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Simply Style

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Ashley McKeon Mr. Wallace IB English 11 30 March 2009 Simply Style: An Exploration of the Utilization of Writing Style in The Stranger American author Raymond Chandler once stated, "The most durable thing in writing is style, and style is the most valuable investment a writer can make with his time." The writing style that an author uses is many times, in a sense, what characterizes a book or novel. When an author is writing a piece of literature, he or she always takes into consideration the type of writing style that will be used in the work. Writing style is a literary device that can be used by authors to directly influence the reader and how he or she views certain aspects of the novel. It can be utilized in different manners to, for example, help emphasize a certain theme that the author wants to convey to the audience or to help characterize the protagonist in the novel. Also, the author can often intentionally manipulate the style to portray his or her overall purpose for the novel. In his novel The Stranger, author Albert Camus uses a specific writing style to reveal the main character, Meursault's, simplistic view of his personal existence. ...read more.


He eats, sleeps, and works a clerical job only because he has to, yet he enjoys simple pleasures of life like women and cigarettes. Meursault robotically lives his life, mindless and indifferent. Later in the story Camus describes Meursault by saying, "All I could hear was the blood pounding in my ears. I stood there, motionless. And in old Salamano's room, the dog whimpered softly." (33) The simple way that one can picture Meursault in this passage through Camus' writing emphasizes the fact that he is merely existing. He is standing there, alive, blood pumping through his body, but he takes no emotional heed to what goes on around him which mirrors the manner in which the author manipulates his writing style. Although Camus uses a straightforward style of writing throughout most of the novel, he does write in a contrasting, more complex manner when speaking of pivotal events that take place in Meursault's life. The author's purpose for this change in writing style is to make certain events stand out from the rest of the story. This is first shown when Meursault is at his mother's funeral and they are burying her body. Camus writes, "Then there was the church and the villagers on the sidewalks , the red geraniums on the graves in the cemetery, Perez fainting (he crumpled like a rag doll) ...read more.


(121) As Meursault comes to a self-realization near the end of the novel, Camus' writing style begins to get more complex. Like in this excerpt, he begins to use a more elaborate sentence structure. He uses many commas to combine his thoughts cohesively and this reflects the fact that, toward the end of the novel, Meursault is thinking a great deal about the significance of his own existence and trying to put all of his thoughts together in his mind. In the end he reaches his epiphany and realizes simply that "Nothing, nothing matter[s]." (121) and because of this realization that the world will go on no matter what one does in life, Meursault "Open[s] [him]self to the gentle indifference of the world." (122), ready to cease existing. By manipulating his writing style throughout the novel, Albert Camus is able to successfully deliver the message that he wants readers to take away from The Stranger. He purposefully uses a clear, direct style throughout a major part of the book to portray Meursault's simple view of his own existence, while at the same time using a more complex style with a variety of structure and literary devices in parts of the novel in order to accentuate significant events that occur in his life. Camus made a valuable investment with his time when considering his writing style and thus clearly conveys his purpose for the novel. McKeon 1 ...read more.

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