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A Comparison of the Narrative Structure of ‘The Outsider’ (Camus) and ‘Metamorphosis’ (Kafka)

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A Comparison of the Narrative Structure of 'The Outsider' (Camus) and 'Metamorphosis' (Kafka) Narrative structure is an important element in every book written, it contributes to both layers of meaning and the readability of the book. Through this essay I will explore the narrative structure of Metamorphosis and The Outsider and the layers of meaning that it adds to these two books. The Outsider is carefully and formally organised. The two main parts of the novel are of equal length. Death is a central motif; at the beginning there is the mother's death, in the centre that of the Arab and at the end Meursault himself is awaiting execution. Each of these deaths affects Meursault in a different way. Although the first is the death of his own mother he appears to show no emotion and to have no experience of how to show emotion. At the second death, the murder of the Arab, he also shows very little emotion, he believes the case to be 'very simple' and he has to remind himself continuously that he is a murderer, 'On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but I remembered just in time that I'd killed a man.' ...read more.


Have you got everything you want?' We stopped talking and Marie went on smiling.' Many events occurring in Part I are premonitions of events in Part II. During the vigil after his mother's death, to which ten 'inmates' of the old people's home come, Meursault has 'An absurd impression that they have come to sit in judgement' of him. The corresponding event in Part II is Meursault's experience in court, when he is really being judged for his behaviour at the vigil and his reaction to his mother's death. The residents in the home are referred to as inmates; this is a link to Meursault's later experience in prison. The events in Part I become elements in the trial in Part II. In Part I we hear of the events recorded in the first person, in the style of a diary; we are shown reality as it occurs. Part II shows us how human reason tries to reinterpret this reality. The calmness present at the beginning of each part contrasts greatly with the emotion of the murder scene and Meursault's outburst against the chaplain: 'something exploded inside me. I started shouting at the top of my voice and I insulted him.' ...read more.


example, it has brought them closer together, 'Mr Samsa appeared in his uniform, his wife on one arm and his daughter on the other. They all looked a little as if they had been crying.' Grete has grown 'into a pretty girl with a good figure'. Her family and society have imprisoned her but now she feels herself free, 'Their daughter sprang to her feet and stretched her young body' Adjectives used in this chapter, for example, 'excellent', 'good', and 'quieter' express the mood of the product of the changes that have taken place in the Samsa family: these contrast strikingly with the adjectives used at the beginning of the novel, for example, 'uneasy', 'gigantic' and 'hard', which expressed the dissatisfaction and discontentedness of the family. The three-part structure of Metamorphoses highlights the theme of change. The two-part structure of The Outsider emphasises what happens to reality when human reason tries to reinterpret it, this is one of Camus messages. To conclude narrative structure is an integral element to every piece of writing; it is the writer's tool to manipulate the reader's impression of the characters, situation and generally aid understanding. Word Count - 1497 ?? ?? ?? ?? Sarah Cheffings World lit.1 IB English H Candidate no. 06950009 - 1 - ...read more.

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