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People's perception of the protagonists as being indifferent in "The Metamorphosis" by Kafka and "The Outsider" by Camus is what makes Gregor and Meursault heroic. Discuss.

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Introduction

People's perception of the protagonists as being indifferent in The Metamorphosis and The Outsider is what makes Gregor and Meursault heroic. A definition of a hero is "a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who [risks] or [sacrifice their] life.1" Both Gregor and Meursault fit under the category of heroes because of their characteristics and actions. Franz Kafka and Albert Camus fundamentally use the perceived indifference of the protagonists as a method to make them powerful and provocative. It is often easy to misinterpret the heroic qualities of the protagonist as indifference. Being indifferent is when individuals feel that things does not matter one way or another2 or "having no particular interest or concern3." The idea that the protagonists are indifferent is through our eyes and standards. We have our own perceptions of how people should react to particular situations, and when the criteria are not met, we judge the person to be an outcast. However, from the characters' viewpoint, their behavior is considered normal. The protagonists have disparate principles than differ from ours, which makes it hard for us to understand them. Through our judgment of Meursault and Gregor as being indifferent, we are able to learn of their strengths. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor is the hero who undergoes death twice. ...read more.

Middle

Only through Gregor's death is his family capable of realizing that Gregor's duty as their sole provider did not help them; it was in truth the reason that they do not know themselves. The only chance of happiness for Gregor's family is to be freed from Gregor. Meursault, in the The Outsider, ultimately becomes a hero because of his absolute refusal to lie and people's perceptions of his complete indifference to everything except physical sensations. From the first sentence in the novel, we deem Meursault's reaction toward his mother's death as indifference as he does not even know the exact date of his mother's death nor grieves for her. "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know9." At his mother's funeral, his only thought is of that the "glare from the sky is unbearable10" and the day after, he starts a physically active relationship with Marie. "The prosecutor who [is] leafing through a file [ask Marie] bluntly when [Meursault and Marie's] liaison begun. She [mentions] the date. The prosecutor [remarks] indifferently that it [appears] to be the day after mother's death11." We assume that Meursault experiences many stimulating physical sensations when "[Marie comes] back to [his] place12" that day. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both his deaths are essential to revitalize the spirits of the Samsa family, his willingness to place his family ahead of himself makes him a hero. Meursault, on the other hand, is a tragic hero condemned to death because no one understands his values. People's acuity on the traits of the protagonists in The Metamorphosis and The Outsiders make them valiant. Jane Kwong English A1 HL June 2003 Word Count: 1487 World Literature Assignment #1: Perceived Indifference of Gregor and Mersault, in The Metamorphosis and The Outsider, makes them heroic. 1 The American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition -- hero 2 The American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition -- indifferent 3 The American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition -- indifferent 4 Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka. A Bantam Classic. pg. 17 5 Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka. A Bantam Classic. pg. 54 6 Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka. A Bantam Classic. pg. 52 7 Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka. A Bantam Classic. pg. 54 8 Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka. A Bantam Classic. pg. 58 9 The Outsider, Albert Camus. Penguin. pg. 1 10 The Outsider, Albert Camus. Penguin. pg. 21 11 The Outsider, Albert Camus. Penguin. pg. 90 12 The Outsider, Albert Camus. Penguin. pg. 24 13 The Outsider, Albert Camus. Penguin. pg. 60 14 The Outsider, Albert Camus. Penguin. pg. 117 ...read more.

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