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In the first half of Albert Camus' "The Outsider," was Meursault rebelling against the pressures of normal society, or was he passively accepting events as they occur?

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Introduction

In the first half of the book was Meursault rebelling against the pressures of normal society, or was he passively accepting events as they occur? Society as a whole enforces its ideas and values upon all individuals, but particularly those who differ from the "norm". Meursault, the narrator and main character in Albert Camus' 'The Outsider' does not think much about events or their consequences, nor does he express much feeling in the relationship or during emotional times. He displays impassiveness throughout the book in his reactions to the people and events described in the book. ...read more.

Middle

His passive nature can also be seen when, after returning home from work, Raymond invites Meursault for wine and pudding. Meursault was about to cook dinner for himself, but Raymond's invitation has changed his behaviour. He accepts the invitation only because he has been invited. He does not deliberately seek Raymond. Meursault believes it is impossible to alter his fate. Here, the reader can rediscover his passive nature. Meursault's willingness to allow things to pass as they come is a sign that nothing really seems to concern him. Sometimes a person like Meursault can be appealing to others because he is so non-judgemental and uncritical, probably a result of indifference rather than sympathetic feelings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even thought Meursault shows no strong emotions or deep affection, Marie is still attracted and interested in him. She is aware of, possibly even fascinated by his difference. Despite the seemingly negative qualities of this unemotional man, people nevertheless seem to care for him. Meursault's unresponsive behaviour, distant from any apparent emotions, is probably reinforced by the despair which he sees open and feeling individual experience. He observes, for example, Raymond cheated on and hurt by a girlfriend, and sees his other neighbour, Old Salamano, very depressed when he loses a dear companion, his dog. Meursault's responses are very different, he doesn't get depressed at death nor does he get emotionally involved. He appears to be totally apathetic. He seems to feel no pain and is protected from life's disappointments. Damien Cunningham ...read more.

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