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Death in The Stranger and Night

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Death In The Stranger And Night Fred Hintz 00-1519-045 Delmonico WL 2 Language A1 HL May 2008 1,231 words In the two works, The Stranger, by Albert Camus, and Night, by Elie Wiesel, Death is portrayed differently, and this sheds light on the different attitudes toward death in French and Jewish societies. In order to compare these two works of literature, I will supply evidence of death in these two works of literature, and explain how the authors portray the instances of death in the two works and how the cultural background of each of the novels is reflected through the portrayal of death in the novels. In The Stranger, I will focus on the death of Meursault's mother, the death of the Arab that Meursault kills, and Meursault's own death. In Night, I will focus on the death of Elie's father. In The Stranger, The death of Meursault's mother is one of the events central to the plot of the book. It is the first event mentioned in the book (and I mean the very first), and it is one of the reasons that the end of the book turns out the way that it does. ...read more.


In the act of killing the Arab, Meursault doesn't talk about having a motive for his action, but instead blames it on physical stimuli. "All I could feel were the cymbals of sunlight crashing on my forehead and, indistinctly, the dazzling spear flying up from the knife in front of me. The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes...My whole being tensed and I squeezed my hand around the revolver." (59) This shows that Meursault didn't even really have an emotional or pre-cognized reason for killing the Arab, so the death of the Arab wouldn't mean all that much to him. Therefore, Camus is again using Meursault's reaction as an example of his reaction to death. The last example of death in The Stranger, or L'Etranger is in Meursault's own execution and death. Before Meursault dies, he talks about his philosophy, and how he thinks the universe works. In this philosophical rant that he trails on, he says that nothing really matters in his life, or in anyone's life. He begins to understand the actions of his mother towards the end of her life, and says that he understands the actions of the universe, and actually says the universe is like a brother. ...read more.


This shows that Elie's view on death is a personal one. He views death as a loss to the living. He very much cares about the fate of the dead, and would very much have them stay alive than die. The representation of death in the two novels represents the attitude towards death held by the two cultures that the books represent. The Stranger, or L'etranger, in the original French, represents French culture, since Albert Camus, who is really an Algerian, was greatly influenced by the French. Since Algeria was a French colony at the time that The Stranger written, French and Algerian culture in the sense of their philosophy on death is really the same. Night represents Eastern-European Jewish culture, seeing as Elie Wiesel, a Jew born and raised in Eastern Europe, wrote the novel and portrayed other Eastern-European Jews in it. Albert Camus' novel The Stranger, and Elie Wiesel's memoir Night both represented death in two very different ways. Albert Camus, through The Stranger portrayed death as a natural action that had to happen to every person at some time in his or her life, and should not be taken as seriously as it is. Elie Wiesel, through Night, argued that death should be taken seriously, as should the dying. Fred Hintz 00-1519-045 6-6-07 1 1,231 words ...read more.

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