Women who are materialised by masculine characters in literature

- How do we gain insight through the materialisation of women in The Stranger?

Since relationships are such common parts of our lives, it is not surprising that we

 find frequents references to them in literature, such as in Camus’, The Stranger.

Relationships in literature have endless links to the text in general, but they especially

link to the themes of the text. This is because such themes of literary work can be

reflected in the relationships that characters have together. Relationships, obviously a

social occurrence, convey the general characteristics and mannerisms of characters,

which builds throughout the text. More abstractly, in addition to developing

characters, Camus uses relationships, more specifically the materialisation of women

to furthermore to build on themes of text. In turn, by analysing relationships and the

materialisation of women, we gain insights into multiple themes that Camus is trying

to portray.

In the very beginning of The Stranger we are introduced to the theme of the

meaninglessness of human existence, which is a recurring theme in the novel. The

opening of the novel begins with the protagonist Mersault reading a “telegram” he

had just received and expressing his thoughts on it– “Maman died today. Or maybe it

was yesterday, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: “mother deceased.

Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.” That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was

yesterday.” Mersault primarily concerned with the date of his mothers death and not

with the actual fact she has died, introduces his materialism of women. Mersault even

goes as far as to say, “that [his mother’s death] doesn’t mean anything”, this creates a

foundation of which the reader now will see him in a negative view and inturn

moreover makes the link to the theme of the meaninglessness of human life part of the

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absurdist theory. The reader also then based from this foundation of mersault’s

characteristics can indulge in this aspect of Camus’ absurdism and form their own

opinion on whether or not life is meaningless regardless of the inevitable end result.

Mersaults sexual politics can be compared to that of Raymond – in reference to his

‘girlfriend’. Raymond is conflicted in sexual politics where he continues to assert

himself above his ‘girlfriend’, suggesting that he may actually be her pimp. To further

illustrate such sexual politics Raymond ...

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