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The Stark effects of being absurd in society- The Outsider

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Introduction

The Stark effects of being absurd in society- The Outsider A long time ago, I summed up 'The Outsider in a sentence which I realise is extremely paradoxical: 'In our society any man who doesn't cry at his mother's funeral is liable to be condemned to death.' Albert Camus 8th January 1955 The novel 'The Outsider' establishes a being that is a 'Nomad' or existential in a sense of the society he lives in and the wandering on the cliff beside the sea of introversion and poignancy. Meursault is commonly misunderstood and is regarded as a reject. Furthermore he refuses to lie. A lie is a statement made by someone, in the expectation that the hearers may believe it. 'In the case of the human heart saying more than one feels,' Meursault conforms to the existential presuppositions; this is regarding reality as the state of being, the truth, often unheard of in politics and society. Consequently society feels threatened, by Meursault's refusal to satisfy the feelings of others by showing little remorse for his mother's death. His indifference leads him to be condemned by a trial. ...read more.

Middle

All these things can be pertained. All the secondary characters, contrast to Meursault. Raymond shows anger, Marie shows passion and Salamano shows possessiveness, all these characteristics show that Meursault is detached from society. Albert Camus chose the constituent of heat and sunlight as a metaphor of Meursault's uncorroborated deiscomfort with society. Both of these elements affect Meursault, "I could feel my forehead swelling up under the sun." "The heat was pushing full against me..." "I set me teeth, closed my fists in my trouser pockets and tensed my whole body in defiance of the sun and of the drunken haze it was pouring into me." These are al connotations of how society affects Meursault drastically. "The bright morning sunshine hit me like a slap in the face." This could mean a deliberate rejection from society. Meursault earlier on laments of the effects the sun has on him. "I was so tired that I could hardly see or think straight anymore." This quote encompasses the interpretation of the effects and processes of society on Meursault. He finds his mental process is altered, this comment on society shows how it can screen or change the vision of an individual. ...read more.

Conclusion

And I recognised it as the voice that for many a day of late had been buzzing in my ears." His 'voice' he hears is the sound of his inner consciousness. This epiphany enables Meurasult to accept his death. He does not wish for his death but in the end invites it "...it's common knowledge that life isn't worth living anyhow." In the last moments of Meursault's doom the prison chaplain tries to convert him. Meursault develops an unsaid philosophy of reality. It gave new meaning to the word life and its true identities. It did not matter to Meursault when or whom committed him to death, he just knew it ended the same. Rejected from society Meursault becomes a martyr in death. When failure seemed imminent Meursault's newly found conscious carries him into a world of discovery. The Outsider is appropriate today as it was when it was first written. Higher powers govern our destiny and if our existence is to mean anything we must find explanation for it ourselves. Camus' cardinal rule from a reader's interpretation is that society constricts a beings consciousness and indifference, in to the ideals that have been taught since the beginning of time. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay shows a clear sense of direction and a precise argument – the introduction guides the rest of the essay towards the question of truth and lying, as well as individual vs. socially accepted interpretation of events, while the ...

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Response to the question

This essay shows a clear sense of direction and a precise argument – the introduction guides the rest of the essay towards the question of truth and lying, as well as individual vs. socially accepted interpretation of events, while the main body eloquently expands on the issues it presents. Several pertinent aspects of the novels are illustrated, showing the writer's good grasp on both Camus' writing and the question itself. Indeed, although the question is rather vague (and thus it would have been easy to fall into the trap of description, rather than analysis), the writer has managed to pick out all the significant themes, symbols and events of the novel that relate to the question. The construction is clear, with a new point contained in every paragraph – this includes examples, explanations and analysis.

Level of analysis

Very good analysis throughout the essay; all the examples provided are suitable and well-elaborated upon. The writer has done a good job recognising and acknowledging various literary devices, such as the narrative voice, mood, sentence length and construction. Satire, a much more subtle aspect of the novel, is also pondered upon. The writer manages to nicely connect the cultural and historical context of the times (e.g. black vs. white people) to Meursault's strangeness, but he/she also contemplates Meursault as an individual facing other individuals – and aptly describes the differences between them, as well as the causes and effects of Meursault's “outsider” role. What really stands out in the essay is the first paragraph, where we can see an argument built on a close reading of the text – the style is analysed well and used to answer the essay question. Moreover, the sun does indeed affect Meursault to a broad extent, and the writer has spotted this use of symbolism and used it in reference to the question. The essay ends with a valuable remark on the protagonist's meeting with the priest – this moment in the novel is the last, and important, confirmation of how Meursault does not quite fit into the society he lives in. The conclusion seems rushed, but it makes all the necessary points and sums up the analysis well.

Quality of writing

Most of the time, the writing is stylistically correct. In fact, the language flows very naturally and is often punctuated by more figurative, yet succinct phrases, e.g. “wandering on the cliff beside the sea of introversion and poignancy”. These are welcome touches in a literary essay at this level. However, there are some spelling and punctuation mistakes, which sometimes break up the flow of the writing, e.g. “He finds his mental process is altered, this comment on society shows (...)”. The comma should have been a semi-colon. “Confirm” and “conform” are sometimes confused, the protagonist's name is misspelled (“Meurasult”), some apostrophes are missing or misplaced and the title of the novel is written without quotation marks. All in all, the essay gains a lot by some of the more abstract, yet succinct illustrations, but in order to score top marks for language, the writer would have to pay more attention to detail.


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Reviewed by evabianka 12/04/2012

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