective morality. The murder came as a shock - here we are looking at the life of an absurd man. You have to remember that Meursault had simply gone with his friends for a day on the beach. You see this most notably in his trial, where he shows remorse, and is ultimately convicted not because he committed the murder, but because he doesn't live up to what society wishes. Why is Camus asserting that “Marx scientific Messianism” is Bourgeois? Half-blinded by the sun, Meursault steps forward, foolishly trying to escape the heat. I realized that I'd destroyed the balance of the day and the perfect silence of this beach where I'd been happy. Man is an animal that can only respond to the environment. The nurse tells Meursault how the weather affects the human body. [Marie] asked me if I loved her. Meursault is also honest, which means that he does not think of hiding his lack of feeling by shedding false tears over his mother’s death. After his mother's death, he does not seem to be mourning: he is not interested in having his mother's coffin opened so he can take a last look at her, he smokes during the wake, even falls asleep, and he doesn't weep during the funeral. Can 1 kilogram of radioactive material with half life of 5 years just decay in the next minute? These moments of heat, glare, and sleepiness foreshadow what will happen later in the novel on the beach with the Arab: The sun causes Meursault to momentarily lose track of himself, which, in the latter case, results in catastrophe. You see, this novel is largely about existentialism. He also defied many societal standards related to his mother's funeral. In most instances, it is based on a scant few seconds without taking an opportunity to get to know the person. This is why society needs an excuse to put Meursault on trial, and by letting Meursault unintentionally kill an Arab, the novelist provides exactly that excuse. Meursault has killed the Arab. However, readers learn that while he notices sensual details, he fails to notice human emotions. Rather than decide whether he is guilty of murder, the prosecutor seeks to prove how Meursault is an unloving and uncaring individual, that he has 'no soul.' Though Meursault may feel "the whole thing was over," the fight actually happened only a little while earlier and must surely be fresh in the Arab man's mind. Meursault expresses a tenet of existentialism here: Each individual possesses only the present moment in which to act. In which interview did Camus say that Meursault is the only Christ we deserved? Presently, however, the Arabs have vanished, and the three men find an empty beach. His protagonist, Meursault, becomes a nihilist. The Stranger is not existentialist, but nihilist. It is society itself that excludes to protect its coherence. Why? If you edit this answer enough, maybe you'll get the bounty :-). Does having no exit record from the UK on my passport risk my visa application for re entering? The Stranger’s central event occurs when Meursault shoots the Arab. (This reading puts the prosecutor's claim that Meursault had "morally killed" his mother in a different light than the previous interpretation.). Readers imagine that the employer might be hurt by Meursault’s completely ambivalent response to such an offer as he accuses Meursault of lacking ambition, a grave defect for a businessman. Likening the day to the day of the funeral summons death into the scene right before Meursault shoots. Meursault describes how his physical sensations affect his mental state. The evidence presented during the hearing gives impres… This moment marks the beginning of Meursault’s undoing as he later uses that gun to murder one of the Arabs. Camus was not a nihilist. From a Freudian point of view, a person in mourning can feel their loss in an external way. Meursault 's neighbor who adopts Meursault as a friend by enlisting him to help sort out a conflict with his mistress. Meursault may not have been completely conscious of his act. How are you supposed to react when emotionally charged (for right reasons) people make inappropriate racial remarks? The Stranger is Albert Camus’s first novel, published in 1942. Selecting all objects with specific value from GeoJSON in new variable. What is Meursault's problem with the heat? And I fired four more times at a lifeless body and the bullets sank without leaving a mark. And this time, without sitting up, the Arab drew his knife and held it out towards me in the sun... All I could feel were the cymbals the sun was clashing against my forehead and, indistinctly, the dazzling spear still leaping up off the knife in front of me. They decide to return to the bungalow but along the way, Meursault becomes befuddled, overcome by the sun’s red glare, and decides to take a walk on the beach alone. Camus forces us to confront the fact that any rational explanation we try to offer would be based on a consciousness that we create for Meursault, … At the beginning of the novel, the indifference Meursault feels is located exclusively within himself, in his own heart and mind. To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader. So then, Meursault kills as a response to the sun. Why does Meursault kill “the Arab” in The Stranger? Meursault shows his oblivious estimation of the magistrate and his lawyer as they handle him after his arrest. I realized at that point that you could either shoot or not shoot. Some critics have claimed that Meursault is a victim of society, and others have even claimed that he’s a type of hero. "She says, `If … The Stranger, by Albert Camus, begins with Meursault receiving a telegram informing him of his mother's death. Best Questions & Answers from 4th Quarter of 2020. At his mother's funeral, he was largely alone and almost kept to himself. It's often taken that Meursault is the outsider, the stranger amongst men and that he has chosen this destiny for himself and this ties in with the notion of existentialism where one chooses who one is to be - day by day - and maybe hour by hour. From this point of view, as I already mentioned in my discussion of the Czechoslovak traveller's story, Meursault is put on trial for refusing to lie and not playing by society's conventional rules. “The defining events in The Stranger are set in motion by Meursault’s murder of the Arab” (Plant, 10). Initially, there isn't much. Thanks for contributing an answer to Literature Stack Exchange! As is his way, Meursault agrees to write a letter to him. He also refuses to adhere to the accepted moral order of society. As far as The Outsider goes, the most obvious point is that Meursault kills an "Arab". I spent a bit of time writing this answer, but now I'm hungry and will probably grab some food :). Why can't I move files from my Ubuntu desktop to other folders? Cleverly, Camus coaxes us into just such an attempt—he lures us into trying to determine the reason for Meursault’s killing of the Arab, when in fact Meursault has no reason. Sights, smells, and motion combine to cause a change in consciousness that he can neither identify nor understand. If someone is murdered or not, the world doesn't care. Meursault’s atheism and his lack of outward grief at his mother’s funeral represent a serious challenge to the morals of the society in … Meursault kills as a response to the sun. When Salamano says that he must be feeling his mother’s death terribly, he makes no response because has no feelings that he can report. What one should check when re writing bash conditions for sh or ash? Meursault immediately rejects the idea because it was "untrue". He pauses and then fires four more times into the Arab’s motionless body. 1 Educator answer . Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. The passages in these pages offer that parallel. He knew exactly what he was getting into, but embraced it anyway. His final peace is the "benign indifference" of the universe. ), Shortly before that he had already thought to himself: "I probably loved mother, but that didn't mean anything. site design / logo © 2021 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa. These are examples of not playing by the normal social rules: he does not want to feign grief when he doesn't feel any. He displays impassiveness throughout the book in his reactions to the people and events described… Then [my boss] asked me if I wasn't interested in a change of life. Another way of approaching Meursault's "motivation" to kill the Arab is provided by psychoanalysis. What he did not realize is that normal people feel these emotions regularly, and usually in less deplorable scenarios. Weeks later, he kills an Arab man in French Algiers, who was involved in a conflict with one of Meursault's neighbors. It is only when Salamano recounts the criticism the neighbors felt when Meursault sent his mother to an institution that he defends himself. In The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays Meursault, the book's narrator and main character, as aloof, detached, and unemotional. In Europe, can I refuse to use Gsuite / Office365 at work? Or a person in mourning feels their pain in an internal way; it is felt in the unconscious only, where the person is not aware of it. How does Camus build tension in the passage describing Meursault's walk down the beach before he kills the Arab in The Stranger? Moving on... (emphasis mine). And it was like giving four sharp knocks at the door of unhappiness. 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