The Outsider And L.A Story Essay, Research Paper
The Outsider and L.A story
The novel The Outsider written by Albert Camus and the feature film L.A Story directed by Mick Jackson both contain similar contentions that both men in each text are seen to be outsiders by society through their actions and behavior. Another term for this can be thought to be existentialism. Different texts often have similar themes, which can be seen through the two texts selected. Evidence that backs up this statement can be seen through quotes in both texts as well as behavioral techniques. In the film the themes can be seen through camera angles, colors, symbols and emotive language as to the novel the contention is displayed through characters, symbolism and imagery.
The opening scene of the novel opens very abruptly, mother died today, or may be yesterday, I don t know. This quote straight away tells us there is something different about this man, his not sensitive or maybe has no feelings. The opening for the film was describing L.A society, people doing things all at the same time (picking up newspaper), people driving carefully to avoid law suits, a lot of scenes referring to water which symbolizes purity and cleansing. Then there is an extreme close up of Harris Telemacher telling us he has had 7 heart attacks, all imagined due to being happy when he was really unhappy. After he tells us a bit about him self we are shown his day to day journey to work, which is extremely abnormal, he evades traffic and takes a route through back yards and star cases just to avoid traffic. These two scenes from the novel and film straight away show us that these men are different to society and are seen by everyone as an outsider.
In the novel The Outsider society was viewed to be very sympathetic. Society would cry when there was a death of a loved one or when something had gone wrong. In society of the novel if a man didn t cry just after the death of his mother it automatically made them different to everyone else. Well that s what happened to the main character, Meursualt, he was made to be an outsider because he didn t show his feelings at his mothers funeral. By Meursault not showing emotions at his mothers funeral it disturbed all of the visitors paying there last respects to his mother which placed him into the category which he is placed in, an Outsider. This linked to the feature film L.A Story because Harris Telemacher, the main character, was also shown to be an outsider to society. This was shown many times throughout the movie but it was first shown in the first two scenes of the film. We are shown that Harris leaving his apartment on his way to work and is going to be late if he goes the normal way, using streets, so he goes through a series of abnormal detours just to get to work. He drives on peoples lawns, through their backyards, through tunnels, big puddles, and even made the car go down stairs just to avoid the traffic, then just before he reaches work there is another reference to water, he drives the car though sprinklers to get it clean, also purifying himself. This erratic driving displayed by Mr. Telemacher, shows he is not like everyone else, he is different.
In both texts there was a turning point for both characters. In the novel Meursault s turning point was when he had killed the Arab and was sentenced, and Harris s turning point was when he talked to the sign point. After both of these events both men s lives had changed significantly. Meursault had realized that he was actually unhappy with his life and if he could change he would. Harris s life changed as well because he had lost his job, girlfriend, and manager all with a couple of days and had gone through a period of self discovery. These events portray the theme because it tells us that something really bad has to happen to them for them to realize that they were really unhappy and depressed.
Symbolism is a very strong technique both Camus and Jackson use to portray the theme. In the novel Meursault was very sensitive to light and it often made him sleepy and made him do things unexpected. For example one of the reasons that he killed the Arab was because the sun was reflecting off the gun and the sweat was blurring his vision in his eye. In the film symbolism was very distinct from the novel. The novel used a signpost to show strong symbolism. The signpost used a cryptic puzzle to show Harris that when he was really happy he could solve it. The signpost also guided him and told that his life would change twice. Once was when he got fired from his job and the other was when Sarah was forced to leave the plane due to rain. This rain cleansed her and made her realize that Harris was the man she loved. Symbolism in the film was quite powerful as it showed that Harris was different to society.
Society in the film was seen to be superficial and fake. Examples of this can be seen when Harris and his girlfriend where having lunch with friends and their where people with plastic faces, face lifts and plastic surgery. While in lunch an earthquake hit where they were eating which showed again superficiality. During lunch was when Harris met Sarah for the first time, when she entered the restaurant she was in the background of flowers and birds with nice music playing which showed us she was real and nice.
During the lunch scene Harris can be seen talking to Sarah a lot as she is also seen to be an outsider through her appearance and language. The reason for this is because he feels at peace talking to her. A quote that Sarah says to back up her being different to everyone else is:
There s nothing like some sleep and a good fuck wouldn t cure.
In the novel a quote that Meursault says that disturbs people because of his frankness is:
All normal people had more or less desired death of those they loved, at some time or another.
These quotes were used to show us that they don t care about their frankness, which supports the contention.
From all of these examples from the author, Albert Camus and the director, Mike Jackson we can see that similar texts do and can have the same themes and contentions. From the techniques both author and director have portrayed the themes quite well.