How does Camus build tension in the passage describing Meursault's walk down the beach before he kills the Arab in The Stranger? It only takes a minute to sign up. Cleverly, Camus coaxes us into just such an attempt—he lures us into trying to determine the reason for Meursault’s killing of the Arab, when in fact Meursault has no reason. When he shot the Arab four more times, it was his attempt at feeling misery, or unhappiness. He attends the funeral and shows no remorse during it, but he complains about how hot it is. Does having no exit record from the UK on my passport risk my visa application for re entering? Several early critics have commented on this, for example Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Blanchot and Claude-Edmonde Magny. Meursault is also a robot. As mentioned before, Meursault does not show any signs of grief or mourning after his mother's death. Thanks for contributing an answer to Literature Stack Exchange! After his mother's death, he does not seem to be mourning: he is not interested in having his mother's coffin opened so he can take a last look at her, he smokes during the wake, even falls asleep, and he doesn't weep during the funeral. Yet none of this is apparent in the text. Camus was not a nihilist. Meursault explains his response to his employer who offers to transfer him to Paris. There was a bit of a defensive mood at this point in the story. Freudian interpretations take this further to explain other aspects of the novel. How can a non-US resident best follow US politics in a balanced well reported manner? And this time, without sitting up, the Arab drew his knife and held it out towards me in the sun... All I could feel were the cymbals the sun was clashing against my forehead and, indistinctly, the dazzling spear still leaping up off the knife in front of me. In Albert Camus' book The Stranger, Meursault kills a character known as "the Arab" for no real reason at all. Why and how did the orphan kill his adoptive mother? From this point of view, as I already mentioned in my discussion of the Czechoslovak traveller's story, Meursault is put on trial for refusing to lie and not playing by society's conventional rules. The Stranger is Albert Camus’s first novel, published in 1942. We see an example of this in The Stranger when Meursault kills an Arab. As he kills the Arab Meursault says that it felt like “knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness”. Sights, smells, and motion combine to cause a change in consciousness that he can neither identify nor understand. Meursault even acknowledges that he doesn't have to kill "the Arab". He was alone. He also refuses to adhere to the accepted moral order of society. The magistrate breaks this self-delusion when he escorts him to the door, calls him Mr. Antichrist, and hands him back to his jailers. Whatever happens, it doesn't matter. They decide to return to the bungalow but along the way, Meursault becomes befuddled, overcome by the sun’s red glare, and decides to take a walk on the beach alone. Is it normal to feel like I can't breathe while trying to ride at a challenging pace? The Stranger, by Albert Camus, begins with Meursault receiving a telegram informing him of his mother's death. Meursault describes how his physical sensations affect his mental state. The nurse tells Meursault how the weather affects the human body. They treat him with respect and without malice, which lulls him into believing that they are his friends. Quoted in Bernard Pingaud: L'Étranger d'Albert Camus. The director kindly explains that he understands Meursault’s decision to put his mother into the institution. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. He says, "One can never be sure" on morals, even on physical beating. “The defining events in The Stranger are set in motion by Meursault’s murder of the Arab” (Plant, 10). The day after he What does not work well is looking for motivation at the surface level of the text. Meursault even acknowledges that he doesn't have to kill "the Arab". The presence of the Arab disturbed him. All the norms and laws were dictated by the French government in colonial Algeria. Gallimard, 1992, page 187.). So then, Meursault kills as a response to the sun. What are the earliest inventions to store and release energy (e.g. Meursault then becomes put into trial, but during the whole trial it revolves around his insensibility towards his mother's death. When Salamano says that he must be feeling his mother’s death terribly, he makes no response because has no feelings that he can report. Submit your literature reviews to our Tumblr! as literature The Stranger is naturalism. However, readers learn that while he notices sensual details, he fails to notice human emotions. Meursault answers, "Yes, like everybody", after which he notices that the clerk behind him suddenly interrupts his regular typing as if had mistyped something and needed to delete it. Man is an animal that can only respond to the environment. However, a novel about a character that is prosecuted solely for this reason would be implausible. His reasoning shows a longstanding lack of empathy for and interest in his mother. It doesn't matter. What's the earliest treatment of a post-apocalypse, with historical social structures, and remnant AI tech? When I look into a man's face ... all I see is a monster. Prior to these paragraphs, these Arabs had already engaged in a bit of a fight with Meursault and his friends, with one of them having slashed his friend with a knife. Literature Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scholars and enthusiasts of literature. How far would we have to travel to make all of our familiar constellations unrecognisable? She looked sad. At the beginning of the novel, the indifference Meursault feels is located exclusively within himself, in his own heart and mind. If someone is murdered or not, the world doesn't care. fly wheels)? I spent a bit of time writing this answer, but now I'm hungry and will probably grab some food :). The Stranger. To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader. He knew exactly what he was getting into, but embraced it anyway. How does this nihilism come out in the text itself? He tenses, accidentally pulling the trigger. (See for example, Bernard Pingaud: L'Étranger d'Albert Camus. Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. Half-blinded by the sun, Meursault steps forward, foolishly trying to escape the heat. It follows the life of Meursault, a French Algerian whose apathetic responses to life get him in trouble socially and eventually get him killed. (And that maybe you could talk a bit more about the important parts). Basically all I'm saying is that you put the important parts of this answer behind the unimportant parts. Meursault fires the gun once. more about it. When Meursault, Masson, and Raymond return to the beach to confront the Arabs a second time, Meursault asks for Raymond’s gun. It struck me that all I had to do was to turn, walk away, and think no more about it. By this point, however, Meursault has come to realize how similar the universe—or at least Camus’s conception of it—is to his … He displays impassiveness throughout the book in his reactions to the people and events described… In that case, they can reform their feeling of loss and the process of mourning ends with a kind of acceptance. This is why society needs an excuse to put Meursault on trial, and by letting Meursault unintentionally kill an Arab, the novelist provides exactly that excuse. The story is divided into two parts, presenting Meursault's first-person narrative view before and after the murder, respectively. Meursault is also honest, which means that he does not think of hiding his lack of feeling by shedding false tears over his mother’s death. Can 1 kilogram of radioactive material with half life of 5 years just decay in the next minute? Likening the day to the day of the funeral summons death into the scene right before Meursault shoots. There are two main approaches to finding an explanation to the killing of the Arab. These passages provide a direct narrative for what directly instigated the act. The conversation prompts Meursault to admit to the reader that he seldom visited his mother in the last year as he found it an inconvenient waste of his day off. Did you mean "shows no remorse" rather than "shows remorse"? He is also presented as a character that refuses to lie and play by society's conventional rules. That said, I think there are a lot of positives about this answer. No worries; there's no rush. The entire story is told from a first-person perspective, i.e. There, he fights with the mistress’ brother and is cut by a knife. His lawyer later tells him that this could be used against him during the murder trial and suggest that he might say that his insensitivity at the funeral was not real but the result of an attempt to control his emotions. Meursault 's neighbor who adopts Meursault as a friend by enlisting him to help sort out a conflict with his mistress. [Marie] asked me if I loved her. The parallel between the sun and his mother's funeral is also somewhat significant. Meursault has killed the Arab. The Stranger’s central event occurs when Meursault shoots the Arab. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so. Meursault describes his and Marie’s responses after they witness Raymond beating the Moor woman who has been unfaithful to him. Then [my boss] asked me if I wasn't interested in a change of life. The Stranger Quotes Showing 1-30 of 412 “I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn't.” ― Albert Camus, The Stranger. However, Meursault makes it clear that such criticism doesn’t bother him at all. If you edit this answer enough, maybe you'll get the bounty :-). It is with his gun that Meursault kills the brother. The novel ends with Meursault’s epiphany that quickly follows his burst of anger at the chaplain. There is no God, no meaning, no free will, and (most impressively in this work) no absolute moral judgment. He looked upset and told me that I never gave him a straight answer, that I had no ambition, and that that was disastrous in business. ), Shortly before that he had already thought to himself: "I probably loved mother, but that didn't mean anything. The sky seemed to be splitting from end to end and raining down sheets of flame. The universe has no judgment because there is no God or objective morality. The “absurd” refers to the feeling man experiences when he tries to find or fabricate order in an irrational universe. December 2020–January 2021 topic challenge: literary theory, January–February 2021 topic challenge: Theodor Fontane. In The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays Meursault, the book's narrator and main character, as aloof, detached, and unemotional. This illustrates his refusal to lie. Meursault expresses a tenet of existentialism here: Each individual possesses only the present moment in which to act. looking beyond character analysis); another approach looks beyond over character motivation to find motives that are not apparent at the surface. (In reality, the cause of his mother's death is not known but she was definitely not killed by Meursault, while his father died when he was still a small child.) , walk away, and a breath of dark, dank air wafted p from deep in the Stranger Albert! 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