The Outsider Paper

This essay has a total of 1417 words and 6 pages.

The Outsider

Topic: The Outsider is not about the murder of an Arab but about the inability of society
to understand Mersault's Detachment


In The Outsider, Meursault is ultimately punished not for the murder of the Arab, but for
his lack of adherence to the social codes governing appropriate behavior after his
mother's death. In this respect we can argue that Camus novel is not about the Arab's
murder but it is about the inability of society to understand Meursault's detachment. The
murder trial turns into a trial that judges and condemns Meursault because he appears
indifferent, removed from society, and his behavior in unacceptable.


Meursault is a very quiet person who rarely shows any external emotions when a situation in which most people would.
In the opening scene of the book, we find out that his mother has just died. The first
page alone gives many hints about Meursault's character and it shows him to be almost
unaware of his emotions. He feels the need to apologize for things that are out of his
control and to thank people for things that they had nothing to do with. He basically
apologizes to his boss when he asks for two days off of work to go the funeral for his
dead mother. He goes through the entire funeral without displaying any external emotions,
saying that he doesn't want to see the body and that he doesn't want to pay his last
respects. Mersault's' mothers funeral Meursault does not cry or behave the way that
society expects him to act. This is because Meursault is an existentialist, and does not
act in the appropriate manner in which society expects, which makes him a stranger from
the people around him

He is, further, depicted enjoying a cup of coffee with milk during the vigil, and having a
smoke with a caretaker at the nursing home in which his mother died, which is considered
strange in the place and time.

In addition to the townspeople judging Meursault because he sent his mother away, the
townspeople continue to dislike him because he showed lack of emotion during her funeral.
Which, again, goes back to the way people perceive an individual should live their life.
In society crying is associated with a funeral, so therefore it is considered unusual,
especially if a parent passes on, that an individual not cry during this period of time.
The people of Algiers believe that since Meursault showed no emotions during his mother's
funeral he was a cold heartless man and showed no respect for his mother, and the
following weekend he meets up with Marie to see a comedy film, beach, and has sex, this is
not what is expected of a son whose mother just died.


Most people would believe that he was uncaring toward Marie, but Marie was willing to
accept Meursault for who he truly was. For instance, Meursault makes it obviously clear
that he does not believe he is in love with Marie. This hurts Marie a little, but she is
deeply in love with him and asks Meursault to marry her anyway. His response was that if
she wants to get married then they would. Meursault liked the idea of being with Marie
because her company made him happy, but he was not an individual that got attached to
another person. In all of Meursault's relationships he shows a lack of affection, he
appears too indifferent about life events. Nothing seems to be very significant to him.


Raymond is a pimp who is Meursault friend who doesn't make moral judgments about Raymond.
Meursault does however write a letter for Raymond to get Raymond's ex-girlfriend to come
back to him, only for Raymond to abuse her. Meursault knew Raymond's intentions and still
wrote this letter. This is one of Meursault's low points. He should have had a little more
common sense than to write a love letter to a woman, he doesn't even know, and then listen
while Raymond beats her.

This is another example of how Meursault's lack of caring can hurt other individual.
He did not even know this woman and he did not think twice about writing the letter, he just wrote it.






Continues for 3 more pages >>




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