Sunday, September 27, 2015

Living Outside the System

Albert Camus really surprised me at the end of his L’Étranger. For most of the novel, Meursault has been very cold, and unemotional. Throughout the novel, his character lacks emotion. When his girlfriend Marie asks Meursault if he loves her, he claims that he loves her just as much as the next person. Meursault doesn't even cry at his own mother's funeral. That's why, at the end, the biggest surprise was his sudden burst of emotion when talking to the priest. In this scene, Meursault gets irritated and angered at the priest, claiming that he doesn't want to spend the little time he has left before his execution to talk about God. Honestly, I didn't think Meursault would even have the emotional articulation to protest.

In the story, Meursault comments, "Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how doesn't matter" (114). His thoughts on life are so depressing. I don't think that Meursalt ever really lived. And while it can be argued that there are different ways of "living," I do believe that it is impossible to live a life if one doesn't have a purpose. And I don't think Meursault has a purpose. Meursault simply floats.

In the world of existentialism, maybe the depressing world views of Meursault are the outcomes of such a living. Meursault "lives" outside the system of love or sadness; and instead embraces a life without the comforts (and lies) that structure humanity.

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