ALBERT CAMUS THE STRANGER PDF
The Stranger demanded of Camus the creation of a style at once literary and profoundly popular, an artistic sleight of hand that would make the complexities of a. Albert Camus ❖ THE STRANGER. THE. Stranger. By ALBERT CAMUS. Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert. VINTAGE BOOKS. A Division of Random. ALBERT CAMUS'STHE STRANGER Lewis WarshSERIES COORDINATOR Murray Bromberg Principal, Wang High School of Queens.
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Albert Camus ™ THE STRANGER. THE. Stranger By ALBERT CAMUS Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert. VINTAGE BOOKS A Division of Random. ALBERT CAMUS. THE OUTSIDER. Translated by Joseph Laredie. Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from the home. Albert Camus ♢ THE STRANGER THE Stranger By ALBERT CAMUS Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert VINTAGE BOOKS A Division of Random.
His tone sounds very upset and helpless when he complains about this annoying sun under which he gets burnt and from whose circumference he cannot come out. On this, the readers of the novel may have myriad number of queries. Why does Meursault dislike a natural phenomenon? Why should he think that life is only an unmixed blessing?
Is it a revolt that Meursault shows to the universe by abhorring the natural phenomena? Such questions are only logical to be asked. He does not pretend to be what he is not. The readers feel an affinity of truth with the protagonist.
But questions lurk in their minds. If Meursault is man of uncontaminated sense and if he is righteous, why does he not show respect to the feelings of the fellow humans? To a man with conscience and consciousness, nothing can justify killing a human. The sun shines on him, he feels hot and irritated. He gets rebellious to the total system of the universe, brings out a gun from his pocket and shoots a man four times.
What sort of a righteous person can do that? But the authentic readers are not supposed to be supporting the idea of making life more complex. Just because some people think life to be already complex does not necessarily mean that it has to be made more convoluted and more unbearable. According to Camus, the truth is that human life is completely irrational and it is already inflicted with infinite pain.
Nevertheless, the idea of putting people into more severe pain does not seem to be supportable by anyone with some amount of sense.
The Stranger | Study Guide
If human life is created basically for suffering, Meursault has every reason to help people forget this sadness to any extent. But, he is found to do otherwise.
He, rather, exacerbates the sufferings of himself and other people. If one ventures for coming in touch with the possible explanations of all these riddles, he may not be able to get hold of any static one.
There remains an unending coil that presents numerous annotations of the meaning and significance of the novel. His father was killed in World War I. He himself was a patient of consumption that compelled him to leave his career of a footballer. He was forced to have his study on a part-time basis. Camus joined the Communists and Marxists in and felt alienated from the prevalent ethical conflict that disappointed him largely Genovese, He refuses to act in accordance with the wish of the society and thereby uplifts his authentic self Rainville, Sometimes, the novel is illustrated in the absurdist point of view.
In the same manner, Meursault is unconsciously groping for a niche in the vast world where he really feels at home Montes, In fact, meanings never cease to emerge from the novel. As Jaques Derrida year states that there is no end to meaning, it happens in a comprehensive manner in case of the activities performed by Meursault, the protagonist of The Outsider. Every newer as well as deeper reading of the novel gives birth to unprecedented ideas. Different readers reach different conclusions regarding the motto of the novelist.
Even when the novel is being interpreted in a certain viewpoint, it is getting deconstructed into something novel and innovative. Manchester University Press, Manchester, Uk. The Outsider. Translation Joseph Laredo Penguin Books Ltd. London, England. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Darya Ganj, New Delhi. Pell Scholars and Senior Theses, Paper The apartment was on one of the main thoroughfares of the district, a crowded street where groups of teenagers would stroll in the evening on their way to one of the movie theaters.
Both the neighborhood and the street strongly resemble the neighborhood and street that Meursault describes from his balcony in The Stranger. As a young boy, Camus spent much of his time roaming the streets.
Camus, Albert - The Stranger .pdf
He was an independent child, who knew most of the shopkeepers. His mother was deaf and rarely spoke. There were no books in the house, not even a magazine or a newspaper. While he was in high school, in , he underwent the bout with tuberculosis that was to alter his perspective on life.
After recovering, and after completing high school, he enrolled at the University of Algiers and continued to study philosophy while supporting himself with odd jobs, His goal was to become a teacher at the university.
This job also gave him his first taste of what a routine workweek was like, and its monotony, day after day, week after week, made a lasting impression on him. This was another result of his history of tuberculosis. Prospects for earning a living seemed dim. He had formed a theater group and worked in all areas, including directing and acting. It included recollections of his childhood in Belcourt.
The main character is named Patrice Meursault. His job was to make an inventory of data recorded at some weather stations over a period of 25 years. In his journal during this time there are frequent references to the weather. This increasing attention to the natural world had an important influence on his later writing. Camus longed to be free of the necessity of working at a dull job. He eventually found a position on a new paper, Alger-Republicain, which believed in Arab equality with Europeans and was against French rule in Algeria.
Camus began writing articles about the economic condition of the Arabs. The articles were controversial, and Camus became known as someone who refused to go along with the general anti-Arab sentiment of the majority of Europeans in the country.
Algeria had been ruled by France since In the early part of the twentieth century, the population of Algeria had grown considerably, and the world-wide economic depression of the s had resulted in increased Arab poverty.
At the time that Camus was beginning work on The Stranger, the Arabs of Algeria were seeking to establish their own political and social identity in a country where they were treated like second-class citizens. The presence of so many Arabs and Europeans, living side by side, created an air of tension throughout the country.
Camus was intrigued by this tough-looking, silent character there were rumors that Galindo once had a violent encounter with some Arabs on a beach and used him as a model for two characters in The Stranger, Raymond and Meursault. It is that of a man sentenced to die The title essay- one of his most influential works- describes a Greek mythological figure, Sisyphus, who was condemned by the gods to spend eternity pushing a rock to the top of a hill, watching it roll down, and then pushing it up again.
How can people condemned to such a meaningless existence find meaning in life? Camus did not believe that religion offered an answer. Nor did he think of suicide as the inevitable solution. Part of the challenge of understanding this book is understanding what this response means.
After the war, he took a job as a reader of manuscripts for the Gallimard publishing company and began work on a second novel, The Plague , based on his experience in the fight against Fascism. In his diaries, though, he shows that during this time he was continually haunted by thoughts of dying. Despite his fame, he often thought of himself as a failure. His sudden death, in an automobile accident in , was a startling confirmation of his earlier thoughts on death.
He was always aware that death could strike at any time. It also gave, and continues to give, his readers an important and controversial legacy. The story concerns Meursault, a man who is rather passive, who does not make judgments about the quality of actions.
He does not see patterns in the past or foresee consequences in the future. To act or not to act are one. He seems to care deeply only about the sensations of the fleeting present moment.
He drifts into relationships and into actions, and one of these changes his life. It puts him into conflict with the moral ideas of the society around him. He attends her funeral without showing the sorrow his society expects of a son or daughter.
After the funeral he returns to Algiers. The next day, Saturday, he goes swimming and meets Marie Cardona, a young woman who formerly worked at his office. They see a comic film together and Marie goes home with Meursault. They make love. On Sunday, Meursault stays by himself in his apartment, watching people on the street below.
The following evening, Meursault meets one of his neighbors, Raymond Sintes, who invites him to dinner. Raymond tells Meursault that his Arab girlfriend has been unfaithful and that he wants revenge. Meursault agrees to write the letter. The next weekend, Meursault and Marie go swimming. Meursault refuses to call the police, but another neighbor does and when the policeman arrives, he finds that Raymond has beaten the girl.
Before they leave on the bus, Raymond points out two Arab men near the bus stop; he says that one of them is the brother of the girl he had beaten.
Raymond seems worried they will try to harm him for beating the girl. At the beach, the three have lunch. Then Meursault, Raymond, and Masson go for a walk and meet the Arabs, who apparently have followed them from Algiers. After a brief fight, one of the Arabs pulls a knife and slashes Raymond. The Arabs flee. Raymond is not seriously hurt, and after being treated by a doctor, he insists on returning to the beach.
He wants to go alone, but Meursault follows him.
They encounter the Arabs again, and Raymond searches for an excuse to shoot the man who had stabbed him. Meursault talks him out of shooting and takes the gun. As they discuss how to handle the Arabs, the Arabs vanish.
It is hot and muggy, and, sensitive to the weather, he feels strange and dizzy. He goes down to the beach alone, trying to cool off, and meets one of the Arabs. The two men confront each other once more, and when Meursault advances on him, the Arab pulls a knife.
The sun blazes, blinding Meursault. He fires the gun once, killing the Arab. Then he fires four more times into the body.
Meursault recognizes that his action will have consequences. During the next eleven months he is interviewed repeatedly by the magistrate and by his court-appointed lawyer.
The prosecutor paints a picture of a man incapable of the most basic human feeling, one who is a danger to society. Back in his cell, Meursault thinks about death and about escape. He does not want to see the prison chaplain, but the chaplain visits him anyway and attempts to have him acknowledge his guilt and also the possibility of an afterlife.
Meursault flies into a rage and attacks the chaplain in the only outburst of feeling he displays in the book. His last wish is that a large, hostile crowd attend his execution. Physical sensations of sun and wind and physical activities such as swimming or running mean a great deal to him.
Larger experiences in his life- the death of his mother, a chance for marriage, and a change in job- mean relatively little. We learn almost nothing about his past, though he is a curiously candid person, speaking of experiences in the present that most of us, if we felt them, might keep silent about.
He has a detached attitude toward other people. This annoys most people, but some are attracted to him because of his silence and his habit of not offering judgments. The central event in his life, at least as far as it influences others, is killing an Arab.
His most intense experience, however, is his attack on a chaplain while in prison. Many readers see Meursault as a hero and as a martyr for the truth. He refuses to disguise his feelings and by doing so threatens society. For instance, when Raymond is beating an Arab girl, Meursault refuses to send for the police because he dislikes them.
His feelings take precedence over the immediate danger to the girl. Meursault is a complex- in some ways contradictory- character, and one of the most rewarding challenges of reading The Stranger is trying to figure out his personality. At the trial, he tries to defend Meursault. He is more sympathetic toward Meursault than the warden and sits with Meursault during the all-night vigil by the coffin.
He offers Meursault coffee in what seems a kind act. He generally expresses ordinary sentiments and tries to make Meursault feel guilty for leaving his mother in a home.
She, like Meursault, is devoted to sensual pleasures. But her values are rooted in traditional standards, and she wants what most people are said to want: love, marriage, a conventional life.
Salamano loses the dog during the course of the story and turns to Meursault for advice and comfort. But his code of honor is as important to him as religion is to the chaplain or the magistrate. Conversely, if someone does him a favor- as Meursault does, by writing a letter to his girlfriend- that person will be his pal. He takes part in the first scuffle with the Arabs but essentially has a minor role in the story.
At the trial, he attempts to create a favorable picture of Meursault. The magistrate is an authority figure who believes in God and wants criminals to believe and to repent their crimes. During their first interview, Meursault views the magistrate as an amiable and kindly person.
At a later interview, however, the magistrate becomes perturbed and excited when Meursault refuses to answer his questions about the murder. Meursault is fascinated by the skill with which the prosecutor twists information to create his case. For Meursault, the chaplain is just the last in a long line of people who have tried to foist their ideas on him. His insistence that Meursault express some belief in God leads to an attack by Meursault.
The city is described as bathed in sunlight so intense at times that it makes Meursault feel dizzy; it is surrounded by white-hot beaches and endless expanses of sky and water. The street where Meursault lived was modeled after the Rue de Lyon- the main artery of Belcourt, the Algerian suburb where Camus grew up. Algiers is a city of crowded apartment buildings, where the neighbors and shopkeepers all know one another. The streets are lined with bars and restaurants.
Arabs, Europeans, and pieds-noirs- people of European descent born, as Camus himself was, in Algeria- live side by side, but not without tensions and conflicts. The story should be seen against this background of racial mix and unrest.
More than the city, even, the natural climate of North Africa forms a powerful backdrop to events and shifts of mood- the sun, the heat, the vastness of space and sky have much influence. Most people, Camus is saying, accept the day-today events that make up existence without asking themselves: Why am I doing this?
The only answer, he says, is that nothing we do has any long-lasting meaning. We die, the universe goes on. Nothing fundamental has changed. Later in his life Camus changed his thinking to add that within this framework, our actions can still be important because we can affect the lives of other persons.
We must behave as if life has meaning. Images of sun, water, earth, and sky give pleasure to fleeting moments of our lives. But they can turn dangerous and destructive. The natural forces do not have empathy for us or care.
They are neither good nor evil; they are simply there, and they go on being there long after we are gone. To accept this philosophy is to live in a world without God. Meursault can accept this and lives with the sensations, both pleasurable and painful, of sun and wind, of caresses, of smells and sights.
Yet his incapacity to look beyond the sensation of the moment leads him into a pattern of action that changes his relationship to all these sensations, and in prison he is deprived of all that has made his life enjoyable. Society has developed patterns of behavior for given moments in our lives, whether or not we have the requisite feelings. Meursault could have lied about his feelings at any time and made his ordeal easier.
This attitude leaves him open to the charge that he has no basis to deter him from wrong action; it also leaves him without conventional hope. He loved her the way people love their mothers. He says to Marie that he does not really love her but will marry her if she wants. Love, Camus is saying, and its institutionalized symbol, marriage, have been created by society and have nothing to do with how people really feel.
Some readers argue that Meursault is incapable of loving anyone, while others claim that Camus is attempting to define love as the physical pleasure one experiences with another person. There are several kinds of love in this book. Perhaps that is why Marie is not deeply affected by the news of the death.
That evening, Marie and Meursault go to the movies to see a comedy starring the French actor Fernandel. On Sunday morning, Meursault awakens to find Marie gone. Is it because he prefers the regimented life of the work week to the freedom of the weekend, when he must make his own choices about what to do? After lunch, he wanders restlessly around his apartment. You get the feeling that Meursault is just killing time, waiting for Monday and the routine of going to work. His meeting with Marie at the pool was purely accidental.
Whatever encounters he has with people take place by chance. As you read, ask yourself what makes Meursault different or stand out from other people.
He spends most of the day on the balcony of his apartment. From that vantage point, he observes a family going for their Sunday walk, the local teenagers on their way to the movies, the tobacconist across the street sitting outside his shop.
Most people would probably be bored with this routine, but Meursault seems content just to exist. Sunday or Monday, life or death- it seems to be all the same.
He believed that the weariness that resulted from the acts of a mechanical life- a life that continued, unchanging, from week to week- was the condition necessary to give birth to the feeling of absurdity in an individual. But you are told that the simple physical act of washing his hands during the day gives him pleasure.
Then he returns to his apartment for a nap and later goes back to the office. This is his daily routine. Why do you think Camus spends so little time describing what Meursault does at work? Others feel that the ritual of going to work is more important to Camus than the work itself.
After work Meursault walks home along the harbor, feeling the coolness of the evening air on his face. On the steps of his apartment he meets an elderly man, Salamano, who lives with his dog on the same floor as Meursault. The man and the dog have lived together for eight years. But Salamano regularly beats the dog, and the dog, in turn, irritates his master, by pulling on the leash when they walk down the street.
Before reaching his apartment, Meursault greets another neighbor, Raymond Sintes, who invites him into his room for dinner. Though he tells people he works in a warehouse, he is reputed to be a pimp.
The Stranger () by Albert Camus
Camus named several characters in The Stranger after members of his own family. Some readers think that the similarities in the names seem to indicate that Camus wanted to call attention to the autobiographical elements in the novel and to indicate that much of the book was inspired by his childhood experiences.
But why Salamano beats his dog or Raymond beats his girlfriend is a mystery to him. Does this interpretation contradict his antisocial behavior at the nursing home? Others feel that Meursault is just drifting, as always, from one chance encounter to another.
As you read, ask yourself why Meursault feels and acts the way he does. Do you think of him as an honest person? Or is he just acting selfishly? He has done this, disregarding the possible consequences, especially to the girl. Meursault and his coworker, Emmanuel, have seen two movies, but we are not told the names of the movies. Why do you think Meursault tells you about the roller towel at work, yet neglects to give details about other aspects of his life?
On Saturday, Marie and Meursault go to the beach. Her physical presence stirs him out of his normal lethargy.
He takes pleasure in just being with her, staring at her, enjoying her beauty and sensuality. At the beach they swim together on their backs. The next morning Marie asks Meursault whether he loves her. Or maybe his spontaneity and impulsiveness, and his unwillingness to conform, are what appeal to her most.
A moment of tenderness between Meursault and Marie is shattered by the sounds of a violent quarrel between Raymond and his girlfriend. This is another of the rare instances in which Meursault expresses an opinion. Some readers feel his dislike of the police indicates a dislike of authority in general.
Others think that the reference to the police is a way of foreshadowing events in the second part of the novel. Another tenant in the building arrives with a policeman. Raymond, a cigarette dangling between his lips, finally opens the door.
The policeman orders Raymond to take the cigarette out of his mouth. After a glance at Meursault for approval? Raymond defiantly continues smoking, and the policeman smacks him in the face. In his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, written about the same time as The Stranger, Camus posed the question whether to commit suicide when one is faced with the utter indifference of the universe. To the anti-hero, suicide is not a solution.
Instead, the anti-hero accepts his state of being, concentrating on experiencing the pleasures of the moment. After she goes, Meursault takes a nap. You should note other places in the novel when Meursault sleeps after upsetting scenes or circumstances. Had Meursault, Raymond wants to know, expected him to defend himself against the policeman?
The two men go drinking in a cafe. Raymond proposes that they visit a brothel, but Meursault declines. On their way home they meet Salamano, who is frantically looking for his dog. Raymond tries to reassure Salamano by telling anecdotes about dogs that have returned to their masters, but Salamano is afraid that the police will find and destroy the dog.
Meursault says that Salamano should inquire at the pound where stray dogs are taken: At the idea of paying money in exchange for his dog, Salamano flies into a rage and begins cursing the lost animal. Salamano with his dog, Raymond with his girlfriend. Both men are controlled by their emotions. His self-control impresses people like Raymond and Salamano. Why do you think the visit from Salamano makes Meursault think of his mother?
Does Meursault, at this moment, want to be like everyone else? He assures Meursault that Marie can come along as well. Raymond also says that he thinks some Arabs, including the brother of his girlfriend, are following him. He asks Meursault to be on the lookout for any Arabs hanging around the house. If he were to move to Paris, they argue, he would truly be a stranger, out of place, forced to focus on the minute details of merely surviving.
The irony of this interpretation lies in the fact that Meursault already acts as if he were a foreigner, unaware of the customs of the world in which he presently exists, a world where a display of emotion at the death of your mother is expected of you, and where lack of ambition- turning down a bet- ter job- is frowned upon. When Meursault returns to his desk, he gives us a brief glimpse of his past. For example, when he was 17, he suffered a bout of tuberculosis.
Just as Meursault had to give up his studies, so Camus was forced to abandon his dreams of becoming a teacher. Marie visits Meursault that evening and asks him to marry her.
But his answer does hurt her and makes her wonder whether she really loves Meursault. Yet nothing Meursault says bothers Marie for very long. Sensing that marriage is important to her, Meursault agrees to marry her whenever she wants.
He tells her about the possibility of moving to Paris, and we learn that he once lived there. In a book such as The Stranger, where the language a character uses is important in order to understand motivation, one must take into consideration such changes in the text. As you may have noticed, Meursault observes the people around him with great clarity and with an almost photographic precision, as if each person were a specimen under a lens. Once this woman joins Meursault, she takes no notice of him; but he watches her intently.
The way she moves reminds Meursault of a robot.
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
Readers have interpreted the function of the robot-woman in the novel in a number of ways. Some feel that she epitomizes a machinelike, antihuman aspect of the world- rigid, inflexible, out of touch with the rhythms of the universe. At the door of his house Meursault meets Salamano, who tells him that the dog is definitely lost.
Meursault invites Salamano into his apartment and suggests that he find another dog to replace the lost one. Uncertainty surrounds virtually all the relationships in The Stranger.
A friend offered him a puppy, whom Salamano treated like a baby, feeding it first from a bottle. Before leaving, Salamano informs Meursault that some neighbors had been critical of him for sending his mother to the nursing home.
Salamano assures Meursault that he knew how much the latter was devoted to his mother, but, nevertheless, the criticism surprises Meursault. Going to the home, where she could make friends, was the best thing for her, he feels. His bad mood on waking seems to foreshadow the events to come. Perhaps his mood is a warning that he should stay home. Marie, on the other hand, is excited about the excursion.
Some people think that Marie is being thoughtless when she tells Meursault that he resembles a mourner. Some readers think that by becoming so involved with Marie and Raymond, Meursault is compromising his sense of freedom. Others feel that his headache, on the day of the outing, is a signal that his involvement with other people is becoming too much for him to handle.
Still others claim that his involvement with Marie and Raymond has changed his attitude toward himself. He is no longer free to concern himself solely with his own physical comforts.
Marie and Meursault wait outside for Raymond. The previous evening, Meursault tells us, he went to the police station, where he told the police that Raymond had been justified in beating his girlfriend. Is there a connection between this hypocrisy on his part and his bad mood? One of the men, according to Raymond, is the brother of his girlfriend.
On the bus ride Meursault notices that Raymond is attracted to Marie. Occasionally Marie gives Meursault reassuring looks, as if worried that he might be feeling jealous. The beach is on the outskirts of Algiers. As they walk to the water, Marie innocently swings her bag against the petals of the flowers. Raymond introduces Meursault and Marie to Masson and his wife, who live in a small bungalow near the beach.
Some readers feel that Meursault knows instinctively that his life is about to change. Like Masson, Meursault would like to have a house at the beach where he could go with Marie on weekends. Can you imagine Meursault working overtime to save money to download a house? As usual, Meursault begins to feel better with the combination of warm sunlight and cold, refreshing water. He and Marie take a long swim together. Why do you think time is important here?
Some readers feel that the element of time- of knowing the exact time is one way of creating order in an unstable universe.
After lunch, Meursault, Masson, and Raymond head back to the beach. Many readers feel that in this scene Meursault becomes a victim of the natural elements. His ability to appreciate the pleasures of the physical world- lying in the sun, bathing- backfires. The sun, once a symbol of peace and pleasure, becomes a demonic force from which Meursault, as if hypnotized, is unable to escape.
The three men walk along the shore. Once again, he feels groggy, paralyzed, half-asleep. Meursault notices two Arabs coming toward them from the other end of the beach. Raymond lashes out at the man and calls to Masson for help. Masson attacks the second Arab and knocks him into the water. The Arabs back away, one holding the knife in front of him, then race off down the beach.
Masson and Meursault help Raymond, who appears to be badly wounded, back to the bungalow. Meursault stays behind with Marie and Madame Masson, both of whom are upset by the incident. Instead, he stares Meditatively at the sea. Raymond returns from the doctor in a bad mood and insists on going for a walk by himself on the beach.
Despite his insistence that he wants to go can you think why he might want to? Meursault follows him. The two men walk to the end of the beach and come upon the two Arabs lying on the sand. One of them is playing the same three notes over and over again on a reed flute. The other Arab stares at them without saying anything. Raymond reaches into his pocket as if to pull out a revolver and unexpectedly asks Meursault if he should shoot one of the Arabs.
Then he advises Raymond not to do anything unless the Arab threatens or insults him. Others think that he wants the gun so that he can be more fully involved in the episode.
Still others hold that Meursault subconsciously wants to do something that will alter his life and that possessing the gun is a way of taking control of his destiny.
As the men continue to eye one another, Meursault thinks that it makes no difference whether one fires the gun or not. What do you think he means by this? Then, suddenly, the two Arabs leave, and Meursault and Raymond return to the bungalow. Do you remember the incident between Raymond and the policeman earlier in the novel?
Meursault returns to the beach. He walks now like a shell-shocked veteran returning to the scene of battle. Instead, his conflict is with the red, glaring sun, which presses itself on him from all sides. His temples are throbbing. His goal is to return to the cool stream and the shade of the rock where he and Raymond encountered the Arabs on their last walk. He thought that the incident between Raymond and the Arab was closed. Not once on his walk from the bungalow to the rock did he think of meeting the Arabs.
He takes some more steps toward the stream. Is it possible he is still thinking only of the cool water, rather than of a confrontation with the Arab? As Meursault confronts the Arab, the language he uses to describe the scene becomes more intense than in any previous section of the novel: At that, the Arab takes out his knife.
He seems- as he presses down on the trigger of the gun in his pocket- like a man possessed. It is not even certain, as he fires a shot at the Arab, that he has done so deliberately: Then he fires four more times at the body of the Arab but he does not tell us why he does this. Is it the action of someone temporarily insane? The death of one person, these readers say, is as important as the hundreds of thousands of deaths that occur during a war.
For Camus, all forms of violence are equally meaningless; nothing can justify the killing of another person. Other readers interpret the murder of the Arab as an indication of the violent impulse inherent in all people.
These readers feel that his act is a reflection of the violence brewing beneath the surface; it exposes the naked violence in the most apparently harmless of people. The acts of violence in the book so far- Salamano beating his dog and Raymond beating his girlfriend and fighting her brother- have arisen out of passion.
The recognition of the absurd occurs when the routine that characterizes each life has been destroyed. Yet in the first chapter of Part Two the tone he uses to describe his experiences is similar to the tone in Part One. During his first interviews with the police, Meursault has the feeling that no one is particularly interested in him or his case. The police, and later the magistrate, all ask him the same questions: Meursault answers that he has no lawyer and that it has never occurred to him to get one.
The magistrate explains that, in keeping with the law, the court will appoint a lawyer to defend him.
The magistrate seems intelligent, almost likeable, and Meursault is even tempted to shake his hand on leaving. Is he wise to have answered so bluntly? He makes Meursault promise not to express any negative sentiments about his mother to the magistrate or at the trial. Recall how earlier in the book Meursault agrees to marry Marie to satisfy her and how he writes the letter for Raymond to satisfy him.
Meursault explains to the lawyer that his feelings are influenced by his physical state at any given moment. Meursault refuses to lie and explain his actions at the funeral by saying, as the lawyer suggests, that he had kept his emotions under control. In his eyes, Meursault is being naive. Until his period of imprisonment, Meursault has not felt particularly alienated from society. Only when he is confronted by the religious and judicial branches of society does he feel like an outsider.
In these initial interviews with the lawyer, you see a man who will not compromise his notion of the truth to save his own life. Later that day, Meursault has another interview with the magistrate. You know by now how sensitive he is to light and heat, and how frequently his present physical state determines the things he says and does.
But first Meursault has to answer a few more questions. Did he love her? Why, the magistrate continues, did Meursault fire five consecutive shots into the body of the Arab?
Meursault waits for a moment, then corrects the magistrate. After his first shot he paused. But why, the magistrate asks, did he pause? Meursault returns in his mind to the scene of that hot afternoon on the beach. The magistrate again asks why: Many readers have pointed out how difficult it is for Meursault to respond to a question with more than a few words. Recall how the Arab displayed his knife to Meursault when they were alone on the beach. What does all this talk about religion have to do with the case?
Meursault, without thinking twice, answers no, but the magistrate refuses to accept this. If he ever came to doubt the existence of God, the magistrate tells Meursault, his life would have no meaning. Meursault is anxious for the interview to end and pretends to agree. Do you feel that the magistrate is being sincere? Though Meursault is willing to agree with other people in some instances, he refuses to budge when his religious beliefs are questioned.
Why do you think this issue is so important to him? The interview ends with a final question: Meursault takes his time answering. Over the next 11 months, Meursault, accompanied by his lawyer, has numerous interviews with the magistrate. Sometimes the lawyer and the magistrate ignore Meursault. At other times, they allow him to take part in the conversation. Never once, Meursault tells us, do they express hostility toward him. In his role as an anonymous officer worker, Meursault could limit and control his encounters with the world.
At the end of the previous chapter, we learned that the examinations with the magistrate had gone on for 11 months. When Meursault first enters prison, he never imagines talking to anyone of his experiences there. Gradually, as time passes, this reluctance fades away. He tells us that during the first few days he was hardly conscious on where he was; he had the vague hope that something would happen to alter his circumstances.
The noise of the other prisoners and their visitors in the visiting room makes it hard for Meursault to concentrate on her. As Marie presses up against the rail that separates them, Meursault feels a great desire to reach out and squeeze her shoulders. When the meeting ends, Marie blows him a kiss, while pressing her face to the rails and trying to smile.
The image of sunlight is used here in various ways. Meursault now realizes that he has to change his way of thinking. But eventually he realizes that he must adjust to life in prison and begins to look forward to the daily walks in the courtyard and the visits from his lawyer. His ability to make this adjustment gives him strength.
If he can adjust to prison life, he can get used to anything. Meursault passes the time thinking of all his old lovers. He makes friends with the chief jailer, who tells him that lack of sex is the subject prisoners complain about most.
The main problem, he tells us, is passing the time. His chief occupation is remembering all the objects in his former apartment. As a person who observes life from the outside, rather than participating in it fully, Meursault has an uncanny ability to notice the precise details of objects and people.
This ability serves him well in prison. He spends hours listing and describing from memory the objects in his former bedroom. That leaves approximately six hours to fill by eating and remembering. The one unusual event that occurs during his stay in prison is the discovery of a newspaper clipping beneath the mattress.
The clipping tells the story of a crime that took place in a village in Czechoslovakia. One of the villagers leaves home to seek his fortunes abroad. Twenty-five years later, a rich man, he returns to the village with his wife and child. He decides to surprise his mother and sister, who are now running a small hotel. Neither his mother nor his sister recognizes him. During the night, the two women murder their guest for his money.
Camus used the subject of this clipping as the basis for his play, The Misunderstanding, first produced in By presenting the story to us here, he gives us the circumstances surrounding another murder, and poses the question of why and how such an act takes place. The mother and sister are motivated by greed, and this blinds them much the same way the sun blinds Meursault to the identity of their victim. The days slip by. Though he has found ways to occupy himself in prison, he obviously longs for the pleasures of his former life, for the freedom to act impulsively, and to live in the moment.
His imprisonment, they say, made him realize that life was worth living. Others feel that Meursault had already come to terms with the outside world before the murder, and could be considered a reasonably well-adjusted person.
Life in prison, according to these readers, deprived Meursault of a way of life that was basically healthy, and forced him to rely on his memories to stay sane. As you read, ask yourself whether Meursault has changed for the better or the worse.
In the courtroom he notices the light filtering through the venetian blinds.Meursault accepts the offer, and the two men continue their vigil beside the coffin. When I was introduced, she bowed, without the trace of a smile on her long, gaunt face. Does the girl belong to any lower community for which Meursault wants her to be tortured? His meeting with Marie at the pool was purely accidental. He was swinging his big felt hat at arm's length, trying to make the pace.
I must have looked tired, for Raymond said to me, "You mustn't let things get you down. Meursault, these critics think, would like to witness an execution in an attempt to prove that he could experience this event without becoming ill. By Jonathan Lin. Also, it would have meant losing my Sunday — not to mention the trouble of going to the bus, getting my ticket, and spending two hours on the journey each way.
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