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Is Meursault an absurd hero? Is he a moral monster? Is he a rebel against a conventional morality?

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Is Meursault an absurd hero? Is he a moral monster? Is he a rebel against a conventional morality? In order to understand Meursault's rebellion we must first understand the nature of his personality as portrayed by Camus. The novel begins with the laconic assertion "Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure." His mother's death briefly interrupts the pleasant flow of Meursault's life, a life devoted to appreciating sensation. He loves the feel of a crisp towel in the washroom. He enjoys eating, drinking, and smoking cigarettes. He loves to watch the sea and the sky. Swimming and making love to pretty girls like Marie are his favourite pastimes, so much so that an offer of a job promotion in Paris does not in the least appeal to him. When something bores him or distresses him he simply goes to sleep, as he does on the bus to his mother's funeral and even in jail. He is a detached observer of life. Symbolic of this quality is the Sunday he spends watching the ebb and flow of life in his neighbourhood from his apartment window. ...read more.


He on the other hand, is only interested in sex and physical pleasure and does not feel any respect for the institutions of love and marriage. Meursault's friends are also not very normal. They include people such as a pimp and a man who horribly abuses his dog. He does not believe in making moral judgments, and refuses to call the police when the pimp is beating one of his prostitutes: "I do not like police." The first part of the book goes on in much the same way, until he is jailed for shooting an Arab. The first half of the book, up until his arrest, is structured as a simple first person narrative. Meursault tells of a sequence of events in chronological order, with no personal reflection or flashbacks in time. The writing is simple and unadorned; very few adjectives that could convey an opinion are used. Although it is written in first person, Meursault tells the story with such detachment that it seems like the book is written in objective third person. This makes the story seem very strange, yet highly readable and compelling. The second half of the book is very different. ...read more.


Just because he is different does not automatically mean he is evil. I have the same feelings that a hero is one whom can do amazing things without letting emotions get in the way. He said that Meursault is absurd because his situations is out of the ordinary and would torture any human to insanity unless you were extremely strong of mind. This is what made these two characters heroes. Absurdity is the condition of having no meaning to one's life. Meursault fell in this category after being sentenced to the guillotine. The absurdity in their situations would especially drive one crazy who thought fearfully or sadly upon their situations. The two characters though were drawn to hate their fates and torments which in turn won them victories over their fates by concentrating less on the punishment but more on just the acceptance of the absurdity. Camus gave Meursault a little different level of absurdity in his fate than Sisyphus. Sisyphus had a true and definite absurdness in the fact that he was punished to ceaselessly roll the rock with no end or purpose. Meursault, however, faced only a destiny that would end in a brief time when he would be executed. It would not be quite as hard to surmount his fate, knowing that he would die soon and not have to face any more consequences. ...read more.

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