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Analysis of The Outsider by Albert Camus

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Introduction

In the given text, The Outsider by Albert Camus, the main issue is the attitude of Meursault towards his mother's death. Mr. Meursault, the main character, is a man who is very much apathetic to the people and events around him. Meursault, as described throughout the text, is a bachelor who leads a simple life working at an office in Algiers. His mother has just passed away so he is preparing to leave for Morengo for the funeral. The opening sentences of the text reflect the sense of apathy directly: "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know." After his mother's death, Meursault feels untypically cold and painless, just as he expected it to happen any time. ...read more.

Middle

The narrator creates a cold atmosphere which serves to his purpose, to be very much effective on the reader and make an emphasis on the issue. The character seems very much distant to his mother as a son, as he rarely shown interest for his mother before her death. Besides, the caretaker was the one to ask him if he wished to see her mother's dead body and reminded him to meet the warden. Even her mother's death was unable to ruin the detached manner he had. Moreover, he described his mother's death as a 'classified fact' which evidently shows that he is not affected at all. The unemotional tone continues throughout the narrative, with the first-person narration. ...read more.

Conclusion

The language used is obviously non-literal and casual to some extent, and the sentences are short and simple. The very short sentences especially at the opening paragraph form a stream of consciousness. Depicting the flow of ideas, the narrator makes an emphasis on the lack of engagement between the characters and events in Meursault's mind. In addition, the lexical choice of the author mirrors also the main idea, lack of communication. For instance; Meursault does not call his mother, 'my mother'; but he doesn't include possessive pronoun 'my'. That is symbol of loneliness of the mother and the distorted relationship of the mother and son. Lastly, the narrator uses time expressions and frequency adverbs very often at first three paragraphs such as 'today, tomorrow, yesterday, as usual..'. As they all represent an unclear date, time has no specific importance for the main character, as long as the death has no significance, either. ...read more.

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