Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Camus (Post Class Discussion) Period 6


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 6 post here Period 6 post here Period 6 post here

34 comments:

Meaghan S6 said...

During the first day of discussion, Christina first brought up the last two pages of the book. She discussed Meursault’s attempt at starting anew after his death, and I wanted to build on top of it. Camus writes, “For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she had taken a ‘fiance,’ 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 me of hope; for the last 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,” (122-123).
First of all, knowing Camus was an existentialist, it is easy to see why he Meursault thinks that life has no meaning. According to him, life can be lived again, so essentially, why care about dying? This attitude is also reflected when he says that “everybody knows that life isn’t worth living. Deep down I knew perfectly well that it doesn’t matter much whether you die at thirty or at seventy,” (114). I feel that Meursault is just trying to find a way to hide his fear, and he’s had so much time to think that he has convinced himself that he really feels that way.
It is somewhat pretentious that he tries to justify his thoughts by guessing that Maman might have felt that way when she died. He didn’t know that much about her, but he tried to keep himself from feeling guilty by reconnecting with her before his death. He also tries to justify why he didn’t cry over her, and that is another attempt at removing the guilt from his shoulders. Typically, those who face death try to get rid of any lasting guilt, and that is exactly what he is doing.
He admits to no longer having hope, and that is a crucial point. For a period of time when he was in jail, he missed Marie and his old life. He was hopelessly naïve throughout the whole trial, because I think he always thought he would get acquitted and then go on living his life as usual. This point where he finally resigns to the facts is the ultimate moment of realization for him. I think Camus’ purpose in this is to show that dire situations often trigger latent emotions or act as catalysts in changing one’s outlook on life.
The last part of that passage that really stuck to me was when he says that the “gentle indifference of the world” is like a “brother” to him. This completes the character, because the whole book consisted of speculation about his passive attitude, and now he finally admits it. He never really had anything symbolic of a family (aside from his mother that he never seemed close to) so saying that he is akin to indifference is a perfect metaphor. The only things he knew his whole life were lonely, desolate, emotionless routines, and his passiveness truly was his end.

Mario R. 5 said...
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Faedhra said...

Faedhra W6

On our last day of discussion, one of my classmate mentions the sun as one of the symbol in “The Stranger” by Camus Albert which he connected it to the God of sun who’s job was to reveal anything that are kept from any individuals. The one that secret that was expose to the world was Meursault way of living his life. After focusing on many of the passages in the book , I related the sun to the eyes of God, who can see everyone’s action whether good or bad. Nothing can escapes God’s eyes, not even a black ant on top of a black rock.
After realizing that the sun is really looking down upon him, Meursault quoted: “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 he looked like he was laughing. I waited. The sun was starting to burn my cheeks, and I could feel drops f 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 he 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 was stupid, that I wouldn’t get the sun off me by stepping forward” ( Camus 58-59).
This passage show the impact of the sun on Meursault. At the beginning, Meursault wasn’t one who lives life by the book, and also at the ending, we witness how he rejected God because he thought life had no purpose. I think this fact help us understand this passage even better because he show how rebellious Meursault character really is. Meursault quoted: “ It was this burning, which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me move forward. I knew that was stupid, that I wouldn’t get the sun off me by stepping forward” ( Camus 59) . This shows that Camus was aware of his action he even thought they were “stupid” however, that did not stop him to do what he intended to; taking the life of an innocent Arab. Meursault wanted to prove that there is nothing wrong by not binding to the rules of a super authority.
After found out that while Camus was working in Paris , he faces the terror of the Hitler’s Nazis regime. I think Camus created this character Meursault for us to hate him so bad which will made us wonder what kind of individual would want to be like him. Mostly due to his lack of emotions and the way he behaves and thinks. In the eyes of Camus, Meursault would represent every Nazis that participated in the killing of millions of Jews. Just like Nazis, Meursault did not think twice as he opens fire at that innocent Arab whom he barely knows..
Does Camus really believe that human existence does not have any Purpose or is meaningless? Well , maybe because I found out that Camus did right this novel the way he sees this world unfortunately.
As we approach the end of the book we see where the truth about Meursault life came out in court in front of the world . His prosecutor plays a big role by convincing the jury of how inhumane Meursault had lived his life .“ I will prove it to you, gentlemen, and I will prove it in two ways. First, in the blinding clarity of the facts, and in the dim light cast by the mind of this criminal soul.” He reminded the court of my insensitivity; of my ignorance when asked Maman age; of my swim the next day with a woman; ….” (Camus 99) .
Meursault realizes there is no way out because he realizes how much his behavior was the reason he was in Jail. thinking back, Meursault is satisfy with the way he lived his life because for him after your death you just die. For Meursault , there is no after life. As we go down the path , everyone will have to make a choice because on their ways two other paths will be found that have different destination. Meursault made his choice. Now, let’s make ours.

Christina H 6 said...

During today’s class discussion, Benwit brings up the fact that Meursault has a truthful nature that other people did not understand or were unwilling to accept. Camus uses Meursault to reveal the corruptions of society. Relating back to the title of the book, Meursault is labeled as the stranger, the outsider, or even the monster, because his instincts and actions conflict with the rules of society. Like everyone else, the lawyer is appalled by Meursault’s lack of emotion during Maman’s funeral. Camus writes, “He asked me if he could say that that day I had held back my natural feelings. I said, ‘No, because it’s not rue.’ He gave me a strange look, as if he found me slightly disgusting. He told me in an almost snide way that in any case the director and the staff of the home would be called witnesses and that ‘things could get very nasty for me.” (65) A ‘normal’ person would be quick to follow their lawyer’s plan of attack in order to win their case. It didn’t matter if the facts were twisted as long as it gave their side the advantage. However, Meursault refuses to lie and pushes to tell the truth. Camus’s choice of character in this scene is interesting. As stated before, Meursault is the outsider. The lawyer is a character who has the law and the rest of society of his side. The lawyer shows the corruptions in society when he tells Meursault to lie. The character, Meursault, refuses to conform, which is why other people find it so hard to accept him. Another point was brought up by Meaghan in yesterday’s discussion. She said that when a person is about to die, they usually ask for a father. They want guidance and they want to reach salvation. Meursault, on the other hand, bursts out in rage when the chaplain tries to force his beliefs into him. He doesn’t want to be told what to believe or how to live the rest of his life. Likewise, he didn’t want to be told what to feel and how to act upon his emotions. When the prosecutor cornered Meursault in court, because he didn’t know Maman’s age, Meursault recalls, “…I had this stupid urge to cry, because I could feel how much all these people hated me.” (90) Society expects a person to grieve over a family member or friend’s death. Meursault doesn’t believe that crying makes the situation any better, but, at this point in time, he was about to give in to the demands of society. He was about to cry these stupid tears that everyone wanted to see to make sure he had feelings like a ‘normal’ person.

Jessica S. 6 said...

During the first day of discussion, Nina said that she thinks that the jail is Meursaults freedom and I agree. In the first part of the story Meursault is characterize as being an emotionless person. He basically goes through life with no ambition or hopes for the better. For instance, when his boss asked him how he felt about living and working in Paris he said, “really it was all the same to me…I couldn’t see any reason to change my life…when I had to give up with my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered”(p.41). And when his Maman passed away he showed no emotion towards her death during the funeral and was rather annoyed by the other people who came to pay respect for her. And when answers Marie about them getting married he says “it didn’t make a difference to me and that we could if she wanted to” (41). He just has an odd personality, I think that he starts to realize things when he’s in jail and that’s when he starts to show his emotion. I think that when he’s in jail he’s a free from his old self and he can think about anything he wants to. It also shows that he’s relying on himself for once like refusing to see the chaplain because he didn’t want him to preach about god because he doesn’t want to believe in god. In jail Meursault tells us the things he wanted such as Marie and obviously getting out of jail and not being killed. One thing is I think he never gave time for himself to sit and think about all the other things rather than himself. He is also selfish because he says “my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings” (65).

Jessica F. 6 said...

During the last discussion Jessica Sin was placed in the second group and she said something that caught my attention and connected with my theories. My theory was that the sun was a definite motif throughout the book, Meursalt spoke about it often and he mentioned that it reminded him of his mother's funeral. In this quote that Jessica Sin shared with the class changed my perspective on what the sun symbolized for the character Meursalt.
He asked if I had felt any sadness that day. The question caught me by surprise and it seemed to me that I would of been very embarrassed if I had to ask it. Nevertheless I answered that I had pretty much lost the habit of analyzing myself and that it was hard for me to tell him what he wanted to know. I probably did lose Maman, but that didn't mean anything. At one time or another all normal people wished their loved ones were dead. Here the lawyer interrupted me and he seemed very upset. He made me promise I wouldn't say that at my hearing or in front of the magistrate. I explained to him, however, that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings. (p. 65)
Jessica Sin spoke about how the sun had a negative impact on Meursalt, that once he was exposed to the sun it would make him almost go insane. This quote made me realize that Meursalt may have been telling the truth about how the sun was the reason why he shot that Arab, like he said in the quote his physical needs or wants take over his feelings or emotions. When he murdered the Arab he was in the blazing hot sun, it may have been too unbearable for him that he shot the Arab. Meursalt's lawyer was not falling for that because of his insensitivity toward his mother's funeral, they have too much evidence against him that no one is going to believe that the sun was what caused all the commotion. Meursalt also mentioned that the sun was present at his Mother's funeral and that it reminded him of that day. Meursalt was afraid of the sun at the beginning maybe because the sun blinded him and blinded the truth. The truth about how he feels about his mother's death, and the truth about everything that happens in his life. Once you get towards the end of the book he seems to find the sunlight comforting, maybe that was because he was stuck in jail with not very much sunlight that when he got a chance to see it it made him feel happy.

sarah c 6 said...

On the first day of dicussions Brian brought up Salamano and his dog and how they are symbolic to Camus, Mersault, and Maman. I agree with this because Salamano's dog has a disease and Camus also had a disease, so this could symbolize the author's life. The dog can also symbolize the life of Merault because once the dog is gone its like he is set free from Salamano. I think this is similar to when Mersault goes to jail and gets his freedom because he is now alone and able to feel emotion. In jail Mersault starts to think of his life and how he actually doesn't want to die. He says, "But there must have been books devoted to the subject I'd never been curious enough to look into. Maybe I would have found some accounts of escapes in them. I might have discovered that in atleast one instance the wheel had stopped, that in spite of all the unrelenting calculation, chance and luck had, atleast once, changed something. Just Once! In a way, I think that would have been enough. My heart would have taken over from there." (109) This shows that he has a fear of death. He also has time to reflect on his life and think about himself. Mersault says, "And the more I thought about it, the more I dug out of my memory things I had overlooked or forgotten. I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored. In a way it was an advantage." (79) It's almost as if he is released of a burden. Salamano and his dog can also symbolize Mersault and his mother because Maman dies and Mersault is left alone to live his life just like Salamano. I think Salamano and his dog are very important to the book even though they may seem like unimportant characters.

Alexander A.6 said...

During the class discussion over the course of two days, I was caught by a topic I had not thought a lot about when I had originally read the story. The imagery of the Sun acts as if it is its very own character. I believe it was Jessica S. that had mentioned from the book that in a way the Sun as it heats the earth also ignites the rage of Meursault as he to is exposed to it. At certain points of the story the sun plays an essential part. On page 3, after he learns of his mother’s passing, he mentions, “It was very hot”, however on pg. 7 he states, “The room(funeral) was filled with beautiful late afternoon sunlight,” signifying that he found something delightful about the sun even on the usually tragic of days. The symbolism of the sun made me think about something else, for every mention of the sun there seems to be and equal amount of time devoted to Meursault’s constant sleeping after the bad things happen. For instance, after his Maman’s funeral he goes to sleep and then wakes only after meeting his boss again, which he considers a job, he goes to take a nap and returns to work. This made me think about something else when he is in prison after brutally killing an “Arab”, this seems to be the only time in which Meursault has trouble using sleep, and seen to me as his escape from consciousness, perhaps alluding to his overwhelming guilt he saw everyday by means of the Sun. Sleep also proves to be a problem for Meursault after realizing he is going to take the longest amount of sleep known to mankind, death, though even in this moment of truth Meursault still seems as if there is no emotion just as the Sun stays the same everyday, bright, shining, burning all like Meursault in a way making not just the Sun a metaphor for Meursault, but providing clarity and insight into a character that is so deep and complex that it can’t be described definitively by anybody.

Linda Y 6 said...

On the second day of discussion, someone from the first group, I think it was Elina, mentioned Salamano’s dog. The dog left his master for freedom, but Salamano still wants him back. In my opinion, the dog and Maman were somehow connected and reflected Mersault’s life. On page 27, Mersault describes, “They look if they belong the same species, and yet they hate each other. Twice a day, at eleven and six, the old man takes the dog out for a walk. They haven’t changed their route in eight years. You can see them in the rue de Lyon, the dog pulling the man along until old Salamano stumbles. Then he beats the dog and swears at it. Then it’s the old man who pulls the dog. Once the dog has forgotten, it starts dragging its master along again, and gets beaten and sworn at. Then they both stand there on the sidewalk and stare at each other, the dog in terror, the man in hatred. It’s the same thing every day.” Mersault has been living his life as a routine for years, being passive and not taking control of his life. Like Mersault, Salamano and his dog repeats the same situation for years and years. They have gotten so used to it that there was nothing new until the dog runs away. The dog runs away for freedom, happiness, and a chance to live its life to the fullest. When the dog was trapped with Salamano, he was miserable. It was old and probably did not want to live the same way at his age. Maman is similar to the dog. Maman had been living her life with Mersault, in despair. When Maman begins living at the old people’s home, she embraces the fact that she’s living away from Mersault. Maman even has a fiancé and was happy there. Salamano’s dog and Maman were old and decided to live their lives to the fullest. Mersault, on the other hand, didn’t realize that to live life the fullest until the end. Up until he was jail, Mersault, was passive and just let fate guide his life along. Like Brian said in class, “don’t know what you had before it’s gone.” At the end of the book, Mersault says, “For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she taken a ‘fiancé,’ 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, ride me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.” Mersault decided to live life to the fullest. All three of them were nearing death and wanted to live their lives with happiness.

Quan T 6 said...
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Amy H 6 said...

On the first day of the class discussion, one of my fellow classmates, Christina connected the title of the book with Meursault himself. She stated that The Stranger, was Meursault. Meursault didn’t belong in the society he lived in. That people viewed him as a stranger. There’s a quote on page 100- 101” I didn’t have the right to show any feeling or goodwill. And I tried to listen again, because the prosecutor started talking about my soul. He said that he had peered into it and that he had found nothing human, not one of moral principles that govern men’s hearts, was within my reach.” Much like what Christina said, the prosecutor viewed Meursault as a stranger. The actions Meursault produced are not accepted by the prosecutor because his actions are viewed as barbaric among the society he lives in. The society only think this way is because they were brought up this way. By their parents, the media, and the people around them. If society thinks eating chocolate is bad, most people growing will think eating chocolate is bad. Because of the mind washed society we humans live in. The prosecutor claimed that Meursault wasn’t a human when he very much in fact was one. But you couldn’t blame the prosecutor for thinking this way, society helped shaped his mind. Meursault was once a follower in society as well. On page 110 “ … I remember Maman used to tell me about my father. I never knew him. Maybe the only think I did know about the man was the story Maman would tell me back then: he’d gone to watch a murderer be executed. Just the thought of going had made him sick to his stomach. But he went anyway, and when he came back he spent half of the morning throwing up. I remember feeling a little disgusted by him at the time. But now I understood, it was perfectly normal.” As you can see, Meursault did once have emotions. But something dramatically must have happened in his life to make him change his outlooks on life and emotions. I believe Meursault is the way he is, is because he grew up without a father. A father who he didn’t get to spend time with. Judging by the passage, it’s seems Meursault’s father emotions overwhelmed him easily. It seems to have been the same way with Meursault when he was younger when his father disappeared from his life and Meursault had no one but his mother to look up to. And he handled his father’s disappearance by blaming society and deciding to rebel against it.

Quan T 6 said...

During the second day’s class discussion, Christina first suggests that Meursault is directly linked to the title of the book, The Stranger. She stated that Meursault is a ‘stranger’ to society because he does not conform to the human emotions of society. I agree with Christina, but I also believe that Meursault is also a physical representation of the sun. In Greek mythology, the sun god, Helios, is known for telling the truth behind secrets to those they are kept from. Using the character of Mersault, Camus reveals the fatal flaw of society; the inability to accept the truth.
People tend remember the ‘stranger’ things that occur in life and ignore the ordinary. Mersault is the opposite of what people refer to as ordinary. Similar to the sun, Meursault’s thoughts and actions are blinding. Camus writes. “For the third time I’ve refused to see the chaplain. I don’t feel like talking, and I’ll be seeing him as soon enough as it is. All I care about right now is escaping the machinery of justice, seeing if there’s any way out of the inevitable,” (108). As Meaghan has mentioned in class, people often speak to a chaplain to seek purity and redemption before they face death. Mersault does not conform to this idea. Instead, he refuses to see the chaplain and tries to devise plans to prevent his inevitable end. Mersault, like Helios, tells the absolute truth, however inconvenient it may be. Mersault admits that he did not feel sadness nor shed tears on the day of Maman’s funeral. Camus writes, “The day I buried Maman, I was very tired and sleepy, so much that I wasn’t really aware of what was going on. What I can say for certain is that I would rather Maman hadn’t died. But my lawyer didn’t seem satisfied,” (65). Meursault admits that he feels no sadness when his mother died, but his honesty leaves the lawyer in disgust. It is a human flaw that we expect people to feel remorse when their friends and family die. In truth, it is beneficial to think like Mersault because one would not have to endure the pain of sadness and depression. Humans do not accept this way of thinking simply because it seems inhumane. As a result, people cannot live efficiently. Instead, they waste time by mourning for their loss. Truth, like the rays of sunlight, can be blinding and painful to accept. When people cannot accept the truth, they simply shun away from the light and suffer in darkness. However, when people learn to embrace the warmth of truth, they are able overcome obstacles and live at ease. Camus is able to leave a lasting impression on his readers because the character, Meursault is so ‘strange’ when compared to the normal human beings of society.

Ping said...
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Ping L 6 said...

During our first discussion, Linda Y. has mentioned the importance of the jail. She said that the jail is where Meursault reflects on his life in the past. It is where Meursault realizes the mistakes he had make in the past and where he feels regretful of the past.


The jail has a great impact on Meursault. The normal Meursault, before going to the jail, is emotionless. He did not care about anything or anyone around him. However, the Meursault who went through a series of trials in court and who had been in jail was “softened.” In the book, Meursault was “for the first time in years [having a] stupid urge to cry, because [he] could feel how much all these people hated [him]” (90 Camus).

The prosecutor tries to prove to the juries that Meursault was guilty through a series of evidence that proved Meursault’s evil nature. Meursault thinks that these evidences were, indeed, accurate. This means that he, too, believes that he, himself, is evil by nature. This is shown in the following passage:
“He [the prosecutor] reminded the court of my insensitivity; of my ignorance when asked Maman’s age; of my swim the next day—with a woman; of the Fernandel movie; and finally of my taking Marie home with me. It took me a few minutes to understand the last part because he kept saying ‘his mistress’ and to me she was Marie. Then he came to the business with Raymond. I thought his way of viewing the events had a certain consistency. What he was saying was plausible. I had agreed with Raymond to write the letter in order to lure his mistress and submit her to mistreatment by a man ‘of doubtful morality.’ I had provoked Raymond’s adversaries at the beach. Raymond had been wounded. I had asked him to give me his gun. I had gone back alone intending to use it. I had shot the Arab as I planned” (99).

While waiting for his sentence, Meursault was locked up in the jail. There, he “was assailed by memories of a life that wasn’t [his] anymore, but one in which [he’d] found the simplest and most lasting joys: the smells of summer, the part of town I loved, a certain evening sky, Marie’s dresses and the way she laughed” (104). He regrets for him being careless, and for over looking those things that are important to him. His Maman is important to him, but he didn’t pay much respect to her at her funeral. Marie is important to him, but he said that he “probably didn’t love her” (41). He overlooked the importance of those around him and he regrets it.

The jail is not the only thing that had influence on Meursault. He was also influenced by the fact that he was “on the edge of the cliff.” Knowing that he will be given a death sentence if he was proven guilty has a great effect on him. He does not want to die. Knowing that his chance of being given a death sentence is fairly high, he thinks back to what has happened to him in the past to see if he has “missed” anything.

If I am suffering from an extremely serious illness and I know that I will die soon, I would think about my past. I would “look” through it carefully to see if I had missed anything and to see if I want to fix something that I did wrong. The problem with us is that we never think about those things that had happen to us until the day we die. I believe that Camus is trying to convey the idea that we should always care about things and people around us before it’s too late.

Shuyi G 6 said...

On the first day of discussion, a classmate (Sorry that I forget who you are) mentioned Mersault’s decline to the promotion of going to Paris could be revealing his lack of ambition. “Then he asked me if I wasn’t interested in a change of life. I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn’t dissatisfied with mine here at all.” (41) I agree that Mersault is not ambitious and that he goes with the flow. For Mersault, he finds no purpose in his life and believes there’s no need to be ambitious. He is satisfied with his life as he says “…and that I wasn’t dissatisfied with mine at all.” (41) Mersault would not risk his life, even though he knows going to Paris would only benefit. He dreads of changes, because he cannot endure any more disappointments in his life. Even though the book didn’t mention a lot about his history, Mersault must have suffered some great despairs in his life. They are from failures, and from Mersault changing his life first. “When I was a student, I had lots of ambitions like that. But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none if it really mattered.” (41) Mersault had to change his life; he gave up his greatest ambition, study, for work. He was both disappointed and frustrated. Since then, he fears changes, because he fears becoming disappointed. He lets everything happen to him naturally, because he knows he cannot control his fate. Eventually Mesault becomes emotionless and even callous.
Relating to author, Mersault’s life is very similar to Camus’. I found out in a research that Camus has suffered from the time of WWII. He was in his mid twenties, and he was forced to put aside his studies at University of Algiers to experience working in the cold society during WWII. Camus is despair at giving up studies that he despises changes in life. Also, Camus was to express the mood during WWII that everyone is afraid of changes and would only wish a simply and peaceful life, which reflects Mersault’s thoughts for declining his boss. Camus creates Mersault as a character not only to tell his background and his frustration, but also the ridiculousness of the world.

Emily L 6 said...

In the class discussions about The Stranger, the sun was brought up multiple times especially the symbolism that it plays in the novel. On the third day of discussion, Jessica Sin commented on the quote, “I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings” p.65. She mentions how the sun pushes Meursault to do the things that he does and how he’s always pushed over the top. I do agree with what she said because throughout the whole novel, every time the sun appears, Meursault would show an extreme change in his behavior. “I was walking slowly toward the rocks and I could feel my forehead swelling under the sun. All that heat was pressing down on me and making it hard for me to go on. And every time I felt a blast of its hot breath strike my face, I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists in my trouser pockets, and strained every nerve in order to overcome the sun and the thick drunkenness it was spilling over me. With every blade of light that flashed off the sand, from a bleached shell or a piece of broken glass, my jaws tightened.” p.57. When Meursault had the gun on him, the intensity of the sun appears to agitate him, causing him to feel nervous and confused. He becomes extremely uncomfortable and that’s why he starts getting fidgety, gritting his teeth and clenching his fist. The sun’s glare beats on him so hard that he’s just never really aware of what’s going on like when he pulls the trigger and shoots the Arab. That day the sun had caught his eyes, stinging them, affectively forces Meursault to shoot him not once but five times. In court, he blames the sun for his actions but it can be seen as the truth because Meursault is not a man who places any judgment. When Raymond started beating the girl, Meursault was there but he didn’t take any action to stop him nor did it look like he cared at all. What he is a man who lacks emotions so to say he killed the Arab because he was evil or immoral is unlikely and wrong, but it is the physical aspects around him that reflect on his emotions.
Many times we view the sun as a symbol of goodness, light, and comfort, but Camus adversely uses the sun, symbolizing violence and destruction, and it’s what makes the novel so unique and absurd. It’s not till the end that Meursault discovers the warmth of the sun. The sun shines through his window, brightening his face as he gazes into his own reflection. At that moment, Meursault finally realizes that life has meaning and happiness is found only by ourselves.

thespina g 6 said...

During the class discussions about The Stranger, many students brought up the idea that Mersault realized the value of life and freedom during his time spent in prison. I agree with this idea. Mersault lived his life carelessly, filling his days with nothing but pointless and regular activities such as working, taking walks and eating. His reactions to major events in his life were anything but dramatic and lively. He was at his own mother's funeral and acted as though nothing had occurred. Well, nothing for him to feel bad about, at least. He casually drank coffee and nodded off to sleep during the ceremony. At one point in the book, Mersault watched as a girl was being beaten up by a former lover and didn't feel or say anything. At the climax of the book, Mersault shot and killed an Arab man on a beach five times, and later said that he didn't feel any remorse for what he did. My point is that Mersault's way of life and his view on what matters in life changed during his time spent in jail. "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 to feel happy. The cries of the newspaper vendors in the already languid air, the last few birds in the square, the shouts of the sandwich sellers, the screech of the streetcars turning sharply throught the upper town, and that this hum in the sky before night engulfs the port: all this mapped out for me a route I knew so well before going to prison and which now I traveled blind. Yes, it was the hour when, a long time ago, I was perfectly content. What awaited me back then was always a night of easy, dreamless sleep. And yet something had changed, since it was back to my cell that I went to wait for the next day . . . as if familiar paths traced in summer skies could lead as easily to prison as to the sleep of the innocent" (97). I feel that Mersault had a rude awakening during his time in jail. He experienced the feeling of discontent. He wanted his life back. He wanted to go back to being happy and free. He did this because in jail, he realized that he was no longer happy or free. He was a prisoner of his own actions. Which made him also realize that his actions in life do matter. He changed what was to become of him. he realized he was guilty for something he did and it put him in prison. Once his freedom and happiness were taken away from him, he felt the emptiness of his life. He saw that his life was in the hands of others due to something he did. Mersault finally saw that what he thought didn't matter, truly did.

Michael R. 6 said...

On the third day of the class discussions, Taquan was able to elaborate for us the symbolism and reasoning for the use of the sun in Albert Camus’ The Stranger. He told us how in Greek Mythology, the sun reveals all and is power over everything. It is the eye in the sky and watches over everything. In The Stranger, the sun also causes Muersalt to unleash his weapon and take five shots at the Arab on the beach. The sun was the driving force behind a lot of the plot in the book.
There was also mention in our class discussion of Muersalt going against the society. Emily T, Meagan and I all realized Muersalt has no feeling inside. He was labeled “inhumane” in class. Albert Camus was an existentialist and happened to touch a lot on the theme of absurdity in The Stranger. The definition for absurd is 1. Utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false: an absurd explanation 2. the quality or condition of existing in a meaningless and irrational world. He was greatly influenced by other existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger. The reasons we think of Muersalt as an inhumane and emotionless person is because his way of thinking is without logic and senseless which is contrary to our reasoning. Muersalt’s aura of absurdity is evident in the quote, “I drank the coffee. Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn’t know if I could do I with Maman right there. I thought about it; it didn’t matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked.” (p 8) Albert Camus. This strikes me as being rude and kind of unnecessary when one is present at a funeral but Muersalt feels it is just fine.
Albert Camus’ great idea of the world as being meaningless is shown through Muersalt’s behavior. He is a character that is enigmatic and strange to the reader. To Muersalt, there is no point in certain things such as a punishment of death for killing another person because we are all supposed to die sooner or later. Albert Camus’ purpose for the sun was to show that there is a higher power in the world that is regulating his life and guiding him to his pre-determined fate which Meursalt believes he controls. But he does not control the thoughts of the judge or of the jury. When read the death sentence conviction, Muersalt feels nothing and accepts the fact that he is going to die just as he accepted everything else in his life.

Kathy L. 6 said...

During the first day of discussion someone mention the sun. They felt like he was blaming the sun for his own actions and I agree to that as well. I felt like he was blaming the sun as well. He blames the sun for shining on him and everything. On pg. 58 - 59 he mention about it. “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…)

During the second day of discussion, Christina says that the title of the book, The Stranger is referring to Meursault. Meursault is the stranger because he was an outcast. Not only that but he doesn’t show emotion like a normal person does as well. I agree with Christina on that. At Maman’s funeral he didn’t even show any emotion at his own mother funeral and he acts like he nothing have happened.

At the end of the book that was when he realizes why his mother lived her life to the fullest and that he should learn to do the same thing. “For the first time in a long time I though about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she had taken a “fiancé,” 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….” (pg.122 – 123)

At the beginning of the book Meursault haven’t cry or show any emotion at all until later on in the book. “Oh no, that is quite sufficient!” wich such glee and with such a triumphant 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 hate me.” (pg.89 – 90) At that time he was getting scare and couldn’t control his emotion anymore.

Meursault felt like his life was being decided by fate. Not only that but he felt like there was no point of him saying anything at trial because either way he was going to be found guilty. They were arguing his case as if he wasn’t even there or as if it didn’t have anything to do with him. “My fate was being decided without anyone so much as asking my opinion. There were times when I felt like breaking in on all of them and saying, “Wait a minute! Who’s the accused here? Being the accused counts for something. And I have something to say!” But on second though, I didn’t have anything to say. Beside, I have to admit that whatever interest you can get people to take in you doesn’t last very long.” (pg.98 – 99)

Laurie M 6 said...

In our last class discussion Ping explained how toward the end of the novel Meursault finally realizes how important feelings are. It is inevitable that Meursault lives without having any remorse. He says “I had never been able to truly feel remorse for anything.”(p100) Meursault lives his life not thinking about what he should do or what he should have done. He just lives as the day goes by not caring about the feelings of others and how he interacts with people. This is not a healthy way of living considering he is around people almost all the time. For example at the beginning of the book he isn’t interested in tending to Marie’s needs emotionally, he just thinks about her in a physical way. When Marie asks if he loves her he responds by saying “it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so” (p.35) as honest as he is he isn’t thinking of Marie’s feelings at all. He is blunt about it; it was a shock to me to actually think of someone saying that to their spouse. Unfortunately Meursault lived his whole life in that manner until the final days of his life. I had the same opinion as Ping; I realized late in the book that he was a sad character who lacked a large part of life. In my opinion being able to feel is what makes us human. We feel many emotions throughout the day, ranging from anger, sadness, anxiety, and happiness sometimes all this can happen in same day. Being as compassionate as I am, I felt total sadness for Meursault as a person. The only reason I felt this towards him is because all the memories that a person has is linked to the emotion that they were feeling in that point in time. Memories make life worth living and exciting, he lived a life without any stories to tell. In the beginning he was at the scene of a woman being brutally beaten and he didn’t do anything about it, and he didn’t feel any shock or any emotion toward what he was witnessing. This is not what most people would do in that particular situation, when seeing others in pain its normal for people to feel some kind of pain for the sufferer. When Meursault is in his jail cell he begins to realize all that he has missed out on. He thinks of Maman, Marie and all the people who have been part of his life. It was then he wanted to show some emotion he says “I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again” (p.123). His final days are when he comes to the realization that happiness is a beautiful thing. He remembers how his mother had happiness and this causes him to want what she had before she died. This is also why I felt heartbroken for Meursault in the end; he didn’t have the time to live how he should have lived. Unfortunately his not having any sympathy or emotions was essentially the end to his life.

Brian A. 6 said...

On Friday, a classmate of mine, Christina said that she thinks that the protagonist Mersault has a direct correlation to the title of the book The Stranger. I agree with her because Mersault is an unusual character. He is disconnected with the rest of society because he does not cry at his mother’s funeral, helps Raymond write that letter, and shoots the Arab. He is out there, but I also think that Camus did this purposely. I believe that Mersault was made to show the reader the importance to know you do not know what you have until it is gone. On page 77 Mersault is in jail and says “ I had ended up making friends with the head guard, who used to make the rounds with the kitchen hands at meal time. He’s the one who first talked to me about women. He told me the first thing the other complained about. I told him it was the same for me and that I thought it was unfair treatment. “But,” he said, “That’s exactly why you’re in prison.” “What do you mean that’s why?” “Well, yes- freedom, that’s why. They’ve taken you’re freedom.” I had never thought about that. I agreed. “It’s true,” I said. “Otherwise what is the punishment?” This quote justifies my statement that you do not know what you have until it is gone because Mersault realizes that his freedom is gone, and understands his punishment.
In addition, I think that the courtroom is a symbol of society. The law is the will of the people, and the jury symbolizes the entire community. I think that Camus has almost every character of minor detail in the courtroom to show that he thinks that society is against him/Mersault. In addition, the court attempts to make sense of Mersault’s crime but ultimately fails, and sentences Mersault to death. I think society is scared of Mersault because he is a “stranger” and puts him to death because they do not understand him. .

Katie S6 said...

In class I believe Linda Y brought up the meaning of the jail cell Mersault is placed in after he kills the Arab. As a group we discussed the meaning of the cell and how it relates to the title of the book. “From the day I got her letter, from that day on I felt that I was at home in my cell and that my life was coming to a standstill there. Pg 72.” I thought the idea of the jail cell was completely ironic. At the beginning of the book Mersault is a lifeless character to me. He shows no emotion what so ever which lost my interest from the start. However after he killed someone slowly Mersault started showing something inside of him that I doubt I would ever be able to see by the end of the book. He starts to show emotion, emotion towards his relationship with Marie, his emotion towards the idea of being in jail, the emotion towards the idea of sunlight, he becomes a real person. The jail cell was ironic because in jail he is truly alive and real instead of when he was free he was infact trapped and lost at emotion.
Matt S. also brought up the idea of sunlight being a symbol in The Stranger. Matt mentioned that in the book the sun is ironic because it symbolizes Mersaults fate in the book. Mersault become terribly afraid but yet loves the idea of sunlight. For Mersault, the sun symbolized the outcome of his very soul. If the sun rose the next morning it either meant it was his last day to live or just another day before his time comes to die. “I was lying down, and I could tell from the golden glow in the sky that evening was coming on. I had just denied my appeal and I could feel the steady pulse of my blood circulating inside me. I didn’t need to see the chaplain. Pg. 115” Mersualt feels the emotion of being afraid of tomorrow, the emotion of being afraid to die. Yet the sun is supposed to mean freedom and light and hope. However it’s ironic in the story because it infact means death, something we all have to face in out lifetime.

Son N. 6 said...

From Wednesday to Friday, we had a class discussion about Albert Camus’ novel, The Stranger, each and every one of us shared our theories and beliefs on “Meursault,” and why he was so “strange” and was cast as an outsider by the people in court. We also shared what each symbols were, and what they seemed too meant. My fellow classmates brought up many symbolic objects to the book, Brian who when he was speaking, brought up Salamano’s dog and Matt who brought up the sun. In my opinion, I believe that the dog represents all of the characters in the book and the sun represented the actions and rage of Meursault every time he is exposed to it. In my opinion, the dog represented all of the characters in the novel and the themes that ties within the novel; death, love, freedom and hate. I also believed that the dog symbolized not only the characters in the novel, but the author as well. The dog had a skin disease (p. 26) and was also beaten many times; I believe represented the hardships that the author had to overcome during his life. Now the sun in my opinion, was the causes all of the action throughout the novel. During Maman’s funeral, all Meursault could talk about was how the sun was beating on him and getting headaches. He didn’t seem to really care that Maman was getting buried. The sun also made him kill the Arab, seeing that it wasn’t the Arab who did anything, but the light that flashed against the blade into his eyes that enraged Meursault enough to shoot the Arab, and then shoot him four more times, for nothing. These two symbols, I believe were the two main symbolic meaning of life through everyone. Everyone will face death just like Meursault says, and it’ll all be the same, its just the way we leave is different. The sun symbolized anger and frustration to Meursault that the only ways he could have gotten it out, was to go swimming with Marie and ending up shooting the Arab. In the end, Meursault’s indifference wasn’t as different as we believed at all except of his ways of thinking. He finally realizes that you don’t know what you have, until you’ve lost it.

Emily T 6 said...

During the class discussion on the second day Meaghan S. mentioned that Meursault has no ambition and proved this with a quote from page 41 “He was planning to open an office in Paris which would handle his business directly with the big companies, on the spot, and he wanted to know how I felt about going there…I said yes but that really it was all the same to me. Then he asked me if I wasn’t interested in a change of life. I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another.” I think that this quote is a perfect example because nothing is important to Meursault. He believes that life has no actual meaning and that what happens, happens. He believes that everyone’s lives are equal, that no life is greater than another. He has no ambition because he thinks that human nature is meaningless. Why be ambitious in life if in the end it isn’t going to stand for anything? He shows that to him lives ambitions are not important he said, “When I was a student, I had lots of ambitions like that. But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered” (41). Meursault’s view of the real world after schooling was that life’s success does not mean anything. Things in life only have meaning if you give them meaning. Meursault did not give anything in life a meaning because he felt it was useless. Although we know little of his past he seems to have an issue becoming emotionally attached to anything and has a problem perusing anything in life. He seems drawn back and scared of change. Even when it comes to relationships in his life he has no ambition. “I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn’t mean anything but that I probably didn’t love her”. Meursault doesn’t have emotion about anything and he doesn’t care to pursue anyone either. He feels it’s pointless because love has no meaning. Meursault doesn’t give things meanings in life because life is a pointless cycle to him. There is no reason for ambition because what you gain in life you don’t keep. You only live to die and even though many don’t think that way Meursault did and he knew better than to try and make something out of what is ultimately nothing.

Elina R 6 said...

When Megan was speaking, she brought up the fact that toward the end of the book, Meursault realizes that his death was his destiny. She said that even though Meursault was in jail, in a sense he became free. While in jail, Meursault has time to reflect on his life and on the way he lived his life. He was afraid of death and tried to imagine everyway possible to escape it. He was also living his life with unawareness that he had no saying in the way society was running his life. Once in jail, when the priest was trying to make him believe in God, Meursault says: “I don’t know why, but something inside me snapped. I started yelling at the top of my lungs, and I insulted him and told him not to waste his prayers on me. I grabbed him by the collar of his cassock. I was pouring out on him everything that was in my heart, cries of anger and cries of joy. He seemed so certain about everything, didn’t he?.....But I was sure about me, about everything, surer than he could ever be, curer of my life and sure of the death I had waiting for me. Yes, that was all I had….Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why….we’re all elected by the same fate…” (120-121). For the first time, Meursault stands up and does something to show how he truly feels. He doesn’t agree with the priest’s ideas and expresses his anger at him. He feels relived because now he understands that his previous actions wouldn’t have mattered. He was going to die anyway; everyone is going to die anyway. All of a sudden, Meursault is no longer the stranger. Society is afraid of death and turn to prayer and other escape ways in order to forget reality, death. But now that Meursault understands death and that life has no meaning, he is not longer a stranger to destiny and the notion of living.
Meursault expresses for the first time something that connects him to his mother. He says he understands her wish to have a fiancé and her will to live it all again. Now that he sees himself in a similar situation as his mother, he realizes that he too wants live it all again. This sudden connection that he finds with his mother also shows how jail has changed him. Meursault’s discovery of freedom and predestined death, lead him to find his emotions towards someone who he truly cared about. At his mother’s funeral, he was incapable of expressing his feelings, but now, on the eve of his execution, he finds time to remember her and even connect to her feelings and actions.

Emily R 6 said...

During the discussion, Emily T. motioned Camus’ belief of predestination, that is whole life led up to that one moment of “vindication” before his death. Camus shows through the actions of Meursault that some greater being has a plan for everyone. This is shown when Meursault says, “It was as if I had waited all this time for this moment and for the first light of this dawn to be vindicated . Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why. So did he. Throughout the whole absurd like I’d lived, a dark wind had been rising toward me from somewhere deep in my future, across years that were still to come and as it passed this wind leveled whatever was offered to me at the time, in years no more real than the one’s I was living. What did other people’s deaths or a mothers 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 also called themselves my brothers?” (Camus 121). At this moment, Meursault realizes the truth of life and the idea of predestination. To him, it didn’t matter that “he didn’t cry at his mothers funeral” (Camus 121). He honestly felt at his mothers funeral that he didn’t need to cry because of his mother’s death. He too would share the same fate. The only importance in his life is what he thought not other people‘s morals or feelings. He realized that life really had no meaning, that death was everyone’s fate. This is shown when Meursault says, “for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.” (Camus 122). He was happy because the truth to him was that life had no meaning and he was about to meet his own fate.

Matthew S. 6 said...

During the discussions we have had about The Stranger, many interesting topics was brought up such as the symbols that jail and the sun provided. I believe it was Nina who mentioned about how completely ironic it was that Meursault finally finds freedom in jail where he changes into a normal person instead of the emotionless and different person he was when he wasn’t in jail. I agree but I also understand why since Meursault never realized what he had and never really appreciated it till he was in jail and where he could think about it all day long since he had nothing else to do. “I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep himself from being bored. In a way, it was an advantage” (P.79) Moreover, it was in jail where we first saw Meursault’s emotions such as him getting upset with the priest for nagging him about believing in God. I believe it was Mike who said it was the first time he stood up for himself and made a decision on his own instead of following someone else’s actions. In addition, to the jail, the sun was a huge symbol that impacted the story as well. It was Meaghan who brought up about how the sun was both a positive and negative impact to Meursault throughout the novel. For example, how in the beginning of the novel, it was the cause for him for shooting the Arab. “All that heat was pressing down on me and making it hard for me to go on. And every time I felt a blast of its hot breath strike my face, I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists in my trouser pockets, and strained every nerve in order to overcome the sun and the thick drunkenness it was spilling over me. With every blade of light that flashed off the sand, from a bleached shell or a piece of broken glass, my jaws tightened.” (p.57) On the other hand, the sun was also a positive sign as when he was in jail, he would look forward to waking up in the morning and being able to see the sun as it meant a new day and another day to live.

Benwit L 6 said...

In Friday’s class discussion, Quan mentioned that Helios is the personification of the sun in Greek mythology and he reveals unrevealed secrets. However, I looked into other ideas and I found similarities of the sun’s meanings in The Stranger and the Sun card used in Tarot readings. The Sun represents clarity of vision, attained knowledge, and understanding of desires. In negative fortunes, it can also represent unhappiness, lack of friendship, an uncertain future, and the inability to enjoy life.

Camus’ use of the sun as a symbol throughout the novel reflects upon the card’s meaning. During part one, the sun is continuously beating down on Meursault. The heat of the sun pressures him and represents his detachment from his emotions and from society, comparable to the reverse aspects of the Sun’s tarot meanings. Meursault lives through his life, separating himself from his emotions to the point where he’s considered inhumane by others. He considers the all actions in his life, even those as momentous as marriage and his mother’s death, negligible. However, in Meursault’s cell, he comes to a sudden realization and states, “that you can always find something to be happy about. In my prison, when the sky turned red and a new day slipped into my cell, I found out that [Maman] was right” (113). The sun’s presence also allows him to see the timeless truth that been in front of him, that there is happiness in living. He lives what little of his life there is left, enlightened and is able to see the world for what it is, that one life is equal to another and that all lives are bound by the same fate.

Nina F 6 said...

During our class discussion Emily T. made a great point about how the book has two parts, part one being about Meursault being trapped in his own feeling and the second part being his freedom of these certain feelings. When Emily was making this point I strongly agreed with her. The reason why I agreed with Emily T. is that in the beginning of the book Meursault just let everything go by him not a care in the world, and it seemed as if he never gave a second thought to anything that was going on. Meursault was portrayed as someone who had no emotions no matter the circumstances. In the second half of the book when all these things were happening to Meursault for the first time it actually seemed like he has emotions towards the things he was doing and saying. On page 65 Meursault just showed that he had no emotion solemnly on the fact that he did lose his mother but it was like nothing to him. “I probably did lose Maman, but that didn't mean anything. At one time or another all normal people wished their loved ones were dead. Here the lawyer interrupted me and he seemed very upset. He made me promise I wouldn't say that at my hearing or in front of the magistrate. I explained to him, however, that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings.” (p. 65) While listening to Emily T talk about this I found it very ironic because the first part of the book Meursault is physically free and in the end he is physically in jail. So me think on this subject I thought that when someone or in this case Meursault was physically free he didn’t feel the need to show any of his emotions because he thought they had nothing to do with his life or the way he was. But when all these things arise and he is put in jail, him being kept in this place made him realize that his emotions do matter. So while he was in jail he let his real emotions goes. In the end of the books Meursault says, “For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she taken a ‘fiancé,’ 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, ride me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.” This just shows that Meursault being in jail opened up his emotions about everything. His opening up his emotions like him really live life.

luana d6 said...

During our class discussion, many people stated that Meursault really had no emotions until after he was sentenced to death. However, when I re-read several passages, I did see many emotions from him, just not at the particular moments that were expected. For instance, right after he shot the Arab he said "I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I'd been happy." Happiness is an emotion, and I think that the weekend he was spending with Marie at Masson's beach house, was showing that his life was beginning to have meaning again.
previously in the book, Meursault said that after his mother left the apartment, he "let the rest go." I don't think that he was only referring to the furniture, but to the people and dreams. He stated that after he had to "give up my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered." pg 41
I think Meursault was very discouraged by life and that before his weekend to the beach house, he was just beginning to actually live again. In the beginning, he was simply living through the motions of life, but after spending time with Marie, swimming, taking in the delights of nature in the way that he did, he was starting to be less indifferent towards life.
After "I fired four more more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking on the door of unhappiness." pg 59 Unhappiness is also an emotion, and he definitely felt it. Even though, after he is arrested and during the period of investigation, appears indifferent, deep down, he knew everything would change. He didn't know what exactly, but he knew something would.
Up until the actual point that he was in trial, I don't think that he honestly thought that he was going to receive the death sentence or even prison for to long. However, during certain moments of the trial he was frustrated and angry that the members of the court were in more ways than another, ignoring him: "In a way, they seemed to be arguing the case as if it had nothing to do with me. Everything was happening without anyone so much as asking my opinion. There were times when I felt like breaking in on all of them and saying, 'wait a minute! who's the accused here? Being the accused counts for something, And I have something to say.''
Meursault does in fact feel many emotions, especially during the trail. He expresses anger and frustration but also some joy. For instance, when Celeste was cross examined, Meursault said "I made no gesture of any kind, but it was the first time in my life I wanted to kiss a man."
Meursault does not express his emotions in the same ways as others but that does not mean he does not have any, even before killing anybody. He simply accommodates to what life's thrown at him, accepts it, makes logic of it, and then moves on. He's never going to be the type of person who lingers on with things that happened in the past, it won't change anything.

luana d6 said...

During our class discussion, Meagan and I commented that Meursault is very blunt with his opinions. For instance, when Marie asked him weather he loved her, he answered that he probably didn't. Then when Marie asked him if he would marry any other woman that was in the same type of relationship that they are both in, he said sure. He isn't the type of person to lie. In another situation when his lawyer asked him if he had felt sadness the day Maman died, he answered "I had pretty much lost the habit of analyzing myself and that it was hard for me to tell him what he wanted to know......At one time or another all normal people have wished their loved ones dead." As we were commenting in class, Meursault has the ability to admit and word what he feels out loud even if it does make many people uncomfortable, like the lawyer after he heard Meursault's answer about his mother. Its true that he is very blunt and honest about his apparent indifference, however, he's also shown that he does care about what other people have to say about him. Meursault is a walking contradiction.
When he was informed that his mother had passed away, he needed to take two days off from work and when he told his boss, who seemed upset at this, he said "Its not my fault" as a way to justify his reasons for leaving. Then later at the nursing home he said "It was then that I realized they were all sitting across from me, nodding their heads, grouped around the caretaker. For a second I had a ridiculous feeling that they were all there to judge me." These weren't the only instances, with his lawyer, after implying that he didn't really feel any sadness from his mothers death he felt that "he didn't understand me, and he was sort of holding it against me . I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else." This is very interesting aspect of his personality because he'll say what he believes but at the same time he wants to be accepted for those beliefs. He doesn't see himself as different and yet he is very different.
Meursault wants to please other people, like writing that letter for Raymond and then later testifying for him at the police station, and yet those were things he didn't really care about. I think Meursault represents a little in all of us. We do what is expected of us. We live through the motions of life and sometimes we don't even understand why we do half the things we do. Meursault is able to admit to what he's indifferent to, while most of us pretend to care, and he still strives to be understood and accepted for those differences like we all do. Meursault is what we all are, in one way or another, contradictions of what we preach.

michelle p 6 said...

It was mentioned during the class discussions that Albert Camus wrote this book to show that one doesn’t realize what they have until it is gone. I don’t agree that this is the point of the book. If Camus was an existentialist, why would he write about something so positive? I don’t feel as if Camus would look at life this way and therefore, I don’t feel as if that kind of realization is what he prepares Mersault for as he reaches his death.
Although Mersault mentions missing Marie and the fact that his Maman tries to relive her life again towards her end, I don’t feel as if Mersault feels the same way even though he understands it. His tone of indifference remains constant throughout the entire novel. “In fact, nothing could be clearer. Whether it was now or twenty years from now, I would still be the one dying” (114).
After he acknowledges the fact that his freedom has been taken away and his life has become even more mundane by being in jail, his views of life don’t waver. “Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter” (114). Mersault’s tone here is no different from the beginning of the book, before he murders a man and goes to jail. “But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none it really mattered” (41).
When the chaplain comes, Mersault still keeps the same attitude, even with death breathing down his neck. A chaplain comes because a criminal usually finds need for comfort and is desperate to be assured of something, yet this is not the case for Mersault. “In any case, I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn’t. And it just so happened that what he was talking about didn’t interest me” (116).
Mersault mentions missing Marie and wanting to see her, but it is only a fleeting thought, not an epiphany over what he has lost because later in the novel, he shares the same view on her and their relationship that he has in the beginning when her character is first introduced. “That evening Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said it didn’t make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to. Then she wanted to know if I loved her. I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn’t meant anything but that I probably didn’t love her. ‘So why marry me, then?’ she said. I explained to her that it didn’t really matter” (41).
It’s easy for the reader to see that going to jail and the freedom that is taken away from Mersault doesn’t do anything but prepare him for what he feels is going to happen anyway and his feelings for Marie don’t change either. “For the first time in a long time I thought about Marie. The days had been long since she’d stopped writing. That evening I thought about it and told myself that maybe she had gotten tired of being the girlfriend of a condemned man. It also occurred to me that maybe she was sick, or dead. These things happen. How was I to know, since apart from our two bodies, now separated, there wasn’t anything to keep us together or even to remind us of each other? Anyways, after that, remembering Marie meant nothing to me. I wasn’t interested in her dead. That seemed perfectly normal to me, since I understood very well that people would forget me when I was dead. They wouldn’t have anything more to do with me. I wasn’t even able to tell myself that it was hard to think those things” (115)

Simon M 6 said...

On the second day of the class discussions, Christina linked the title “The Stranger” to Meursault. She stated that society, namely the court, views him has a stranger. Meursault was the outcast of society; he had different thought processes and even refused to take his lawyer’s advice to win the case. Camus writes, “I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings. The day I buried Maman, I was very tired and sleepy, so much so that I wasn’t really aware of what was going on…He asked me if he could say that that day I had held back my natural feelings. I said, “No, because it’s not true.” He gave me a strange look, as if he found me slightly disgusting” (65). In agreement with Christina, I can see that he is not a person we would see everyday. Meursault is unique and honest, but it is of no concern to the court. Throughout his whole trial, he was essentially ignored, being labeled as a stranger. I also want to establish a deeper meaning of the title “The Stranger”. I believe that Camus wants to show that everyone is a stranger unless you know them extremely well. The prosecutor uses each witness against Meursault to prove this argument. The conversations on pages 89 to 96 help to guide this theory that everyone is a stranger. The people at the old people home should have been on Meursault’s side of the case, but instead the prosecutor turned their image upside down. One would expect Meursault’s friends to help out too, but even that was hurtful against him. Society and the workarounds of law have turned people into strangers. I believe Camus says that only people as close as family are the only people that can be relied on. Even then, a person’s highest priority is the well-being of themselves. Nonetheless, it is not good to feel lonely. The last line of the book, “For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had to only wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate,” (123) shows that it’s not good to be alone. It is important to be acquainted with these people called strangers no matter how strange they are.

Erika R. 6 said...

On the last day of our class discussion, someone from the second group said that life was predetermined by death and that at the end Meursault was not afraid of that because he accepted that and that he didn’t believe in God because he knew that at the end he was going to die. I completely agreed with this person because if we look throughout the book, Meursault seems to go through life without caring about anything, just waiting for another day to go by and like he is just waiting for death to come. He did not have any aspirations, or hopes, for him life had no meaning. “I’d be able to live in Paris and to travel around for part of the year as well. ‘You’re young, and it seems to me it’s the kind of life that would appeal to you.’ I said yes but that really it was all the same to me. Then he asked me if I wasn’t interested in a change of life. I said that people never changed their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn’t dissatisfied with mine here at all” (41). Camus believes in predestination, so it does not matter what you do during your life, you will end up in the way your life was predetermined to end. If Meursault was anyways going to die, then why would he need to care about anything or even why would he need to believe in God, at last, God was no going to change anything in his life, since it was all already planned. Meursault shows how he thinks that believing in God does not help you to be saved for death, “I was about to tell him he was wrong to dwell on it, because it really didn’t matter. But he cut me off and urged me one last time, drawing himself up to his full height and asking me if I believe in God. I said no…” (69). I think that Camus created Meursault to show his way of seeing how life has no meaning and how everything is like a cycle. You are born with the only purpose of dying. There is nothing that could possibly take you away from death, and after death, what was important? Nothing really. So why bothering with trying to be “good” if at the end everyone is going to die no mattering what you did or did not do during your lifetim