The Outsiders Theme

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The Outsider: Theme When one does not follow society’s expectations, he or she can be judged negatively by others is a theme in The Outsider. In the novel, Meursault is judged by society because of his response to circumstances around him. Meursault is sentenced to death because society cannot accept his behaviour and his actions. His detachment from the outside world and his actions were what caused Meursault’s execution. Meursault’s detached personality is first shown when he showed no emotion at his mother’s funeral and how he did not know his mother’s age: “I [Meursault] hadn’t wanted to see mother, hadn’t cried once and I’d left straight after the funeral without paying my respects at her grave.” (86). Meursault does not meet society’s expectation because he was different from the rest of society. He is expected to cry and show his respects but he does the exact opposite. A normal man would be devastated by the loss of his mother and suffer from sadness and despair; however, Meursault does not even care much about the date she passed away. “Mother died today or yesterday maybe, I don’t know.” (3) Another point is that shortly after the funeral, Meursault is reacquainted with a typist who used to work at the office with him. To Meursault, his mother’s death was just like any other day. He had a sexual relationship with a woman he barely knew the day after his mother died, as if “nothing had changed.” (28) Meursault does not judge other people and he do not expect other people to judge him. Thus, Meursault will do things without considering social values. This is why when Meursault was being interrogated by the prosecutor; most people looked down on him. Meursault did not conform to society’s expectations and therefore was given a death penalty due to his odd
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