Camus the Outsider Analysis

Document Type:Coursework

Subject Area:Literature

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Hence, anyone with a different outlook is judged by the community. They are seen as unfit and withdrawn. However, is it possible for one to understand both extremes from the reading? Both of the victim and the society? How was your Understanding of your cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral? The study of historical and contextual background helped me gain an overall better view of Camus’. The Interactive Orals focused on the contextual and social aspects of mid-12th century Algeria and the philosophical aspects of Meursault’s nature. These studies have helped me to understand Meursault’s idea of life better and understand the impact his anti-conformism had on the Algerian society at the time.

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The determination of the French to crush rising Nationalism in Algeria was reflected in Meursault’s trial as an effort to repress the anti-conformism towards French values at the time. Furthermore, the IO was an overall helpful tool to comprehend Meursault’s behaviors. The historical background also gave me hindsight useful in the reasons underlying the fierceness of the prosecutor and jury to condemn anti-conformist behaviors. To what extent does a reader sympathize with Mersault’s lack of conformity throughout ‘The Outsider’? Conformity definitions range from the socially neutral ‘correspondence in form or manner’ to the socially embedded: ‘action under some standard, e. g. During the funeral, Meursault appears to have the same lack of emotion. He merely focuses on physical aspects, such as ‘I was hot.

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’ The short sentence and flat style are seen throughout the events of the first part of the novel appear to reflect Meursault’s carelessness and lack of emotion in response to his mother’s death. On the other hand, there are several moments in the novel when the style becomes much more lyrical than elsewhere. These are most obvious when Meursault is describing the weather, and jarring because these descriptions come at what should be moments of high emotion in response to tragic events such as the death of his mother. Rather than pitying the dead person, his only focus seems to be trivial during intensely emotional moments like the funeral of his mother or the murder of the Arab. Meursault’s focus on the weather and the lack of consideration for the murder he shows are initially seen as nonconformist attitudes by the reader.

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He is perceived as apathetic and defied by the reader. However, while at first our sympathy for Meursault’s nonconformity is limited because of his apparent lack of emotion, our view changes in the second half of the novel once he is imprisoned and put on trial. Also, the reader initially shares the prosecutor’s perspective on Meursault swimming with Marie the day after his mother’s funeral as frivolous and a sign of his corrupt nature. While the reader initially condemns Meursault for his apathy, by the end of the novel, he starts to perceive his physicality as evidence of his nature rather than of evilness or guilt. Therefore, agreeing with the narrator’s appreciation of how ‘natural qualities of an ordinary man could be turned into overwhelming evidence of his guilt.

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’11 The author here tries to confirm the hollowness and judgemental nature of the society. Consequently, the shift in the reader’s attitude towards Meursault evolves to an even greater extent during the trial. His peculiar human nature ultimately seems to the reader more natural than the highly socially conformist behavior of the priest, prosecutor, and jury, by whom Meursault is condemned. In conclusion, by the end of the novel, we have come to understand Meursault as a simple, sensuous, honest man. However, his nature is misinterpreted by the conformists around him, requiring us to refigure our ideas about the protagonist. In his Afterword to the novel, published thirteen years later, Camus writes that ‘In our society, any man who does not cry at his mother’s funeral is liable to be condemned to death.

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