Monday, September 17, 2007

Camus (Post Class Discussion) Period 5




due date: Saturday, September 22

Grading Criteria: Same as Discussion & Open Response

  • 40 points: Quality of Response, Use of Evidence, Analysis of Evidence, & Conventions
  1. Directly respond to something someone said in class. It helps to start with something like "When Blank was speaking, he (or she) mentioned that (paraphrase or quote extensively from your notes). . ." and then continue the dialogue in writing. Again, I am looking for depth with these posts (and they should probably be 300-500 words).

Period 5 post here Period 5 post here Period 5 post here

29 comments:

Mario R. 5 said...
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Angela S5 said...

Yesterday in class there was a passage that someone started to discuss on pages fifty-eight and fifty-nine, and later Will elaborated on it. The passage states, “It occurred to me that all I had to do was turn around and that would be the end of it. But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my back. I took a few steps toward the spring. The Arab didn’t move. Besides, he was still pretty far away. Maybe it was the shadows on his face, but it looked like he was laughing. I waited. The sun was starting to burn my cheeks, and I could feel drops of sweat gathering in my eyebrows. The sun was the same as it had been the day I buried Maman…,” (58) Will said that the sun beating down on Monsieur Meursault symbolizes or represents love and warmth. I found this very interesting and I had never thought of it in that way. It seems to me that in this passage a part of Monsieur wants to walk away from the Arab but he becomes overwhelmed by the sun and just kills him. This reveals that if the sun represents love or warmth that when Monsieur is exposed to these feelings he doesn’t know how to react to them and looses control. Also, although I believe the sun represents warmth I also believe that it represents French society or society in general. I feel this way because if you think about all of the reasons why Monsieur has got in trouble it is because of the rules and restrictions of society. I personally disagree with most of his beliefs, but he does have the right to believe them. The sun like society is “beating” down on him and making him feel that he needs to conform in order to be accepted. If we were not brought up to believe in marriage or were taught that it is okay not to cry at a funeral than we would not find anything wrong with Monsieur. Our society has shaped who we are and that is why we find Monsieur to be so annoying. There is another passage on page 103 that also connects, “Fumbling a little with my words and realizing how ridiculous I sounded, I blurted out that it was because of the sun. People laughed …” (103) I found this interesting because Monsieur is being absolutely honest about his feelings, yet the people who are a part of society laugh at him. It is ironic because even if he annoys me he is always honest, but I think in our society he is misunderstood. He is unsure of what he wants and if he doesn’t feel certain ways then people start to question him as a person. Overall I believe that Camus’ intention or purpose for writing The Stranger is to show how Monsieur Meursault is a “stranger” to society because he does not conform or have the same beliefs as everyone. This is how Camus possibly felt and maybe he writes this book to express his feelings toward society.

Wendy C.5 said...

Toward the end of today’s discussion, Stephen brought up an idea through the comments of others and passage in page 81.He commented on that someone should take Meursault from his bad environment that he lived through, I want to disagree with it. In page 81, Albert Camus writes, “That day, after the guard had left, I looked at myself in my tin plate. My reflection seemed to remain serious even though I was trying to smile at it still had the same sad, stern expression. It was near the end of the day, the time of the day I don’t like talking about, that nameless hour when the sounds of evening would rise up from every floor of the prison in a cortege of silence. I moved closer to the window, and in the last light of day I gazed at my reflection one more time. It was still serious-and what was surprising about that, since at that moment I was too? But at the same time, and for the first time in months, I distinctly heard the sound of my own voice. I recognized it as the same one that had been ringing in my ears for many long days, and I realized that all the time I had been talking to myself. Then I remembered what the nurse at Maman’s funeral said. No there was no way out, and no one can imagine what nights in prison are like.” From these details of what Camus written about Meursault, it gives off a sign that Meursault thinks of his life as if he had never controlled it. It also gives some clues of Meursault grown up in a bad environment, which explain the lack of feeling for Maman and his lack of emotion. Stephen based the comment off the quote. I disagree to his comment because I think Meursault can overcome that situation by himself, yet he did not. It is easy for someone to help Meursault however; up to a certain point no can help him. In normal life, there are situations where the character themselves have to overcome.
Meursault’s lawyer and the lawyer’s counsel helped him change, but he did not. The lawyer had tried to encourage him toward change when Meursault tell of Maman’s death but “that’s not enough” (65). He did not change. With the help of others he still got to nowhere of being helped. The only time he snapped to his senses and act more humane than any of the time in his life was when he is at the end of his life in the last pages of the book (120-122). In the end he feels hopeless and still be the same as before. Camus writes, “As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope” (122). It showed that Meursault believe that death is inevitable. From how Camus made the character like that, he made on purpose that Meursault can’t be changed by anyone and by himself to display his belief of absurdism.

Ricki L5 said...

When Shaun Nigro was speaking, he mentioned that he believes "the seniors who are described looking at their canes and Maman's casket, summarize the narrator's view throughout the rest of the book." I agree with Shaun's observation. I also believe the people's bleak actions at the home is the initial exposure to what Mersault, the narrator, is really like. The novel is very symbolic, and I believe this is an early symbol of the character Mersault. "They would look at the casket, or their canes, or whatever else, but thats all they would look at" (10). Shaun also explains the objects and views in the quote of how they are connected to Mersault. He said that "The casket is a symbol of death, Mersaults ultimate end and maybe even he was already dead inside. The canes being a stiff, boring object, which is not fun to stare at, symbolizing Mersault's lack of interest in life." I can see well why he would think this passage sums up Mersault. Mersault doesn't really seem to care, he is bleak, and seems just as lifeless as a casket and a cane.

Caitlin H 5 said...

Kevin commented of the following quote: “The light shot off the steal and it was like a long flashing blade cutting at my forehead. At the same instant, the sweat in my eyebrows dripped down over my eyelids all at once and covered them with a warm, thick film. My eyes were blinded behind the curtain of tears and salt.” He commented on how it seemed philosophical and that this ‘blade’ meant that he was opening up to emotions and ideas. He went on to say that maybe the think film covering his eyes was really his tears. I concur with the point Kevin is making. He does seem to open up, as Monsieur Mersault comments “All I could feel were the cymbals of sunlight crashing on my forehead, and indistinctly, the dazzling spear flying up from the knife in front of me.” The way in which Mersault describes this is as though he is being dazzled, speared and crashed upon by this blade (of emotions). Evidence of his crying is the “scorching blade” slashing at his eyeslashes and “stabbed” at his “stinging eyes”. Of course our eyes do sting when we tear up, but mostly it seems like he’s been so apathetic and unemotional before now that this wave of emotions is almost like an attack upon him.

Natalia A5 said...

In yesterdays discussion, Chris mentioned how he thinks the book shows how you shouldn't take things for granted. He states how Mersault would put no meaning towards anything that happened to him, and wouldn't take anything seriously. After that, everyone started saying how Mersault was a cold man, and that he started reflecting on himself and his life only after going to jail. Some students even mentioned how they despised Mersault’s personality. Mr. Gallagher then said how Albert Camus created Mersault to bother the reader, but that Mersault was not Camus. After reflecting on what everyone including Mr. Gallagher said, and after reading what I researched about Camus and his beliefs, I came to the conclusion that Camus wrote the book based on how he thought people should live. He also based it on, of course, his theory of the absurd. “Absurdism is a philosophy stating that the efforts of humanity to find meaning in the universe will ultimately fail (and, hence, are absurd) because no such meaning exists, at least in relation to humanity,”(from wikipedia). Camus says in one of his work The Myth of Sisyphus that, “only by facing the absurd can I act authentically: otherwise, I adopt a convenient attitude of wishful thinking.” This defines the exact personality that Camus gave Mersault. In the beginning, Mersault would just live emotionlessly, but then towards the end when he discovered his fate, he began to reflect upon life and change his feelings. I don’t necessarily think that Mersault acted like that on purpose in that beginning of the story. Like Camus said in The Myth of Sisyphus, he can only act real or with emotions once he realizes that humans are unable to find a meaning of life. Mersault himself is an absurdist. He finds no meaning in anything, but then, only after he realizes that, he changes. Towards the end of the book we see how he lets his emotions go like on top of pg.93 “And as if he had reached the end of both his knowledge and his goodwill, Celeste then turned toward me. It looked to me as if his eyes were glistening and his lips were trembling. He seemed to be asking me what else he could do. I said nothing; I made no gesture of any kind, but it was the first time in my life I ever wanted to kiss a man.” Also, right after on pg.97 Mersault says “The trial was adjourned. As I was leaving the courthouse on my way back to the van, I recognized for a brief moment the smell and color of the summer evening. In the darkness of my mobile prison I could make out one by one, as if from the depths of my exhaustion, all the familiar sounds of a town I loved and of a certain time of day when I used for feel happy.” These two quotes are signs of Mersault acting “authentically” as Camus says. As Mr. Gallagher mentioned, Mersault does, in fact, bother many or most readers of The stranger, including myself, but after learning Camus’ view on theory of the absurd, I find that Mersault was Camus’ way of explaining his point of view. Still, I’m not a big fan of the book or of Camus’ theories, but at least now Mersault doesn’t bother me anymore.

Doris T5 said...

A couple of days ago in class Mark brought up the point that Salamano and Meursault are a lot alike in the way that they show emotion. This is shown very early in the book.
On page 38-39 Meursault is heading back to his apartment when he see’s Salamano. He notices that he looks flustered and confused. We already know that Salamano beats his dog and acts as if the dog means nothing to him. So Meursault asks him what is wrong and notices that his dog is not there with him. Salamano’s response is “ I took him to the Parade Ground, like always. There were a lot of people around the booths at the fair. I stopped to watch “The King of Escape”. And when I was ready to go, he wasn’t there…but they’ll take him away from me, don’t you see? …. They are not going to take him away from me are they, Monsieur Meursault. They’ll give him back to me to me. Otherwise, what’s going to happen to me?” (38-39). After Salamano went back inside his apartment, Meursault realized that he was crying and at the moment he say’s “ For some reason I thought of Maman.”(39). In this quote Salamano realizes that he doesn’t know a good thing until it is gone. When Salamano’s wife died he got the dog to try to keep him company. The dog was supposed to be his friend. Eventually he ends up beating the dog and in the end when it disappears he has regrets and starts to show emotion toward the runaway dog. Salmano never loved the dog until it went missing. When he beat the dog he showed emotion of anger and rage but when it ran away it brought the emotion of love and compassion. As Meursault was listening to Salamano speak he remembers his mother. He also realizes like Salamano, that he takes her death for granted. Meursault wishes that he spent time with his mother. So overall Salamano and Meursault are similar in that they only show their emotions when something or someone in their lives leave them. That’s when they realize that they wish for more time or change the way that they treated them in Salamano’s case.

Kev.Tran 5 said...

During the day’s discussion Ronald Do had an interesting idea of why Meursault had intervals between the bullets Meursault fired that killed the Arab directly quoted from the book, ”The trigger gave;…Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace.”(59) Ronald’s theory is Meursault fired the last four bullets after seconds of the first bullet is because Meursault had a sudden rush of feeling and emotion. I agree with the Ronald’s idea because after Meursault’s first gun fire, he must’ve felt a shock. A mental shock that leads Meursault to release his hidden emotions long contained within him in the form of simple gun shots. Hidden emotions that should have been shown at his mother’s funeral, when Marie asks him if he loved her, and when Salamano sheds tears for his missing dog. Meursault has never done anything according to what the outcome may be. He only does something either because he just wants to, or because someone else obliges him to. When Maria asked him if he loved her, there is no clear vision of what is to come after so he just doesn’t answer. When Meursault has the gun in his hand, he has two clear choices: to shoot the mistresses’ brother; or to just walk away or lay down to cool off. Meursault likes to think logically and clear. He likes questions with clear answers instead of questions that ask about motives or emotion. With the heat of the beach sun banging down on Meursault, he is fatigued and can not think clearly and ultimately his resulting choice was to shoot the gun.

Cristiane S 5 said...

In the beginning of yesterdays in class discussion basically everyone was talking about how Mersualt was a cold person and what they thought the reason for that was, but what caught my attention was that towards the end of yesterdays in class discussion, Andrew mentioned how he disliked the way that Albert Camus created Meursault as a character. He stated that he hated how Meursault didn’t see the meaning in life and how he was a dull character because never showed his emotions. “I gazed at my reflection one more time. It was still serious and what was surprising about that, since at that moment I was too? But at the same time, and for the first time in months, I distinctly heard the sound of my own voice. I recognized it as the same one that had been ringing in my ears for many long days, and I realized that all that time I had been talking to myself. Then I remembered what the nurse at Maman’s funeral said. No, there’s no way out, and no one can imagine what nights in prison are like” (pg. 81). I totally agreed with Andrew when he used this quoted to express his point of view to the class, by saying that after everything that went on, it took Mersault a whole day in prison staring at the ceiling to realize the meaning in life and the things that he took for granted. I also think that this passage in the book shows the readers how deep inside Mersault regretted his actions, especially towards him mom. Another passage in the book that made me realize that Mersault had showed his feelings was when he killed the Arab man; I think that this was the highest point in the story, because to me this was his first time expressing his feelings. I also agreed with Janelle when she stated that maybe if Mersault had been sensible towards his feelings for Marie, he would have been able to actually love her and find the meaning in life, maybe he never wanted to express his feelings or he was never thought how to show he’s emotions. Either way I guess at the end he was forced to learn it in a hard way.

Casie said...

On September 20th in the beginning of the class discussion Doris T brought us to pages 58-59 where Camus relates the sun to sadness. Camus uses the sun as a symbol of sadness and no emotion. Mersault is a cold person, however the sun is warm. I found this ironic because the sun is something that give the world energy, and in the great world the sun eventually provides us with our emotion. Ronald then analyzed that it is not that Mersault does not have emotion but that he just does not know how to analyze his emotion. This makes me wonder if Mersault does know how to analyze emotion but he just doesnt want to. Mark then brings up the fact that after the first shot that Mersault made to the Arab he stopped. This convinces Mark that Mersault does in fact have emotion. Ashley then shared some back ground information on the author Albert Camus. Camus grew up in Algeria his father died when he was young, and he did not get along with his mother. Camus is reflecting his emotions through the character of Mersault. Ashley then brings us to page 35 "If we know ourselves we should die" Mersault says this while speaking to the lawyer. This is also when Mersault tells him that he has lost how to analyze himself, he is not aware of his emotions or to prove guilt.

Edmund H5 said...

I agree with Ashley, during the first day of the literature circle, when she was explaining how the author expresses his belief that sin doesn’t exist. After all one of the themes of the book is existentialism which is a philosophy about how fate is created by a person’s observations and experiences since the universe cannot be understood with so many paradoxes, and irrational events. In this belief sin is only a sin if it considered one in the eyes of the beholder. “[Raymond] asked [Mersault] didn’t [he] think it was disgusting and [he] said no” (28). These are two people’s beliefs going against the other; one finds it alright to beat a dog while the other finds it inhuman. Yet these two characters go on living out their lives with what they believe is the meaning to life. Raymond’s life is ruled by his emotions, such as when he beats up his mistress for cheating on him. However Mersault lives life emotionless since he doesn’t care about his career, family, or personal life all of which are essential to a man’s livelihood. When Mersault’s life is threatened his belief system was shaken but eventually Mersault finds comfort after realizing that it doesn’t matter how one reaches death either by old age or execution. Mersault has adjusted his beliefs to find comfort and acceptance in his death which shows that beliefs can be tweaked to view things differently. I believe Ashley’s about how the author view sin since it is consistent with his novel “The Stranger.” Destiny is not written in stone and that it is created by our own individuality.

Danielle S. 5 said...

In our student run discussion on the novel The Stranger written by Albert Camus, Andrew stated that he felt Meursault really didn’t show he had remorse for his mother at her funeral “Meursault doesn’t really show he care’s about the death of his mother all he wants to do is sleep. The incident doesn’t seem to phase him” (stated by Andrew.) I absolutely agree with this statement. Meurasult’s mother was an important person in his life as are all mothers, and to just brush it off as nothing is unusual. “ The blood-red earth spilled over Maman’s casket, the white flesh of the roots mixed in with it, more people, voices, the village, waiting in front of a café, the incessant the nest of lights that was Algiers and I knew I was going to go to bed and sleep for twelve hours”. (pg 18) In this quote Meursault is giving the reader a visual picture of the sights and sounds around him while he is in the bus traveling through Algiers on his way to his mothers nursing home and while everything’s going on, all he can envision himself doing is going to sleep. Later on Meursault goes to his mother’s vigil and the caretaker explains to him that the casket was accidentally sealed and then proceeds to open it but is stopped by Meursault because he doesn’t want to see his mother’s body “We’ve put the cover on, but i’m supposed to unscrew the casket so you can see her, he was moving toward the casket when I stopped him. He said you don’t want to see her? I answer no he was quiet, and I was embarrassed because I felt I shouldn’t have said that”. (pg 6) the strange thing is that Meursault realizes that his request not to see his mothers body wasn’t taken so well as he states “I answered no he was quiet and I was embarrassed because I felt I shouldn’t have said that”. In a way its understandable that he didn’t want to see his mothers body because one would think that if you really loved someone it would be really uncomfortable to see them dead in a casket. But looking back on the way Meursault thinks and acts about his mothers death its hard to believe that, the reason he didn’t want to see his mother before the funeral was only because it would have been disturbing for him. It will always remain a mystery why Meursault acted the way he did when dealing with his mothers death only Albert Camus knows the real answer.

William C5 said...

When Kevin Tang was speaking during Friday's discussion, he brought up interesting information regarding Camus' strong belief and conveyance of Existentialism. He mentioned some key beliefs of Existentialists, such as the denial of religion and the forging of one’s own destiny. The information he contributed correlates with some significant features Camus created Meursault to have. One prime example is Meursault's definitive denial of religion, shown when the magistrate “draw[s] himself up to his full height and [asks Mersault] if [he] believed in God” (69), in which “[Meursalt] said no” (69). Camus strongly voices his beliefs, continuing Meursault’s conversation with the magistrate by describing the magistrate’s belief in God, where “if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless” (69). Camus delves a little into his belief of the “absurd”, as Natalia brought up. He demonstrates this through the magistrate’s search for meaning in life through God, only to “fail” when he receives a gut-wrenching blow during his conversation with Meursault. Not only does Camus voice his beliefs through Mersault by having him deny religion, he also shows Mersault’s ability to forge his own destiny in life. “[Meursault] had lived [his] life one way and [he] could just as well lived it another. [He] had done this and [he] hadn’t done that. [He] hadn’t done this thing but [he] had done another. And so? It was as if [he] had waited all this time for this moment” (121), when he finally comes to the realization that he is able to forge his own destiny by how he chooses to live his life.

Mario R. 5 said...

Last week in class we started the class discussion on the book The Stranger. I was really impressed on the class’s different points of view. Many of the topic’s bought up in class were very interesting, but two things that caught my eye were the sun being a symbol for monsieur Meursault emotions. Another thing that was brought up that didn’t grab my attention while I was reading the book was how easy that Monsieur Meursault became friends with people.
In the book The Stranger by Albert campus, “campus makes Monsieur Meursault an emotionless character but to make up he makes Meursault talks about the sun to express his feelings”(said by Ronald Do). A great example of this in the book is page 58-58 when Meursault and the Arab are about to get in a conflict the passage reads “the sun was starting to burn my cheeks, and I could feel drops of sweat gathering in my eyebrows. The sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried Maman, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me, all the veins in it throbbing under the skin. It was this burning, which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me move forward. I knew that it was stupid, that I wouldn’t get the sun off me by stepping forward. But I took a step, one step forward. And this time, without getting up, the Arab drew his knife and held it up to me in the sun. The light shot off the steel and it was like a long flashing blade cutting at my forehead.” The sun in this passage is expressing feelings Meursault towards his situation and the Arab. The reason that I agree with Ronald is because before something happens to Meuresault he starts to talk about the sun.
Another good point that was brought up in class was how Meursault becomes friends with people easy like Redmond who he just met and knows how a short fuse and just beat his girlfriend half to death and ask if Meursault want to be friends with him and Meursalut said sure it doesn’t bother him. I think that if meursault made better choice about his friends then he wouldn’t have got arrested and put in jail

Stephanie P. 5 said...

Having the discussion gave most readers a better understanding of the book, “The Stranger” by Camus. In the discussion readers brought up: Ideas that other readers didn’t take notice of, characters who were originally thought of as insignificant, possible symbols, and overlooked similarities. The discussion actually helped in clearing up some confusion readers had while reading the book.
During the discussion a possible symbol was brought up in the book by Doris. Mersault says, “the sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried Maman, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me, all the viens in it throbbing under the skin. It was this burning, which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me move forward. (pg.89)” After she read the qoute to the class Doris then said she thought the sun was a symbol. I thought about it and agreed with her. Infact I believe the sun is a symbol Mersault’s emotions. On the day that his mother body was put to rest and the day that he, Raymond and Moris had their confrontation with the Arabs he should have showed some sort of emotions but he didn’t, but in both scences he does describe the sun and the uncomfortable heat that he’s feeling. Maybe it’s not the sun thats making him so moody, mabye it’s the emotions and inner turmoil he fails to let go of. Also the book explains that Mersault shoots the Arab once, the he pauses and shoots the motionless body four more times. I believe this shows that Mersault is aware of what he’s doing but continues to shoot because he’s releasing the anger inside of him.

Rodney B5 said...

During our class discussion, Chris said that the book is saying not to take anything for granted because you can lose it anytime. He continued this by saying how Meursault did not put much thought into anything in his life and did not analyze anything much. After this statement many people began to say that once he was in jail he started to crave things that he could be able to do anytime if he were not in jail. In a sense he began to show some emotion when his freedom was basically taken away from him. I agree with all these comments. Meursault did not show emotion at all throughout the entire book. He kept to himself and felt indifferent toward everything that occurred to him even when his mother died and when Maria asked if he loved her. He never faltered in hiding his emotions. Once in jail I think he began to show emotion because, like Chris said, he realized he had taken things for granted. Meursault begins to say how he misses things and that if he was not in jail he would be doing what he missed. I do not believe that this is the only reason why he began to show emotion. I think that he also began to show emotion when he realized how much people really hated him. “He then asked the prosecutor if he had any questions to put to the witness, and the prosecutor exclaimed, ‘Oh no, that is quite sufficient!’ with such glee and with such a triumph look in my direction that for the first time in years I had this stupid urge to cry, because I could feel how much all these people hated me.”(p. 90) This is the first time he actually comes to crying. He did not even feel this way when his mother died. The jail process seems to have made Meursault begin to feel and show his emotion.

Derek D said...

At one point in the class discussion Mark mentioned how Mersault and Salamano are in the story to balance the emotional quota. Mersault rarely shows anything resembling emotion, and Salamano beats his dog in frustration thus showing a degree of emotion. It was also noted in the discussion that Camus purposely placed Salamano to provide us a person to compare Mersault to. In the text on page 39, Salamano says “They’re not going to take him away from me, are they, monsieur Mersault? They’ll give him back to me. Otherwise, what’s going to happen to me?” Clearly Salamano feels lost without his dog, who was his companion since his wife had died. All the while he had treated the dog like something worse then garbage. But as soon as the creature was gone, he realized how alone he was. His situation was not dissimilar to Mersault. Mersault lost his mother, his only relative. Normally a person would be crushed by the loss of someone so important. However Mersault is not even fazed by the loss. Salamanos reaction is what one would expect from a person who lost his only companion; he is depressed over the loss of his dog. Showing affection to another living creature can be argued as an essential human trait. Mersault does not experience any feelings of regret, which leads to another question entirely. Is Mersault human or something else? It’s an idea that was lightly touched upon during the class discussion but never really expanded on. Opinions seemed to be polarized. Some people in the class believed him to be human, just in need of help. Others seemed to deem him as an inhuman beast. My personal belief is that Mersualt is more human than anyone is comfortable considering, not human in an emotional state; he is just the epitome of physical man. He is a person ruled by his physical self. He is not driven by emotions, he lives simply a person stripped of all emotion. He is not binded by whimsy, he sees things as they are. Something many people refuse to see. After all that just takes away from the beauty of life itself. Life is nothing without emotion so the real question to ponder is; Is Mersault really living?

Derek D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen d5 said...

During our student run discussion about Albert Camus' "The Stranger," everyone agree that Monsieur Meursault was a weird character that never display emotions including at his own mother funeral. But, Natalia, Diana, and Eddie mention ideas about Meursault that made sense to me. First, Diana mention how Meursault is always observing other characters emotions, the women at his mother funeral, Raymond anger about his mistress and the Arab, Salamano feelings towards his dog. Diana said the reason for this could be that Meursault wanted to display these emotions. "My reflection seemed to remain serious even though I was trying to smile at it. I moved the plate around in front of me. I smiled and it still had the same sad stern expression," (page 81). Diana also mentions that Meursault could have all along been searching for a meaning of life but later learned that their was no real meaning of life. "Then I remember what the nurse at Maman's funeral said. No, there was no way out...." (page 81). This meaning that everyone has the same fate, death and there is no escaping it.
Natalia also brought up something that I found interesting is that Camus based this book on the idea of absurd. This make sense to me because absurdism is a philosophy that humans exist in a meaningless, irrational universe and that any search for order by them will bring them into direct conflict with this universe. This is the reason why Camus give Meursault the ability to not find meaning in things or show emotions "What did other people's deaths or a mother's love matter to me; what did his God or the lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we're all elected by the same fate, me and billions of privileged people like him who also called themselves my brothers? Couldn't he see, couldn't he see that? Everyone was privileged people. The others would all be condemned one day. And he would be condemned too." (page 121)
Eddie mentioned another great point about how existentialism is the idea that there is no meaning to life but our own meaning, which I think is one of the theme in "The Stranger." " For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt I understood why at the end of her life she taken a "finance," why she had played at beginning again. Even there, in that home where lives were fading out, evening was a kind of wistful respite. So close to death, Maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all again. Nobody, nobody had the right to cry over her. And I felt ready to live it all again too. As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid of hope: for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself-so like a brother really- I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again."(pg.123) Andrew said how Meursault behaviors made him angry because he was a dull character that was just going through life and not living it. But as Mr.Gallagher mention Camus did this on purpose, he wanted Meursault to bother the readers because our meaning of life or at least what we think is the meaning isn't the same as Meursault. As Meursault said how he was happy with his life so I come to the conclusion after hearing Natalia, Diana, Eddie and Andrew that maybe we are the strangers, the people in Meursault's society and the readers because we don't understand Meursault. Camus purpose for this novel could be to question our "meaning of life" based on the way Meursault lived his life.

Kenneth M5 said...

Well the point Doris was making about the sun’s symbolism being important to how Camus made Mersault react to the Arab. Mersault killed the Arab because of the sun. I think that most people took the sun as being a symbol for warmth and basically good things. I think that Camus was in fact using the sun as a different symbol. I think he as using it as something that represents the feeding or building of something. The sun literally feeds plants and animals eat plants, so the sun feeds everything in our world. The sun feeds Mersault’s marginally small dislike of a guy that hurt his new friend and makes it into something bigger than he meant it. Now onto anther fact that Andrew was making in how Mersault was a depressed guy. I didn’t feel that Mersault was depressed at all, although he wouldn’t be that fun. He didn’t flat our tell us how he felt about his mother. He left little clues to how he felt through out the book though his initial reaction to smoking on page 8 shows how he felt. He wasn’t going to do something he enjoyed because his Maman was there. He was willing to sacrifice part of himself for his Maman. Also on page 12 he wanted to take a walk but he didn’t because of him Maman. So he didn’t enjoy something as much has he could have, which a lack of enjoyment could be taken as a sign of sadness. He loved his Maman although he didn’t know how to express it or analyze it. Although he never analyzed himself because of his belief that when you know all of yourself you don’t deserve to live. This also comes back to his reaction to the religious man at the end of the book. He starts to show extreme emotion. This is because he starts to look into himself more now that he is close to death. He can truly know himself because he is going to die. So his belief has come full circle.

Mark D5 said...

I would like to start off this blog with a point that Steven made. While in discussion he made the point that Mersault and Salmano were not necessarily the opposite characters of the book but the Robot Women was. This was an excellent point that got blown off by the class. Meursault has the tendencies to never know what he truely wants and to never have emotion. Robot Women knows what she wants, how shes going to get it, and every detail in between. "While she was waiting for her first course, she opened her bag, took out a slip of paper and a pencil, added up the bill in advance, then took the exact amount, plus tip, out of a vest pocket and set it down on the table in front of her." (43). Also I really do not understand why Camus puts her into the trial at the end of the book. There is no doubt in my mind that I think she is an important character but what was the conenction between them for her to attend the trial. Because she ate with him one time at lunch? Or maybe Camus felt like putting the exact opposite of his main character in the court room with him to symbolize how Meursault life could have been if he had emotion; Free. Also, I strongely disagreed with Andrews comments about Meursault and his need to make people miserable. He does not want to make people misable. He doesn't care enough to go out of his way to put a frown on anothers face. But overall, the student discussions were very intellectual and gave more depth to the story.

Frederick Y. 5/Blogging Profile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frederick Y. 5/Blogging Profile said...

As our Student Run Discussion Progressed, Ashley brought up a point that was conflicting to Camus.' She stated that what he thought shouldn't be analyzed. If he didn't want to be analyzed then why did he write this book? Did Camus not realize that students would be reading this book and discussing him. If he embodies Mersault as some people have stated, he sure isn't a “stranger” to the public eye now. How could he possibly be one if the book got published? On page v of the Translators Note it states that “what little Mersault sas or feels or does resonates with all he does not say, all he does not feel,[and] all he does not do.” What the translators note is saying is that whatever Mersault does, Camus doesn't. Camus has a strong could have had a strong relationship with his mother then if the translator's note states true, as Ashley hasn't stated. Maybe the novel wasn't written through the eyes of Mersault, but it may be possible that the book was written to show how he wanted his life to be.

Kristin D. 5 said...

In the first discussion it was kind of like a practice round and opinions were not as in depth and explained throughly but Ashley shared her opinion about the meaning of the book and the meaning of the title. “The Stranger” she commented that it was about how Monsieur Meursault did not have a close relationship with his mother and how that makes him a stranger. Many students agreed with her opinion saying that it didn’t seem like he had a relationship with his mother and that the reason why he killed the Arab was because of the inner feelings of anger he had for the lost of his mother . I would have to say that I disagree with this. Although some of the opinions given about this subject in the first discussion was not really referred back to quotes Ronald and Shawn disagreed as well commenting that “Meursault was a stranger to society and it has nothing to do with his mom” and “the book doesn’t mention relationship with his mom it is mostly because of the way the character ways of living irrationally.” completely agree with Ronald and Shawn’s input. I don’t think that “The Stranger” is about the lost of a mother and how it leads to murder. Doing further research on Albert Camus and the book itself I learned that it is based on the beliefs of existentialism which many students touched upon explaining that humans define their own reality and how existentialism is the opposite of rationalism and it emphasis importance of freedom of choice and individual existence. Monsieur’s meursaults peculiar personality throughout the book and how he reacts and his look to life and inability to analyze his actions makes him a stranger to society not a stranger to his mother. “To be honest, I knew that there was no difference between dying at their years old and dying at seventy because, naturally, in cases, other men and women will live on, for thousands of years at that.... It was still I who was dying, whether it was today or twenty years from now.” (pg 160) Meursault in this quote states that he doesn’t feel like he can escape death and that no matter what it is going to happen. It also shows his existentialistic look toward life.

Ronald d5 said...

During the class discussion on Friday, Ashley mentions the book title being Stranger is describing Mersault’s relationship with his mother and I agree. Mersault’s person is very physical and does not seem to make relationships all it is supposed to be. The book opens with Mersault’s mother’s death and all he has to say about it is that it is not his fault that he can not make it to work because his mothers funeral is going to be taking place. I asked my boss for two days off and there was no way he was going to refuse me with an excuse like that. But he wasn’t too happy about it. I even said, ”It’s not my fault.” He didn’t say anything. Then I thought I shouldn’t have said that.”(1) The way he deals with this is very unloving. Through the diction Camus used for Mersault does not show any kind of hurt or pain of a loved one dieing. No words used in that sentence expresses nor has a suffering connotation. He even uses the excuse “It’s not my fault” and with an excuse like that, it is going overboard in how you should not feel. To say that a death of a loved one was not your fault why you should not have to go to work proves that he is not even emotional. He just sees it as an excuse that he is not making up to get off work. Another time he showed his stranger like relationship with his mom is during the funeral. It starts like “A minute later he asked, ‘Is that your mother in there?’ Again I said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Was she old?’ I answered, ‘fairly,’ because I didn’t know the exact number.”(16) He does not even know his mothers own age. Basic knowledge of his mother he is not even sure of how can it be that he even had a relationship to her? He just answers with relative numbers to play it safe. A stranger to someone else describe the fact that the people do not know anything about eachother and Mersault just about does not know anything about his mother.

Steve T 5 said...

Hello everyone. For the class discussion we had in school, period 5, I must say that I got lost in a quite a lot of the conversations; Please speak louder. But from what i heard, everyone made some great and valid facts about the main character and "his" book. And while mostly all of those facts were obvious to everyone who read the book, they are exactly what made the discussion flow smoothly throughout the classroom: Someone would read a quote, and everyone would make a response- at least in their head. For example, almost everyone in the classroom would agree if we said that, in the book, the theme of, "you don't know what you have until we lost it," is constantly touched upon. Casie, Chris, and others all said this, "don't take things for granted," when they participated in the conversation. So to make things simple, the concepts of the book were really easy to read and take notice upon: Camus wrote a good book he did. From reading the book, we can see a man who has no motivation to live life the way most students and people do nowadays. A way where we must strive to be better and known- where drama and emotion matter. But to him, he could care less. Mark said, "he's not indecisive, he just doesn't care." And see? We can all agree to that, and to the fact that he is indeed a strange man. AND! In Class, Mr. Gallagher said that the main character in the book would irritate you a little bit no matter what, even if you liked him! Mr. Gallagher couldn't be wrong. He's our teacher. But moving on, our teacher did say that we missed some good points in the class discussions. I don't know what they are, but I want to touch upon something that wasn't brought up in class. -While we were talking about the meaning of life and yatta yatta, I noticed the way the main character processed his thoughts. I wrote this on a quote for page 36: "She asked me to go find a policeman--yatta yatta--One showed up anyway with the tenant from the third floor, WHO'S A PLUMBER." Look at what i capitalized: "Who's a plumber." Throughout this book, he gives us random information from the thoughts that just randomly pass by in head. When you hear it, you think, "well...wtf? I don't care if he's a plumber- how do you know that anyways? You don't know his name?" But then again, random, "meaningless" bits of information flows through our head constantly just like it does in the main characters head. In our conversations, you may hear things of the nature of the plumber gig, and you keep talking. We all talk with our friends- meaningless talk or not, we do it, and that's what we may live for. The main character may live to do nothing but smoke and sit around, but it works. Everyone has their own way of living...of course... until they destroy someone else's way of living. Refer to how the main character is sentenced to death after killing someone's life and lifestyle. But yea, I'm ending there; I'm going to bed. Good night and have a Happy Monday.

Kevin Ta 5 said...

The discussions we had on The Stranger during the course of Monday, Thursday, and Friday were all very fascinating. Shaun started out Thursday’s discussion by delving into Meursault’s distance from civilization. The title of the novel can mean that Meursault is a stranger to society. Meursault’s detachment is only made worse when the court persistently focuses on his treatment and reaction to his mother's death rather than the actual murder he had committed, as Shaun had mentioned. Everyone else in the class generally agreed to this. Meursault is an emotionless man who only finds his feelings in tangible situations, thus his indifference to the world around him. He doesn’t let emotions control him; he seems to go with the flow. For instance, Stephanie said that on page 59, Meursault had the chance to turn around before killing the Arab, but instead, he kept walking towards the enemy. This was “crazy, because he didn’t even know Ray well enough” to get involved with his conflicts. Doris expanded on this with page 58, where Meursault seems to “use the sun and heat as an excuse for killing the Arab”. The same sun was beating down on him during his mother’s funeral procession. In addition, Stephanie brought up the point that it was “hard for him to show emotion; he didn’t know how to answer back” or react to situations. Danielle stated that perhaps Meursault was never taught emotions, and Rodney agreed, saying that he probably learned a bit eventually. In essence, Meursault is not a cold man; he just sees the world differently than most people because he either lacks emotions or chooses to reject them. Personally, I found that this passage on page 120 describes Meursault’s personality very well: “He wanted to talk to me about God again, but I went up to him and made one last attempt to explain to him that I had only a little time left and I didn’t want to waste it on God. He tried to change the subject by asking me why I was calling him “monsieur” and not “father.” That got me mad, and I told him he wasn’t my father; he wasn’t even on my side” (120). Meursault is indeed an existentialist who denies religion and sticks to the literal sense of the world.

ashley S5 said...

I found the discussion on The Stanger quite interesting. I was foud on how everyone's opinion matter even though each person contained a variety of concepts and ideas of translating the message of The Stranger.However i respect and agree with Christine's comment on the similarities of behavior between Meursault and Raymond's personalities. Both share agreession and hatered in core their hearts and soul. This is proven through the passage of Raymond and Mersault disscussion on punishing Raymond's girlfriend. "he asked if i thought she ways cheating on him, and it seemed to me she was, if i thought she should be punished and what i would do in his place, and i said you cant ever be sure, but i understood his wanting to punish her" (page 31).
They both agree on revenge against those who dissappoint you and go against your wishes. they both also are emothionaless spirits. this is proven through the following passages " He'd beaten her till she bled. He'd never beaten her before.i'd smack her aorund a little, but nice-like, you might say. she'd scream a litte. I'd close the shutters and it always ended the same way. But this time it's for real. And if you ask me, she still hasn't gotten what she coming."( page 31) and through theni fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness" (page59).
It's as though even when they accomplish their act of punishing their enemies they fuse for revenge is not completed until thier enemy has lost everything they once cherish, their will to live.

Andrew D 5 said...

9-17-07
Shaun talks about the characterization of Mersault on p.10 paragraph 2 at his mothers funeral. Ashley said that Mersault doesn’t show respect for his mom. She also says the stranger is Mersault to his mom. I say Mersault is the stranger to the world and acts like he doesn’t know or care about anyone so he won’t be disappointed when something bad happens to them. I wonder if he even cares about himself. Danielle agrees with Ashley about how shady it was of Mersault not to want to see his mother’s body. Cathleen then adds to the argument that Mersault is emotionless on the bottom of pg.24 when Mersault went to work and nothing changed. Mark loves the main character, he talks about how he is laid back and doesn’t make up his mind. William then spoke about the shooting on pg.80 when Mersault says it was like a game. Ricki then brought up some Camus history about how he loved a woman named Francine but they never married. Camus is always contradicting happiness and sadness. Rodney disagrees with Ashley and Danielle and Cathleen because he thinks Mersault has respect for his mom. Rodney thinks Mersault is just embarrassed and ashamed and partially accountable for her death.
9-20-07
Shaun speaks about the book not being about Mersault and how its about being a stranger to society and the way you choose to live your life letting nothing bother you. Steff Pierre went to talk about the murder on pg.59. She brings up Mersault’s head hurting and burning up and how he could have went back to his friends cabin. How Mersualt uses the sun as an excuse for walking towards the arab and she talks about the symbols of the sun and the personification of the world; Mersault is cold and machinelike. Still on the topic of the murder Ronald jumps in saying the sun sparkd his emotions and when Mersault shattered the exceptional happiness of the day like the beach with Maria (pg.50).Mark agrees with Ronald and Marks says Mersault pauses after the first shot because he realizes how angry he is. Danielle totally agrees saying this is his grieving over his mothers death and that Mersault jus broke down. Ashley did some research over the past day or so on Camus and found out that he grew up poor, his father died on him and he and mom were not close and Camus married a drug addict. Kevin went back to the murder and said how the film over his eyes was Mersault’s way of crying from the inside. Danielle then talks about how he never grew up to knew how to express his feelings. Ashley talks more about Camus’ beliefs and how he says there is no sin and if we know ourselves totally then we should die. Very depressing and can tell Camus had some pipe dreams in his time. Mark talks about Solomano and how he and his dog represents the love that should have been between Mersualt and his mom. Steff agrees with mark. Then Ronald brings up a great point about on pg.39 when Mersault jus starts to think about his mom when he reminds himself he needs to go to bed. Mersault doesn’t take the time to think or live or feel anything because he’s afraid of inevitably being hurt.