The Stranger Essay, Research Paper
January 11, 1979-k In the Stranger, Albert Camus portrays Mersault, the books character, asaloof, detached, and unemotional. Hedoes not think much about events or their consequences, nordoes he express much feeling in relationships or during emotional times. He displays animpassiveness throught the book in his reactions to the people and events described in the book.After his mothers’ death he sheds no tears; seems to show no emotions. He displays limited feelingsfor his girlfriend, marie cardona, and shows no remorse at all for killing an Arab. His reactions to lifeand to people distance him from his emotions, positive or negative, and from intimate relationshipswith others, thus he is called thge books’ title, “The Stranger”. While this behavior can be seen as anegative trait, there is a young woman who seems to want to have a relationship with Mersault anda neighbor who wants friendship. He seems content to be indifferent, possibly protected from painby his indifference. Mersault rarely shows any feeling when in situations which would, for mostpeople, elicit strong emotions. throughout the vigil, watching over his mother’s dead body, and ather funeral, henever cries. He is, further, depicted enjoying a cup of coffee with milk during the vigil,and having a smoke with a caretaker at the nursing home in which his mother died. The followingday, after his mother’s funeral, he goes to the beach and meets a former colleague named MarieCardona. They swim, go to a movie, and then spent the night together, Later in their relationship,Marie asks Mersault if he wants to marry her. He responds that it doesn’t matter to him, and if shewants to get married, he would agree. She then asks him if he loves her. To that question heresponds that he probably doesn’t, and explains that marriage really isn’t such a serious thing anddoesn’t require love. This reaction is fairly typical of Mersault as portrayed in the book. He appears
to be casual and indifferent about life events. Nothing seems to be very significant to him. Later onin the book, after ha kills the Arab, not once does he show ant remorse or guilt for what he did. Didhe really feel nothing? Camus seems to indicate that Mersault is almost oblivious and totallyunruffled and untoched by events and people arond him. He is unwilling to lie, during his trial, aboutkilling the Arab. his reluctance to get involved in defending himself results in a verdict of death byguillotine. Had Mersault’s been engaged in his defense, explaining his actions, he might have beenset free. Mersault’s unresponsive behavior, distant from any apparent emotions, is probablyreinforced by the despair which he sees open and feeling individuals experience. He observes, foeexample, Raymond cheated on and hurt by a girlfriend , and sees his other neighbor, Salamono,very depressed when he loses a dear companion, his dog. Mersault’s responses are very differenthe doesn’t get depressed at death nor does he get emotionally involved. Heappears to be totallyapathetic. thus, he seems to fel no pain and is protected from life’s dissapointment. Sometimes aperson like Mersault can be appealing to others beause he is so non-judgemental and uncritical,probably a result of indifference rather than symoathetic feelings.His limited involvment might attractsome people because an end result of his distance is sort of acceptance of others, thus he is not athreat to their egos. Raymond Sintes, a neighbor who is a pimp, seems to feel comfortable withMersault. Sintes does not have to justify himself because Mersault does not comment on how Sintesmakes money or how he chooses to live his life. Even though Mersault shows no strong emotion ordeep affection, Marie, his girlfriend, is still attracted and intersented in him. She is aware of, possiblyeven fascinated by, his indifference.