LEtranger



In L’etranger, an existentialist novel written by Albert Camus, the reader begins to discover that women are treated abusively or poorly. The main character in L’etranger, Meursault, views women as lesser than men; which ultimately conveys how women were thought of in Africa for that time period.

In the second chapter, the reader first begins to get an idea of Meursault character, and his feelings towards women. After swimming with Marie Cordona, who once worked as a typist at Meursault office, he invites her to the cinema. This is very inappropriate, as his mother had died only a few days earlier. During the film, Meursault proceeds to fondle Maries breasts, and eventually kisses her. Shortly after the movie, Marie comes with Meursault back to his flat. This shows that Meursault thinks that women are merely in his life for pleasure; and no greater meaning such as love.

On page 38, Marie asks if Meursault loves her; and he simply told her that it didn’t mean anything, but he didn’t think so. This emphasizes how Meursault does not believe in love, and does not like Marie for anything but a physical relationship, and possibly and as something to do. The way in which Meursault feels about women is not uncommon for this time period, as there were much more important things in life such as holding down a job and a daily routine than things such as loving someone. Most men in Algiers at this time only lived their lives, and did not think that women could be anything greater than an object or for physical reasons.
Another example of how Meursault does not consider women as equals, but as lesser people, is when Marie asks if Meursault wanted to marry her. Meursault responds by saying that didn’t mind and that they could if she wanted to. She then goes on to ask if he loves her and again he says that it didn’t mean anything, but he probably didn’t. Marie also said that marriage is a serious matter, but Meursault only said ‘No’. This shows that not only does he not think that love is unimportant, but he also thinks that marriage doesn’t mean anything. If Meursault does not care about love or marriage, then it shows that he also cares little for women, and in this case Marie.

When Meursault and Marie are on the landing listening to Raymond beat one of his mistresses, Marie asks Meursault to fetch a police officer, but Meursault said that the didn’t like policemen. This shows that Meursault didn’t care that a woman was being hurt, because he would not even consider getting a policeman to stop the fight. Also, when Raymond asks Meursault to act as a witness, Meursault agrees to say that the woman was cheating on Raymond. By telling the police this, it got Raymond off the hook, and also showed that the policemen thought that it was all right to punish a woman if she had cheated on Raymond. Again, this emphasises the womens position in society.

For the reasons stated above, Albert Camus conveys to the reader that women are considered lesser than men by Marsaud, and in the whole of Africa during that time period.




Bibliography:

Camus, Albert. L’Etranger. London, England : Penguin Books, 1982