The Stranger Research Paper

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Meaningful Meaninglessness Society constantly seeks for a deeper meaning to human life by placing value on trivial things and holding dogma to a high standard. In Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger, the protagonist does not participate in society’s aforementioned morals; they consider him an unintelligent outcast. Meursault, the protagonist, faces a handful of circumstances throughout the book in which any “normal” person would express emotion, but in which he held back: his mother’s death and funeral; his mistress’s proposal; an offered promotion; a pimp’s promiscuity; an adoring, yet abusive dog owner; a murder that he committed; and, finally, his own death sentence. At the time that he least needed to do so, Meursault displays feelings of anger, remorse, and even happiness. Even though the fictional judicial system of France and current readers view Meursault as completely absurd, Camus illustrates the innocence in Meursault’s existentialist lifestyle and, because of this, its meaning as well. Society considers Meursault emotionless and therefore immoral. People even despise Meursault because of his disability to manifest his feelings. Steven Poser analyzes Meursault’s psyche in his article “The Unconscious Motivation to Become a Murderer in Camus’ The Stranger:” “Meursault does not lie-- he simply does not feel. For that reason he disturbs people, enrages them, makes them question his humanity. With Marie, who loves him, it hurts to hear that whether he loves her or not does not really matter… With the lawyer assigned to defend him, his indifference to anything, including God, provokes irrational rage… To the judge and jury that tried him, his indifference condemned him to death (260). Poser considers the typical human’s response to Meursault’s indifference: rage. People either cannot stand or cannot comprehend Meursault because of his inability to
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