Free Essay

“Camus Has Created Meursault as an Outsider.” Discuss.

In: English and Literature

Submitted By grainnegrainne
Words 567
Pages 3
“The Outsider” is essentially an illustration of Camus’ absurdist world view. The novel tells the story of an emotionally detached, amoral young man named Meursault. In Camus’ opinion there is no ultimate, sense-giving meaning in the world, man must think and act independently. He personifies this view in making Meursault a complete outsider to society.

Meursault is shown to be far more interested in the physical aspects of the world around him than in its social or emotional aspects. His attention is focused on his on body, on his physical relationship with Marie, on the weather, and on other physical details of his surroundings. The heat during the funeral procession causes Meursault far more pain that the thought of burying his mother, “with the whole landscape flooded in sunshine and shimmering in the heat, it was inhospitable and depressing.” Enivitably we judge him as heartless and unfeeling, but following Camus’ philosophy, death was a certainty for his mother so Meursault has no reason to grieve. To him the funeral was an everyday event like any other. Similarly, the heat of the sun on the beach torments Meursault, and during his trial he says the sun caused him to kill the Arab.
The style of Meursault’s narration also shows his interest in the physical. He gives terse, plain descriptions without mentioning his emotional feelings and his descriptions become more vivid and ornate when he discusses topics such as nature and weather.

Meursault, in the opening line of the novel, immediately reveals himself to be indifferent toward emotion and interaction with others, “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.” Rather than grieving at the news of his mother’s death, he is cold, detached and indifferent. His primary concern if figuring out which day his mother died. To the reader he automatically appears heartless for failing to express grief or even to care about his mother’s death. But according to Camus’ philosophy, the universe is indifferent to human struggles, and Meursault’s indifference embodies this philosophy.

Throughout the novel, Meursault does not lie. Although he is an honest person, his tendency to tell the absolute truth often makes him an outsider in society. Marie asks Meursault to marry her and he replies that he does not particularly care whether or not they marry. “I explained to her that it didn’t really matter and that if we wanted to we could get married.” He doesn’t seem to be aware that this might hurt Marie’s feelings.

In a dominantly Christian society, Meursault is made an outsider because he doesn’t believe in God. Camus did not believe in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as it clashes with the absurdity and meaningless of life. Similarly Meursault does not place meaning on life. On the surface, Meursault appears to be an ordinary, lower middle-class French colonial in Algeria. But he is completed detached from society and the world around him. However, in making Meursault an outsider, Camus is demonstrating his absurdist philosophy - should we all be more like Meursault? His theory states that life has no meaning, but we as a society through religion and morals place unnecessary meaning onto it. In discussion of his novel, Camus wrote “In our society, any man who doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral is liable to be condemned to death”…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

The Hero in Camus’s the Stranger (the Outsider) examination, can be seen in a different, more sympathetic light. The character Meursault, in Albert Camus’s The Stranger, is notable for this description. While his murderous crime and indifference to emotions make him seem to be cretinous, his dramatic transformation at the end of the story make us feel for him. When he finally grasps the theme of the book, embracing the “gentle indifference” of the universe, he also grabs our hearts, in becoming an “absurd” hero. To begin, the outside observer of Meursault would find him a distressingly hardened criminal. Most notable, of course, is his cold-blooded murder of the Arab. When he declares that it was “because of the sun,” he is labeled “a monster,” by the prosecutor, and our minds. His other so-called crime is being found guilty of indifference. All throughout the book, Meursault refuses to open any part of his self to the emotional world. “Maman died today. Or maybe yesterday,” symbolizes his lack of regard for the people in his life. Later, when he sheds no tears at the funeral and answers nonchalantly to Marie’s talk of marraige, we come to realize that he is without the vital passion that fuels human existence. So, it would appear that the cards are stacked against Meursault in his initial description to the audience. Yet, Camus manages to add subtle details to the story, which give us a reverse impression. For one thing, Meursault is surrounded by a cast of strangely eccentric characters. When contrasted to......

Words: 769 - Pages: 4

Free Essay


...Camus, the writer, made this extract effective by using different types of imagery and adding varied elements. He showed in this extract how Meursault reflect himself through nature, and the impact it has on him, the way he thinks The extract starts by injured Raymond coming back, and shows the stubbornness of Meursault,” Masson and I said we’d go with him … But I followed him all the same”. These two lines show that Meursault don’t care what others want, and that he will not consider it and will do what he wishes to do instead. This makes the extract effective because it shows the difference of what he feels before the incident and after. ” The sun was crashing down … into little pieces “, imagery used to show how harsh nature can be. That’s effective because we hardly picture nature as being harsh, and walking on the beach was always something beautiful pictured in a good way. Meursault describes nature or the beach in a difficult way to imagine, and that shows how he’s strongly affected by the surrounding nature. Nature has a great impact on Meursault and that what makes it more effective by showing how he’s influenced by nature, and that’s why it used a lot. He links between what’s happening and nature surrounding, “when Raymond handed me his gun, the sun glinted off it. “, this line is written as if nature is watching them, and when the gun was handed to Meursault the sun glinted off as if it rested and stopped watching, and if we described it that way it’s a......

Words: 1486 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

'the Environment Suffers Because Business Has No Ethics'. Discuss

...‘The environment suffers because business has no ethics’ discuss Business Ethics can be defined as the critical and structured examination of how people & institutions should behave in the commerce world. Furthermore, it particularises the involvement of examining appropriate limitations upon the pursuit of complete self-interest; however, this may also apply for firm profits when the actions of each individual or firm affects others in some form. If the business really has no ethics, it can be concluded that the environment will suffer since the intention of business growth is far greater than environmental responsibility. Straight on, business has a predicament either to maximise profits for shareholders or to have a moral responsibility to society as a whole. Firms with low-polluting production methods and responsible waste disposable will reduce the chance of breaking laws designed by governments to protect the environment. One great example is the Body Shop where their aim is reducing the impact on the environment by reducing the energy they consume and generating less waste. Taking fully moral responsibility for the way they run their business. Then, potential employees would rather work for a firm such as the Body Shop, and that they can take pride in and which adopts policies which reflect their own personal views and standards. This increases the quality and standard of employees wishing to apply to that business and therefore provides an incentive to work on....

Words: 1113 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

The President Only Has the Power to Persuade. Discuss

...The president only has the power to persuade. Discuss (30 marks) Although the president of the United Sates may been seen globally as one of the most powerful men in the world, it is argued that this is only a perception and in fact his power is restricted to persuasion of others who call the final shots. Due to the separation of powers in America the legislature, executive and judiciary are all completely separate which means to get items pasts of decisions made, people from each of these 3 main sections needs to do work. As the president is only head of the executive, he must rely on the support of other people to get hi desired bills and legislation passed. From this comes the argument that his only real main power is to persuade, as it is the 3 departments combined which actually do the work and all he has done is persuade people in these departments to side with him. The president actually has many specific powers he has responsibility for, ranging from the proposition of legislations, submitting the annual bill and veto of legislation, to acting as chief executive, negotiating treaties and acting as the overall commander-in-chief. These powers burden the president with great responsibility; he is looked to for advice and guidance from all areas of government. The president is the chief executive of the United States, putting him at the head of the executive branch of the government, whose responsibility is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” To......

Words: 1307 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

“Camus Has Created Meursault as an Outsider.” Discuss.

...Scott Charles This chapter is a free excerpt from Quicklet on Albert Camus' The Stranger. * * There are five main themes in The Stranger: 1. Alienation.  Camus establishes Meursault as an outsider early on in the narrative. The first few pages of the book show Meursault at his mother’s funeral. Meursault watches people and events with no particular connection -- he is distant, feels out of place, feels nervous as he thinks people are staring at him.  He does not exhibit any particular sadness at his mother’s death.  As the story develops we notice how he comprehends facts but not feelings.  He spends more time fixated on trivial physical characteristics than he does on emotional content. He is polite, and passive, but lacks empathy.  He is like this throughout the narrative; his character doesn’t really evolve.   2. Time and circumstance.  Camus uses some subtle literary tricks to get the reader to imagine that random events strung together are fateful.  Meursault’s mother dies, he sees a movie with his girlfriend, he’s walking up a flight of stairs and a neighbor invites him to dinner, a man’s dog goes missing.  In between unrelated events like these Camus weaves a simple story about a man who makes the fatal mistake of getting involved with a small-time gangster and ends up murdering someone almost by accident. Camus’ narrative brings the random events full circle as Meursault is convicted for being cold-hearted.  In other words, the story reads......

Words: 510 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Initial Tone of Camus' the Stranger

...TONE AND OPENNING BY CAMUS The opening to Camus’ The Stranger, has, ever since the novel’s publication, been a recurring aspect and reference in existential literature. The novel opens to the death of the protagonist, Meursault’s, mother. Her death plays a major role which recurs through the plot, but in the essence of the opening to The Stranger, it already introduces readers to the indifference of the protagonist and the initial tone at which the story is told. From the first paragraph, Camus lets the reader already establish an initial tone; through which he establishes thru many ways. Primarily in the texts structural level, Camus established the tone with the use of short, declarative sentences with no emotion. The narration is done in a matter of fact way creating the detached tone which resonates throughout the whole chapter. The detached tone allows no medium for which emotion is to pass. No matter the event the text maintains this structure of declarative, short clauses bearing no emotion- thus adhering to the tone of detachment. Secondly, Camus also uses digression as a method of establishing the detached tone. Digression serves as a method for Meursault to go to his own world: one he could call his own, with his own norms and beliefs. The motif which recurs as a medium for Meursault’s digression is the weather. This is witnessed initially in the bus trip as he dozes off from glaring at the sky (Pg4). This occurs just pages after when Meursault wakes up to the......

Words: 674 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Albert Camus Biography

...Albert Camus Biography Albert Camus was born November 7, 1913, and reared in Algeria, a country exposed to the blistering African sun and the plain by the Mediterranean sea. These roots — the sun and the sea — have spread into all of Camus' writings — the novels, the plays, and the essays. They are a part of his lyricism, his symbolism, and his values. The universe, it seems from his early notebook (Noces), was mother, father, and lover for the young Camus, and from the first, Camus was aware of the paradoxical aspects of his natural world. The sensual free pleasure of swimming and hiking was in continuous contrast to the bare stony earth that made living a matter of poverty and destitution. He was early aware of the absurd condition of humanity's being totally alone in a resplendent universe. This concept is Camus' equivalent of "In the beginning . . ." With this truth, all of his writings sound revolt, for he refused to be deceived by social, religious, or individual submissions that ignored or defied the irreducible truth that humanity alone is responsible for itself, its meaning, and its measure. Camus' writings are a testament to a continuing belief in humanity's exiled but noble condition. Lucien Camus, Albert's father, was killed in 1914, during World War I's Battle of the Marne, and the year-old child was reared by his deaf mother. She had little money and was apparently a rather joyless and boring companion for her son. It is little wonder that he spent much of his...

Words: 1340 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Albert Camus-the Outsider 1942, Albert Camus’ The Outsider addresses the constrictive nature of society and what happens when an individual tries to break free from the conformity forced upon him by staying true to himself, and following his own ideal of absolute truth and sincerity in every action. Propelled more by the philosophy of existentialism and the notion of the absurd than plot and characters, Camus’ novel raises many questions about life, and answers them in a final chilling climax. The plot of The Outsider revolves around a central act of unmeditated violence on a beach, proving that “the darkest moments can happen in the brightest sunlight”. Meursault, Camus’ protagonist, leads a simple life working as an office clerk in Algiers. He lives as a bachelor, who, as we learn from the first paragraph, has just lost his mother and is preparing to leave for the seaside town of Morengo where she lived in an old-people’s home. The rest of the first section of the novel reads as a diary of Meursault’s life until he murders an Arab whilst away for the weekend with some friends. Part Two deals with the time after Meursault’s arrest for the crime, including his court case in which he is condemned more for not grieving at his mother’s funeral than the actual count of homicide brought against him. It has been said that the plot takes a secondary role in The Outsider to Camus’ expression of his views on existentialism and the absurd. In the character of Meursault, Camus tells the story of a...

Words: 1184 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Outsider by Albert Camus Analysis of Themes

...The Irrationality of the Universe Though The Stranger is a work of fiction, it contains a strong resonance of Camus’s philosophical notion of absurdity. In his essays, Camus asserts that individual lives and human existence in general have no rational meaning or order. However, because people have difficulty accepting this notion, they constantly attempt to identify or create rational structure and meaning in their lives. The term “absurdity” describes humanity’s futile attempt to find rational order where none exists. Though Camus does not explicitly refer to the notion of absurdity in The Stranger, the tenets of absurdity operate within the novel. Neither the external world in which Meursault lives nor the internal world of his thoughts and attitudes possesses any rational order. Meursault has no discernable reason for his actions, such as his decision to marry Marie and his decision to kill the Arab. Society nonetheless attempts to fabricate or impose rational explanations for Meursault’s irrational actions. The idea that things sometimes happen for no reason, and that events sometimes have no meaning is disruptive and threatening to society. The trial sequence in Part Two of the novel represents society’s attempt to manufacture rational order. The prosecutor and Meursault’s lawyer both offer explanations for Meursault’s crime that are based on logic, reason, and the concept of cause and effect. Yet these explanations have no basis in fact and serve only as attempts......

Words: 679 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Technology Has Made Relationships Complicated. Discuss.

...Technology has made relationships complicated. Discuss. Due to its rapid development, technology nowadays affects every aspect of our lives, and has inevitably become a part of our daily routine, helping us perform numerous tasks without breaking a sweat, but can massive use of technology show its downsides when it comes to things such as maintaining relationships with other people? Even though people list reasons why technology has made relationships more complicated, there are a lot more more reasons in favour of the claim that couples can actually benefit from using technology. On one hand, technology may have certain drawbacks regarding relationships. For example, the fact that you can phone or chat to your partner whenever you want means that you'll spend less and less time actually being with each other in person. Furthermore, a lot of people use various social networks which can cause excessive jealousy, and can also lead to one person meeting a new potential partner, since it's not a long way from sending “hi” on chat to changing your relationship status. On the other hand, technology and relationships go very well together, and for a number of reasons. First of all, social networks don't necessarily have to mean a negative thing, but can provide a helping hand when we wish to find out a bit more about somebody. Also, being able to reach someone at all times is always a plus, and it's essential to be able to do so if your partner lives in another town or......

Words: 287 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Outsider

...The Outsider – Albert Camus Albert Camus presents ideas of identity and the human condition in his classic novel The Outsider, through his exploration of gender and cultural representations as well as an insight into absurdum and existentialism. These concepts of identity and the human condition reflect on the society in which the novella has been set, demonstrating how women, those of other cultures and those who are considered to be different are represented. The novella tells a recollection of events of a young man named Meursault, emotionally detached from a society where he refuses to conform to society’s conventions and in turn a refusal to ‘play the game’. The novella begins with the death of Meursault’s mother and ends with his own, his execution for the guiltless murder of an Arab man. Meursault’s refusal to play the game and willingness to live by his own set of rules is what has him condemned in the end. In the patriarchal society known to the characters of The Outsider by Albert Camus, gender ideologies are explored. In the novella, men are represented as the dominant, powerful gender while women are represented as weak and undermined. It is through the character of Meursault’s girlfriend Marie, that the idea of gender identity is revealed. When Meursault is arrested for the murder of the Arab man, Marie is called to court as a witness to the crime, as well as been questioned for her own character. At the court case, instead of Marie being asked for her......

Words: 1472 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

The Outsider Essay : Influence of Society

...Throughout Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger (Outsider) the author attempts to demonstrate his philosophy of the world with the protagonist, Meursault. The society described in the novel, much like our own, has varies overwhelming influences from the media and the society towards the general public. This statement may seem paradoxical, but it is one of the vital factors in the protagonist, Meursault’s, development and realization of Camus’s philosophy, existentialism. Furthermore, it is this influence from others that separates Meursault from others and truly defines him as an outsider to society. The novel begins with an interesting event where the antagonist, Meursault’s mother dies. Then as the story goes on Meursalt continues on a romantic appointment with a women the very next day. From these events the readers find them under the impression that Meursault is someone that shows very little emotion and is very detached from the world around him. Later we find out that this is not entirely true. Although it is not stressed often, it is revealed in varies situations that Meursault does have emotions and show them very honestly. The author in some cases even purposely avoids mentioning Meursault’s emotion upon situations as in the first sentence of the book “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.” (P1)This gives a very strong impression that he cares little for his mother. However, later in as in the book “I wanted to see mother right away.” This quote explains...

Words: 959 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Concept of the Outsider in Literature

...The Concept of the Outsider Literature often persecutes the most vulnerable, a person who lacks support and therefore power within society. Described by Terry Eagleton for The Guardian as the “literary mainstream”; these characters are often referred to as the Outsider due to their exclusion from the community in which the text is set. The characters who are referred to as Outsiders can be portrayed in different ways; their initial exclusion from society can ultimately lead to a narrative of their acquisition of power throughout the text but similarly, can portray a story of their maintenance of the minimal power they have over the course of the text’s plot. However, this is not to argue that some Outsiders presented within literature do not have power over the course of the development of the text so, as a consequence, remain excluded from the society. In this case, the text would then be considered an exposition of the character’s experience from their position in society rather than the author’s attempt of trying to integrate their character into society through their work. Furthermore, the author themselves may be considered an Outsider through their own status in society; they command their readers to be Outsiders themselves within the novel. As well as to read and observe the narrative in order to emulate the same feeling within themselves, within the reader or to have a specific impact on the issues surrounding humanity at the time. The contrast in the ways in which...

Words: 7231 - Pages: 29

Premium Essay

'the Environment Suffers Because Business Has No Ethics.' Discuss

...contexts. Corporate governance is constantly changing and evolving and changes are driven by both internal and external environmental dynamics. An effective and good corporate governance cannot be explained by one theory but it is best to combine a variation of theories, addressing not only the social relationships but also emphasize on the rules and legislation and stricter enforcement surrounding good governance practice and going beyond the norms of a mechanical approach towards corporate governance. Corporate governance theories emphasizes on empathy, healthy social relationship, loving care for each other and the avoidance of harm. In an organization, to care for one another is a social concern and not merely a profit centred motive. Ethics has also to be seen in the light of the environment in which it is exercised. This is important as an organization is a network of actions, hence influencing trans communal levels and interactions (Casey, 2006). Resource Dependency Theory is one the corporate governance theories that would be discussed below. Resource Dependency theory was originated in the 1970s with the publication of The External Control of Organisations: A Resource Dependence Perspective by Pfeffer and Gerald R. Salancik. Resource Dependency Theory (RDT) can be defined as an explanation of how the external resources of an organization affect the behaviour of said organization. RDT argues that in order to survive, an organization must acquire resources (Pfeffer......

Words: 824 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Albert Camus - Outsider

...What does Mersault mean by the following: “Mother used to say that you’re never altogether unhappy. And lying there in my prison when the sky turned red and a new day slid into my cell, I’d agree with her. Because I could have just as easily heard footsteps and my heart could have burst.” (The Outsider, p.109). Discuss. In Albert Camus’ The Outsider, the cental protagonist Mersault is able to form a relationship with the reader, pushing them to question their own place in society and look at their lives from a very existential point of view, without seeming to make a direct connection to them. Mersault is very much an outsider (hence the title), unable to accept pre-determined so called socially norms and refuses to conform to anybody else’s standards of right and wrong, or good and bad, than his own. Richard H. Akeroyd remarks that, ‘Mersault may be lazy, indifferent, amoral in his outlook but he is completely honest’ (Akeroyd p33). The above statement (essay question) is a clear demonstration of Mersault’s vague but certain voice carries readers through the novel. Although at the time of this contemplation Mersault faces what many men would consider the lowest possible point of their life, Mersault remains almost subjective in his thoughts and feelings of his own life and where it is headed. Lazere adds, ‘Nor can he understand why anyone should want to judge him’, (Lazere p.33). One of the concepts that seem to have......

Words: 1402 - Pages: 6