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The Portrayal of Society in The Sound of Waves and The Outsider

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World Literature Paper One The Portrayal of Society in The Sound of Waves and The Outsider Miyuru Fernando June 16, 2002 Word Count: 1,230 The Portrayal of Society in The Sound of Waves and The Outsider Society often plays a major role in many novels, and can be portrayed in a variety of ways. In The Sound of Waves and The Outsider, two opposing views on society are displayed. These books show how one person's moral actions can be regarded as highly acceptable by society, while another person's still moral actions can result in rejection and loathing. In The Sound of Waves, Mishima illustrates the norm: society is acceptant of moral individuals. Using Shinji as an example, it is apparent that Shinji has been accepted by society when he earns the right to marry Hatsue, thanks to his show of honour, purity, and courage. Compared to the other young men, Shinji is an exceptional fisherman. At the plot's climax, Shinji's morality becomes glaringly apparent since it is to be blamed for his right to marry Hatsue. Over the course of the plot, Shinji always displays the utmost honour, always deserving of what he earns. ...read more.


Throughout the book, Camus depicts Meursault as a very moral person, committing himself to many societal values. The most prevalent facet of Meursault's morality would be his outstanding honesty - he strays from the politeness of society and does not hide his true feelings from others. For example, when asked if he would like to see his late mother, he replies "'I don't know,'" (p. 12) whereas other 'normal' people would conform to society by simply saying 'yes'. Meursault is also brave, laughing at his death sentence, and willing to shoot a man. This leads to another point: his outstanding loyalty toward his friends. Meursault comforts Salamano who has just lost his dog, despite his rough appearance characterised by "reddish scabs on his face," (p. 30) and thin, yellow hair. Meursault even goes as far as to start a conversation with Salamano, which says a lot, since Meursault never instigates conversations - they come to him. Meursault also aids Raymond a great deal. Above all else, Meursault listens to Raymond. To further help Raymond, Meursault writes a letter for Raymond's girlfriend the instant Raymond asks him, and acts as a witness at the police station to defend Raymond (testifying that Raymond's girlfriend had cheated on him). ...read more.


99). It is this refusal to lie that results in his downfall during the trial, which is ironic considering it is the truth which is to be sought in a court of law. Through the comparison of these two novels, it is evident that morality is a basis upon which to judge individuals, if they are included within society, such as in Shinji's case. In Meursault's case, however, morality is not an issue, since he has excluded himself from society. As Camus says, Meursault simply does not "play the game" (p. 118). Such a conclusion can be applied in the real world as well: everyday, society as a whole is unwelcoming to anything different, whereas anything within society is accepted. Even if immoral, anything within society is accepted - a murderer who is part of society for example, would undergo a fair trial, unlike that of Meursault's, where irrelevant evidence was used to judge him, such as his actions regarding his mother's death. Still, as the years pass, society is becoming more and more open to new ideas; it only takes a matter of time until something is deemed as acceptable. Hopefully one day, society reaches a point where it can fairly judge between what is right and what is wrong without a fear of the atypical. ...read more.

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