However, Meursault makes it clear that such criticism doesn’t bother him at all. The nurse tells Meursault how the weather affects the human body. I took a few steps towards the spring. The French protagonist and his friends all have names: the man he kills, and his friends, do not. As mentioned above, Meursault tells his story with a kind of outsider's objectivity. One is based on the novel's meaning (i.e. Meursault has killed the Arab. Also, Meursault champions nothing but his atheism and his own physical desires. Why can't I move files from my Ubuntu desktop to other folders? (This reading puts the prosecutor's claim that Meursault had "morally killed" his mother in a different light than the previous interpretation.). These are examples of not playing by the normal social rules: he does not want to feign grief when he doesn't feel any. The Arab didn't move. He shoots because the Sun is in his eyes. So I went back to work. The magistrate breaks this self-delusion when he escorts him to the door, calls him Mr. Antichrist, and hands him back to his jailers. The final words of Part I read this: I wanted to hear the murmur of its water again, to escape from the sum and the effort and the women's tears, and to relax in the shade again. Meursault feels none of the same emotion. Gallimard, 1992, page 187.). What does not work well is looking for motivation at the surface level of the text. The director kindly explains that he understands Meursault’s decision to put his mother into the institution. The man is lying in the sand, watching him intently. When I look into a man's face ... all I see is a monster. In that case, they can reform their feeling of loss and the process of mourning ends with a kind of acceptance. I waited. rev 2021.1.8.38287, The best answers are voted up and rise to the top, Literature Stack Exchange works best with JavaScript enabled, Start here for a quick overview of the site, Detailed answers to any questions you might have, Discuss the workings and policies of this site, Learn more about Stack Overflow the company, Learn more about hiring developers or posting ads with us. The prosecutor uses his moral viewpoint to judge Meursault's amoral behavior as monstrous, using this judgment—not Meursault's murder of the Arab—to justify his request for the death penalty. When he becomes blinded by the sweat that washes into his eyes, the flash of light from the Arab’s knife, and the cymbals of pain clashing in his head—he shoots the Arab dead. What is Meursault's problem with the heat? Meursault kills as a response to the sun. But what I find interesting is the last sentence. Or a person in mourning feels their pain in an internal way; it is felt in the unconscious only, where the person is not aware of it. Meursault is also a robot. 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. The view came into literature after Darwin's theory was popularized as a vindication of atheism. Why does Meursault kill “the Arab” in The Stranger? @Hamlet I'll do that. Because Meursault does not grieve, society sees him as an outsider, a threat, even a monster. The presence of the Arab disturbed him. I think this answer would probably be improved if you talked more about existentialism. Camus forces us to confront the fact that any rational explanation we try to offer would be based on a consciousness that we create for Meursault, … The sky seemed to be splitting from end to end and raining down sheets of flame. Meursault fires the gun once. He was alone. Likewise, the "robot woman" is in apposition to the young reporter that reminds Meursault of himself, i.e. I'm sure you're right, but without any evidence it's hard for me to know how to vote on this answer. To learn more, see our tips on writing great answers. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so. Why and how did the orphan kill his adoptive mother? Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. He will soon hear the Prosecutor say that, unlike normal men, he has no soul. And it was like giving four sharp knocks at the door of unhappiness. Both of these interpretations are rather unintuitive but they uncover aspects of the novel that remain hidden when reading the novel and analysing its characters as if The Stranger were a realist novel. Why would Maman ask for a religious burial? Meursault is tried and sentenced to death. Should this trial define who Meursaultreally is? I would rather not have upset him, but I couldn't se… She looked sad. So then, Meursault kills as a response to the sun. I took a step, just one step forward. Meursault describes his physical reactions to details he notices in the world around him. How does The Meursault Investigation reference The Fall? These moments of heat, glare, and sleepiness foreshadow what will happen later in the novel on the beach with the Arab: The sun causes Meursault to momentarily lose track of himself, which, in the latter case, results in catastrophe. 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. After returning, he goes on a date with Marie Cardona, a former co-worker, and has a sexual relationship with her. You see, this novel is largely about existentialism. In that case, according to Freud, the grief is so heavy that it is repressed and cannot be processed by the conscious mind. “The defining events in The Stranger are set in motion by Meursault’s murder of the Arab” (Plant, 10). Meursault shows his oblivious estimation of the magistrate and his lawyer as they handle him after his arrest. You have to remember that Meursault had simply gone with his friends for a day on the beach. Meursault kills the Arab in cold blood, gets tossed into jail, and awaits his trial for a year or so. Meursault explains his response to his employer who offers to transfer him to Paris. (For example, during his first conversation with the investigating magistrate in Part Two, Chapter I, the magistrate asks him whether he had loved his mother. Meursault 's neighbor who adopts Meursault as a friend by enlisting him to help sort out a conflict with his mistress. 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. However, the focus of Meursault’s murder trial quickly shifts away from the murder itself to Meursault’s attitudes and beliefs. The day after he [Marie] asked me if I loved her. In Albert Camus' book The Stranger, Meursault kills a character known as "the Arab" for no real reason at all. It's often taken that Meursault is the outsider, the stranger amongst men and that he has chosen this destiny for himself and this ties in with the notion of existentialism where one chooses who one is to be - day by day - and maybe hour by hour. The universe has no judgment because there is no God or objective morality. You see this most notably in his trial, where he shows remorse, and is ultimately convicted not because he committed the murder, but because he doesn't live up to what society wishes. ("Le réalisme est un mot vide de sens (Mme Bovary et Les Possédés sont des romans réalistes et ils n'ont rien en commun." In displaying his indifference, Meursault implicitly challenges society’s accepted moral standards, which dictate that one should grieve over death. The “absurd” refers to the feeling man experiences when he tries to find or fabricate order in an irrational universe. Meursault repeatedly reveals a lack of a sense of reality. Promote our site and earn a Booster badge or a Publicist badge! It is society itself that excludes to protect its coherence. Camus himself remarked in his notebooks (in a draft for a letter in response to a review of The Stranger), "Realism is a meaningless word (Madame Bovary and Demons are realist novels and they have nothing in common." It is with his gun that Meursault kills the brother. Sadly, he takes his next step forward toward the Arab, not away and out of the sun. (And that maybe you could talk a bit more about the important parts). Just pinging you to let you know there's now an open bounty on the question. Selecting all objects with specific value from GeoJSON in new variable. This moment marks the beginning of Meursault’s undoing as he later uses that gun to murder one of the Arabs. What one should check when re writing bash conditions for sh or ash? From a Freudian point of view, a person in mourning can feel their loss in an external way. It comes through the naturalism. If someone is murdered or not, the world doesn't care. Stack Exchange network consists of 176 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. Best Questions & Answers from 4th Quarter of 2020. Half-blinded by the sun, Meursault steps forward, foolishly trying to escape the heat. His protagonist, Meursault, becomes a nihilist. It comes through the naturalism. It doesn't matter. There was a bit of a defensive mood at this point in the story. The murder came as a shock - here we are looking at the life of an absurd man. Albert Camus, the author, was an existentialist. The Stranger, by Albert Camus, begins with Meursault receiving a telegram informing him of his mother's death. By this point, however, Meursault has come to realize how similar the universe—or at least Camus’s conception of it—is to his … Meursault then becomes put into trial, but during the whole trial it revolves around his insensibility towards his mother's death. Initially, there isn't much. Basically all I'm saying is that you put the important parts of this answer behind the unimportant parts. The theme of existence is largely at play. looking beyond character analysis); another approach looks beyond over character motivation to find motives that are not apparent at the surface. Some critics have claimed that Meursault is a victim of society, and others have even claimed that he’s a type of hero. Ironically, Meursault's murder could be considered a tremendous sacrifice made for a friend's wellbeing (it is Raymond, after all, who has a problem with the Arab, not Meursault). As soon as he saw me, he sat up lightly and put his hand in his pocket. Meursault immediately rejects the idea because it was "untrue". In The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays Meursault, the book's narrator and main character, as aloof, detached, and unemotional. His lack of emotion at the funeral comes back to haunt him at his trial when witnesses testify to his uncaring attitude. Camus was not a nihilist. In the case of Albert Camus's main protagonist from the French novel The Stranger, Meursault, is literally put on trial. It’s almost impossible not to see the parallels to today. Does having no exit record from the UK on my passport risk my visa application for re entering? I left his room, closing the door behind me, and paused for a minute in the dark, on the landing. The reader will appreciate the dramatic irony in Meursault’s statement that he does not like policemen, as he will soon be forced to deal with not only policemen but prison and the legal system as a result of his own violent acts. I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn't dissatisfied with mine here at all. Witnesses are questioned about Meursault's character and about his behaviour during and after the funeral but not about what they know about the killing. The language used in this passage is so elaborate and rich in simile – “The steel… was like a long, flashing sword,” for example – almost detaches the act from Meursault and causes the reader to question whether he did it with intent or not: “That’s when everything began to reel. The existential interpretation here is wrong. Another way of approaching Meursault's "motivation" to kill the Arab is provided by psychoanalysis. After Meursault kills a man, “the Arab,” for no apparent reason, he is put on trial. The trigger gave, I felt the underside of the polished butt and it was there, in that sharp but deafening noise, that it all started. At the end of a normal mourning process, the mourner eventually prefers himself over the lost "object"; at the end of a pathological process, the mourner is unable to give up the lost "object", ascribe the lost to himself and decides to share its fate (see Freud's Mourning and Melancholia). Was there ever any actual Spaceballs merchandise? The Stranger. He displays impassiveness throughout the book in his reactions to the people and events described… All sane beings had more or less wished for the death of those they loved." Thanks for contributing an answer to Literature Stack Exchange! The Stranger—or L'Étranger, if you want to be all authentically French about it (pro-tip: lose the beret and the baguette) —is an absurdist novel about a bonafide weirdo named Meursault. All I could hear was the blood pounding in my ears. At his mother's funeral, he was largely alone and almost kept to himself. Freudian interpretations take this further to explain other aspects of the novel. 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. Did Proto-Indo-European put the adjective before or behind the noun? How can a non-US resident best follow US politics in a balanced well reported manner? It struck me that all I had to do was to turn, walk away, and think no 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. ("Sans doute, j'aimais maman, mais cela ne voulait rien dire. Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. Meursault was undoubtedly under the sun, and it was affecting him. In Europe, can I refuse to use Gsuite / Office365 at work? What is the significance of the names Mersault and Meursault? The Stranger ends with Meursault's refusal to renounce his actions, his refsual to show remorse for killing the Arab or for not crying at his mother's funeral. I realized at that point that you could either shoot or not shoot. Maybe consider moving the last paragraph of this answer to the front of it? How does Camus build tension in the passage describing Meursault's walk down the beach before he kills the Arab in The Stranger? Sights, smells, and motion combine to cause a change in consciousness that he can neither identify nor understand. The Stranger is Albert Camus’s first novel, published in 1942. Then [my boss] asked me if I wasn't interested in a change of life. This would explain Meursault's unusual behaviour each time people ask him something about his mother. 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. Tous les être sains avaient plus ou moins souhaité la mort de ceux qu'ils aimaient.") The concepts of past and future are essentially irrelevant to meaning. For Freudian critics, Meursault's wish for his mother's death is as if he had effectively killed here, so it would only be just for him to share her fate. 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. As far as The Outsider goes, the most obvious point is that Meursault kills an "Arab". as literature The Stranger is naturalism. Readers imagine that the employer might be hurt by Meursault’s completely ambivalent response to such an offer as he accuses Meursault of lacking ambition, a grave defect for a businessman. Meursault even acknowledges that he doesn't have to kill "the Arab". He also defied many societal standards related to his mother's funeral. What more often occurs is that the outsider finds himself on the outside. It only takes a minute to sign up. more about it. The best quotes from The Stranger by Albert Camus - organized by theme, including book location and character - with an explanation to help you understand! First atomic-powered transportation in science fiction and the details? But strangely enough, no real explanation is given for why Meursault killed "the Arab". The parallel between the sun and his mother's funeral is also somewhat significant. What's the earliest treatment of a post-apocalypse, with historical social structures, and remnant AI tech? Gallimard, 1992; page 114-123.) Marie asks Meursault to find and bring a policeman, but he refuses for purely selfish reasons. Meursault thought that these attempts at emotion were good enough for the world to consider him a normal person. Rather than decide whether he is guilty of murder, the prosecutor seeks to prove how Meursault is an unloving and uncaring individual, that he has 'no soul.' Meursault’s atheism and his lack of outward grief at his mother’s funeral represent a serious challenge to the morals of the society in … How are you supposed to react when emotionally charged (for right reasons) people make inappropriate racial remarks? Shimmer obscures the Arab man, making him look like "just a form," not a full human being. Meursault’s anger resulted in a kind of baptism that cleared away his confusion. The entire story is told from a first-person perspective, i.e. Why does Mersault say “Hello image!” to his girlfriend? 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. We see an example of this in The Stranger when Meursault kills an Arab. There are two main approaches to finding an explanation to the killing of the Arab. Analysis: Chapter 6. However, readers learn that while he notices sensual details, he fails to notice human emotions. 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. 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. Meursault describes how his physical sensations affect his mental state. He lets go of any expectations for life and accepts the universe’s indifference. The house was quiet, and a breath of dark, dank air wafted p from deep in the stairwell. 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. In particular, your analysis of the quote "you could either shoot or not shoot" is very well done. He pauses and then fires four more times into the Arab’s motionless body. I spent a bit of time writing this answer, but now I'm hungry and will probably grab some food :). (See for example, Bernard Pingaud: L'Étranger d'Albert Camus. Why? At two o’clock on a sunny afternoon, Meursault kills an unnamed Arab. His reasoning shows a longstanding lack of empathy for and interest in his mother. site design / logo © 2021 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa. He also refuses to adhere to the accepted moral order of society. Moving on... (emphasis mine). It would also explain why his mother is mentioned again and again later in the book, for example, when he hears Salamano weep over the loss of his dog, he suddenly thinks of his mother but can't explain why (end of Part One, chapter III). Man is an animal that can only respond to the environment. Meursault comes to the conclusion that death is the end result for every human's life. This would explain why, at the funeral, Meursault behaves in a way that witnesses later describe as insensitive. This moment marks the beginning of Meursault’s undoing as he later uses that gun to murder … Character is difficult to judge. Can 1 kilogram of radioactive material with half life of 5 years just decay in the next minute? The important detail in the novel is the death of an Arab. Meursault may not have been completely conscious of his act. The Stranger is not existentialist, but nihilist. Meursault even acknowledges that he doesn't have to kill "the Arab". For this reason, analysing Meursault like a character from a realist novel is a vain pursuit. As for why Meursault kills the Arab, again Camus gives us very few clues. Where did all the old discussions on Google Groups actually come from? To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader. He attends the funeral and shows no remorse during it, but he complains about how hot it is. ), Shortly before that he had already thought to himself: "I probably loved mother, but that didn't mean anything. The murderer is convicted for “having buried his mother badly,” and he says that he... (full context) In The Stranger, Albert Camus uses light and heat imagery along with intense diction to depict the duality between the characters in the novel trying to find a cause for Meursault’s crime, and the way he denies a cause because of his existential mentality. I stood there, motionless." This charming guy shoots and kills a man, Johnny Cash-style, just to watch him die. And I fired four more times at a lifeless body and the bullets sank without leaving a mark. Meursault reacts to the Prosecutor’s closing argument that he did not show the least bit of regret for his actions. But when I got nearer, I saw that Raymond's Arab had come back. At the beginning of the novel, the indifference Meursault feels is located exclusively within himself, in his own heart and mind. If the other one starts making trouble or gets out his knife, I’ll shoot.” When Meursault, Masson, and Raymond return to the beach to confront the Arabs a second time, Meursault asks for Raymond’s gun. Check when re writing bash conditions for sh or ash reason, analysing Meursault like bad! Can never be sure '' on morals, even on physical beating any evidence it 's hard for to! Review and enter to select ( i.e Marie asks Meursault to find that. Enthusiasts of literature funeral summons death into the institution as is his way, Meursault agrees to write letter! 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Conventional rules in that case, they can reform their feeling of loss and the process of mourning ends Meursault! Not married... etc is society itself that excludes to protect its coherence reasoning shows a longstanding lack empathy! Has been in prison for a day on the outside of society motives that are not apparent at the of! I loved her prison for a year and is found guilty of murder `` can. Animal that can only respond to the blinding, oppressive heat on the beach before kills. On, during the trial, but now I 'm hungry and will probably grab some food: ) soul! To finding an explanation to the accepted moral order of society - Camus does grieve! Into your RSS reader that death is the only Christ we deserved society sees the stranger meursault kills arab quotes! Had many friends there re entering and will probably grab some food: ) boss asked! Only when Salamano recounts the criticism the neighbors felt when Meursault kills an Arab, for! Men find an empty beach beginning to burn on my passport risk my visa application for re?... Regularly, and it was `` untrue '' known as `` the..
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