Meursault in “The Stranger” by Albert Camus Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 June 2016

Meursault in “The Stranger” by Albert Camus

Life is wonderful, but also hard. We struggle to find the meaning in our lives, but we can not accomplish it. There are many kinds of thoughts or philosophies of life; some think that life is already determined by God or destiny when they were born, while others think that they decide what they do by themselves. In “the stranger”, Albert Camus creates Meursault as a protagonist, who does not think about anything deeply. Because of that, he can not really enjoy his life. However, finally, he thinks about his life when he faces death; he truly realized how to face to the absurd world, and thus becomes Camus’ perfect existential hero.

Meursault is indifferent, and he thinks he perfectly enjoys each moment; however, the reality is he just wastes time and does not even know that. Meursault thinks that emotion is ridiculous because people are controlled by it, and regret or feeling sorry is a waste of time. Thus, even when he faces his mother’s death, he does not feel anything. He does not have interest in his mother’s death, so he does not even know when his mother died. “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know”(3). Usually, one’s mother’s death significant and people think about their lives through her death.

Even though it is not his, and he knows that he can not find it, he should think about what his life means from the relationship between death and life. However, it is possible that he does not care about it too much because he can not do anything in her death, but he does not care about his marriage, too. He has a girlfriend, named Marie, and when she asked him to get married with her, he was still indifferent, “Then she pointed out that marriage was a serious thing. I said ‘No'”(42). He dos not know what is important in life. It is not because he has different sense of values but because he does not care about anything seriously. He has not had a big problem in his way, but his way to live is now problem.

When he takes Arab’s life away, he does not really realize what he did. Even when he was in the police station, he does not understand what he did, thus, ” c I was even going to shake his hand, but I remembered that I had killed a man”(64). He treats everything as a fact, so he does not really have an emotion. He thinks it is the way to enjoy his life, but it makes his life more meaningless. He does not think deeply. Also, he thinks death is death, so there is no future after death. Then, he shot the Arab four times more, but he does not know what it means, “Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace.

And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness”(59). He does not feel good about shooting four more times, but it is not worth death at all. Taking human life is same as knocking the door of unhappiness for him; his way to live, which is without emotion makes his life horrible later, but at this time, he does not understand anything. Life without emotion is easy because an emotion does not make sense, so he can make sense with everything in his life. However, it also makes his life colorless.

Because he is different from others, the society beats him; the world does not help him, so he now has to create meaning in his life by himself. When he is on trial, he testifies honestly because he always follows his heart and does what he wants; however, it does not fit the society, then people judge him from their subjective justice. @ @When he honestly testifies about why he killed Arab, people did not listen seriously, ” cI blurted out that it was because of the sun. People laughed”(103). People do not understand him, and then they do not treat him as usual. They beat the stranger; there is nobody to help him. Moreover, they think they are right, so people rid from the society and make him look worse. The prosecutor does not want Meursault to live in the society, which the prosecutor lives and to have the same human heart. “He stated that I had no place in a society whose most fundamental rules I ignored and that I could not appeal to the same human heart whose elementary response I knew nothing of”(102).

He denies Meursault’s human right. He should be in trouble, but in the trial, there are only people who think they are normal and right, so they are the same as him. Thus, they do not notice that the prosecutor is wrong. Their personality is horrible because there is no exception. Meursault thinks about this judgment and the “machinery of justice”(108). It is exactly correct. They follow their own common sense, and treat him as a stranger. The consequence is a death penalty. However, ironically, this situation, which makes him face death and being aware that nobody helps him, makes him think about his life and notice that he has to find it by himself.

Right before his death, he realized the meaning in life. People do not know why they are living, but they laugh at him because they think he is stupid and better than him; however, ironically, he understands his life. When he accepts the absurd world, he can create meaning of his life; there is no future, so he has to think about every single moment carefully and enjoy it. Ironically, he does not have time any more. However, he thinks, “I had been happy and that I was happy again”(123). Actually, he enjoys his life because he did not know that he has lived indifferently. His life is hard for ordinary people to understand, but for him, it totally makes sense. Moreover, he understands everything now, so he feels happiness again. Also, he feels a sense of superiority because he knows that people who look down on him do not know.

There are many thought about world, and he wants to see the absurd world, and show them his way to live, “I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate”(123). He notices that nobody seriously cares about him, but still they come to his execution. Playing the game is ridiculous for him, but people can not live without it. Nobody really has a grudge against him, but they follow the others. Being apart from society is scary and alone, so usually people can not do that. He also feels that, so he wanted to die in the crowd. Also, he is proud of his life, so he wanted to show how he lived. Now, he really enjoys his life.

The life is meaningless; he realizes it when he faces death. If people know that, they give up everything; however, for Meursault, everything makes sense. There is no clue in the world, so what he can do is creating the meaning by himself. Life is hard because nobody helps him, but he decides everything and what he does has meaning. He can enjoy his life fully, so his life is wonderful. He has to enjoy his life while he is living because there is nothing after death. There is no meaning in the world, so he creates it. Everything is to be happy.

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  • University/College: University of California

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  • Date: 20 June 2016

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