Using Women: The Objectification Of Women In The Stranger And Zorba The Greek

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Women are often acknowledged as the weaker of the two sexes and are commonly treated unfairly or objectified in current society, shown through prostitution; in history, seen through the unequal rights of women in the past; and in literature, as it is a theme present in both The Stranger, by Albert Camus, and Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis. Zorba goes through most of his life bouncing from one woman to the next, while Meursault has one long-term relationship with a woman, Marie. While these two main characters have somewhat contrasting experiences with women in their respective novels, both share the common action of objectifying women. In both Zorba the Greek and The Stranger, the main character objectifies women; in The Stranger to exemplify the emotions Meursault lacks and in Zorba the Greek as an example of Zorba's Dionysianism. Meursault quickly begins his relationship with Marie Cardona and he sees her as more of an object than an actual human with emotions and feelings, expressed through his constant monologue about her bodily features. He first meets her at the pool and in his account he is very quick to mention that he “brushed against her breasts” (19) and goes on to remember how he let his “head fall back and rest on her stomach” (20). While it is seen as common for some men to initially acknowledge the physical features of a woman more than the emotional aspects, Meursault continues this habit to an extreme extent through his entire relationship with Marie. Later in this relationship, Meursault still speaks mostly about Marie's body. When she visits him in jail, the second thing he notes, after the fact that she entered the room, is about her physical features, stating “From where I was sitting, I could just make out the slight fullness of her breasts and I recognized the little pout of her lower lip” (93).
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