The Stranger Chapter One Commentry Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 14 September 2016

The Stranger Chapter One Commentry

In chapter one of the stranger Camus have used special techniques and skills to portrait Meursault’s inner character without direct reference. Camus has achieved this using different diction, sentence structure, metaphors, contrasts and other types of literature techniques. Each line is carefully done so that readers can quickly grasp the unique character of “the stranger”. At the beginning of chapter one Meursault immediately reveals himself to be indifferent towards emotion and interaction with others.

Instead of grieving at the news of his mother’s death he shows to be cold, harsh and detached. We can see this immediately from the first line “mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know. ” This shows that Meursault’s primary concern is which exact date did his mother died instead of any emotional feelings. The fact that he shows no emotional response makes him an stranger to the society. Also with his lack of emotion he is difficult to categorize, neither happy nor unhappy about his mother’s death; he is plainly different.

Camus has also used the contrast of Meursault’s feelings towards nature and society to highlight his “strangeness”. Meursault takes particular interest in the nature surrounding him whereas showing little emotion in the funeral. We can see this by the way Meursault is able to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery just before the funeral despite the sad event. Similarly during the funeral procession Meursault feels no grief or sadness instead he finds the heat of the day unbearable.

Through this we can see that though Meursault tends to ignore the emotional, social and personal parts of situations, he shows intense care when it comes to the realm of physical and practical. Showing Meursault’s plain, coarse and practical personality, foreshadowing his honesty when explaining his crime in the court. Meursault’s emotionless thoughts and reactions for the funeral is also shown by the comical descriptions of the characters that Meursault meets. He narrates mainly in the first person and limits his account to his own thoughts and perceptions.

Therefore his description of the other characters is entirely subjective. We can see this in his description of Mr. Perez “a suit with trousers that cork screwed down onto his shoes and a black tie with a know that was too small for the large white collar on his shirt. ” Its is the picture portrait in Meursault’s mind of the character making it slightly comical. This contrasts with the emotional grief experienced by the old man, putting Meursault’s thoughts and actions as a “stranger” to the atmosphere.

Also Camus has used the difference in sentence structure to emphasize Meursault’s lack of emotion. We can see that when describing social or emotional situations Meursault’s sentences or speech are short, precise and offer minimal detail. Whereas when he talks about topics such as the weather or directly related to his physical condition, his narrative expands greatly. For instance he employs metaphor, personification and other literary devices when describing the effects off the heat during the funeral. Meursault’s narration in a way reflects his attitudes toward the world around him.

Showing him to be emotional in the physical realm, rather than the inner emotions expected by the society. This lack of emotion again makes him the “stranger” Camus has used different ways to portrait Meursault in chapter one using sentence structure, contrast, diction and other literary techniques. Though using no direct descriptions we can quickly portrait the personalities of the main character Meursault. He is shown to be emotionless to the surrounding events. Thus making him “The stranger” contrasting with the common emotional expectations of society.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 14 September 2016

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