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The Stranger Meursault : Psyhologically detached from the world Honest (doesn't mask true feelings-he doesn't shed any tears because he doesn't feel sadness) Challenges society's moral standards because he doesn't cry. neither moral nor immoral-he is amoral (no feelings either way)

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Presentation Transcript
slide2

The Stranger

  • Meursault:
  • Psyhologically detached from the world
  • Honest (doesn't mask true feelings-he doesn't shed any tears because he doesn't feel sadness)
  • Challenges society's moral standards because he doesn't cry.
  • neither moral nor immoral-he is amoral (no feelings either way)
  • In part 1 he is all physical (sun, heat, food, sex)
  • After meeting with chaplain he sees the universe as having no concern with man and is indifferent, so he is indifferent
  • "the gentle indifference of the world"
  • Finally finds peace with his own death even though society sees him as an "outsider" or even a monster for not having any feelings one way or the other.
slide3

Meursault may "officially" be on trial

for killing a man,

but he’s actually on trial

for his character, and it is for this character that he is convicted.

slide4

Raymond

  • immoral character (beats girlfriend, cruel)
  • almost kills Arab himself
  • invites action, where Mearsault is passive
  • Causes Meaursault's downfall in that he is the catalyst to all the events (asks M. to write a letter to his girlfriend, causes the shooting of Arab)
slide5

Salamano

We know Salamano as a crabby old man

who lived with his old, disease-infested dog in Meursault’s apartment complex.

Salamano curses, yanks, and spits at his dog constantly.

In fact, he never shows his true feelings for the dog

until it disappears from his life.

He raises the important notion that man can "get used to anything,"

a notion later reinforced once Meursault adjusts to prison life.

(This is a small but important part of the absurdist philosophy.)

Meursault establishes that to wish for any one life over another is pointless;

if any life – even a life with an old dog or one behind bars – is good enough

to make a person content,

then indeed there is no purpose to striving for anything more.

slide6

Themes/Meanings

  • Individual lives have no significance
  • People try to create meaning but there is none.
  • No order or reason for anything (M's decision to marry or not marry Marie, to shoot or not to shoot the Arab)
  • Trial represents society's attempt at making order to society.
  • Lawyer tries to "reason" out why M shot the Arab or did not cry at his mother's funeral.
  • The whole trial is absurd which echoes Camus' idea that there is no order or meaning to the universe.(Accusing M of no-emotion is not a death sentence-the point of the trial is abusurd like meaning in life is absurd.
  • Only certainty in life is death
  • Paradox (M realizes this only at his death and finds peace)
slide7

Patterns/Examples

Decay, death -Salamono (neighbor) loves the scab covered dog; mother dies, M shows no emotion when society thinks he should.

Meursault is peaceful about death, where the chaplain is distraught that M won't belive in an afterlife

The courtroom symbolizes society's moral and beliefs. Magistrate, lawyer, even the priest represent this view (M should be sad, sorrowful or regretful at his actions)

All minor characters show back up in the courtroom.

slide8

Symbolism: The Courtroom

  • The courtroom symbolizes society's moral and beliefs.
  • Magistrate, lawyer, even the priest represent this view
  • (M should be sad, sorrowful or regretful at his actions)
  • The jury sits in judgment on behalf of the society
  • The court tries to construct logical explanation for his crime
  • THIS SYMBOLIZES HUMANITIES ABSURD/VAIN ATTEMPTS TO MAKE MEANING OUT OF THE UNIVERSE.
  • CAMUS WOULD ARGUE THAT THERE IS NO MEANING.
slide9

The Crucifix

  • Symbolizes Christianity (God is in control)
  • This is opposition to Camus' s world view (that attempts to make meaning are absurd-there is no truth)
  • Symbolizes belief in rational structures
  • The chaplain insists he accept Christianity and waves the crucifix in front of Meursault he wants him to embrace the idea of meaning in the universe.
  • Meursault rejects all systems which seek to define rational order.
  • THIS DEFIANCE CAUSES M TO BE A THREAT TO SOCIETY.
slide10

Setting:Algeria in the mid-1940s

  • Notice that Raymond got off for beating his girlfriend since she cheated on him.
  • Clearly, "character" is an important part of the law system of this time and place.
  • Because the woman(Raymond's girlfriend) was a cheater, she deserved to get beaten – in the eyes of the law.
  • Because Meursault has poor character (he is remorseless and cold), he deserves to be sent to the guillotine.
  • The point is, in Meursault’s world, the French are considered superior to the Arabs.
  • Killing an Arab was a minor offense, but not obeying French and Christian customs was apparently punishable by death.
slide11

POINT OF VIEW: First person (limited), through Meursault

Meursault is our narrator, and he tells it as he sees, feels, and thinks it.

Not a hint of third-person omniscience exists, because the story is purely subjective from Meursault’s point-of-view.

Though observant, Meursault makes no attempt to empathize with or understand the other characters.

As the story progresses, we move from description laced with introspection

to purely introspective recounting.

slide12

What’s Up With the Title?

Meursault is a stranger among other people

because he is so isolated from them – mentally, emotionally, spiritually,

and, by the end of the text, physically (he’s imprisoned).

He’s strange. He’s a stranger.

Or quite possibly, he’s the stranger.

We know this guy is detachment personified,

so it’s easy to argue that he’s a foreigner to society, to common, human customs – he’s an outsider

(yet another possible translation for the title, by the way).

slide13

The Stranger is written in a forthright, matter-of-fact and un-ornamental style.

There’s little color to the novel, though it has some poetic qualities.

Without the occasional irony or sarcasm, however, a reader might even mistake its simplicity for boringness.

Don’t be fooled. Because the novel is told by Meursault, the tone is necessarily defined by his voice.

What seems "boring" is really an incisive insight into the main character.

We are forced to see the world the way Meursault does; as a series of monotonous, timed, unexciting events.

This makes the tone of the last two pages all the more exciting.