Indeed, Meursault does not endear himself to the reader as one might expect a protagonist to in a first-person narrative, and instead the reader feels as disengaged from Meursault as he does from the world.
Indeed, Meursault does not endear himself to the reader as one might expect a protagonist to in a first-person narrative, and instead the reader feels as disengaged from Meursault as he does from the world.Where Marie and Raymond fail to see it, the reader recognises the void in Meursault’s life, and identifies him as ‘the stranger’.Tags: An N Story By Roger Jack EssayDissertations On Property LawIdeas For Argument EssayExamples Of Literature Review PapersEnglish Extended Essay IbUniversity Of Toronto Thesis SearchResearch Paper For SaleHero Courage EssaySoap Opera ThesisJoan Didion The White Essay
The Outsider is best read in the context of its companion piece, The Myth of Sisyphus, an essay which was released months after The Outsider’s publication, and which set out, in a less abstract form, Camus’s comprehension of the absurd.
Camus wrote the two works at the same time, as well as his play, Caligula. There are a number of elements that are of interest in The Outsider, but most significant is the issue of the protagonist, Meursault, and how he, and his story, represent the underlying philosophies that are expounded in the novel.
When faced with the realisation of their idealised morality they cannot abide it, and persecute Meursault for the sake of their hypocritical, delusional society as much as for his crimes.
Meursault is “a menace to society” only in so much as he undermines society, and it is for this reason that he must be put to death.
He is a man without a past, without definable motivations; a blank canvas upon whom the reader is forced to project their own self, their own experiences, and identify with intimately, provided they acknowledge their own inherent comradeship with him.
But in a more perverse sense neither Meursault, nor we, have any history until we realise it in the face of our own mortality.
Meursault’s unusual approach to human interaction has led some commentators to suggest he is of low-intelligence or mentally deficient in some manner.
However, one need only look at the comparisons between Camus’s own life and that of his narrator’s to dispel this idea.
Meursault’s behaviour and ethos are entirely in line with the ideals of Kant’s Categorical Imperative, and yet the result is a mechanical, sub-human existence.
As the novel progresses Meursault begins to see the hypocrisy of those moral arbiters of society, who are charged with upholding the ideals of such an ethos, and balks at the hollowness of their rhetoric.