Thursday, October 11, 2007

Model Selections from the Camus Papers Archive 2

William C5

I thought this was a successful intro / thesis. The way William worded it was what makes it effective.

In The Stranger, by Albert Camus, Camus suggests that mankind is illogical by nature through the illogical actions of the most ideally logical character, Monsieur Meursault. Meursault is habitually indifferent and acts only with regard to his physical being. He is the perfect model for the most logically sound person, as he utterly lacks emotion and thus is able to live life through pure logic. However, Meursault carries out the most illogical actions even though he is supposedly logical, a contradiction that leads to his death sentence and execution.

Emily Ro 6

This is an example from one of Emily's Body Paragraphs. I thought it was a wonderful piece of textual evidence to connect two seemingly different topics: religion and women. I also thought this could've been used to develop M's character in an analytical way--any ideas? Also, this connection between M's reaction to women and religion might be incredibly interesting to pursue a little more. Think about all the connections that could be made from the evidence and Emily's writing from this paragraph.

Meursault is opposed to religion. Religious ideas to him are not “worth one hair of a women’s head”(120). Meursault does not look highly on women throughout the book. When Raymond is beating the woman in his room Marie suggests Meursault to find a cop. Meursault’s response was that he “didn’t like cops”(36). Meursault’s indifference to the situation shows the lack of respect he has for women. When Meursault says that religious beliefs are not even equivalent to a hair of a women, religion to him means nothing, and he possibly resents it. Religion gives meaning to life, and Camus believes there is no meaning to life which is the belief that he shows through Meursault’s rant toward the Father.

Caitlyn H.5

A delightful intro/thesis that deals with the nature and philosophy of human existence. I actually thought this was pretty darn deep. Made me question the meaning of life and stuff like that.

In the novel The Stranger, Albert Camus uses the character of Mersault as an example of a being encompassed in the experience of being human; through Mersault’s apathy comes a glimpse of emotion at certain points in the story. One example of this crumbling facade is the metaphorical revelation he has at the moment of killing the Arab, the other, the breakdown of Mersault in the prison cell as he yells at the priest for his constant speaking of religion. Through these two outbursts comes the epitome of a human: an emotional being who hides from his problems, bottling them up for so long, that he is a stranger to himself.

and the conclusion to Caitlyn's essay:

These two passages suggest that there is a wide range of emotion somewhere inside of the indifferent and apathetic man that is Mersault. He is an example of what can happen to the person who bottles up their emotions into obscurity: they will explode at random times, and the results can be truly disastrous or can bring about great epiphanies about oneself.

Emily L.6

This first Body Paragraph does a great job of using the setting to set up Camus' struggle against society. Because of the successful integration of evidence, Emily allows herself to have some real commentary as to the effect of the placement of images in the scene to effect Camus' purpose. Emily's next two paragraphs also remind me of what a lot of you attempted in your essay--which was to either write about authority, absurdity, or both. For Camus, since we have no control over our own fate (which is absurd)--isn't it even more absurd that people with "authority" can also affect our fate? Not that there is anything we can do about this or that it is even wrong--it is just absurd and illogical. Life is full of irony, isn't it?

Then Meursault notices “a row of faces in front” (83) of him. Camus uses the court scene to symbolize society as a “whole” which Meursault describes that there was nothing to “distinguish one from another” (83). At this point, everyone is looking at him as if they are there to judge him. He “hadn’t realized that all those people were crowding in to see” (83) him, but now he’s at center stage between all the people and it is him versus society. Meursault is in constant conflict with society because his life exceeds beyond his control. The lawyers, juries, and witnesses now have the power to determine his fate. Meursault had been advised to “respond briefly to the questions” (85) and to “leave the rest to him (his lawyer)” (85). Unable to have any word on his own trial, his life is in the hands of others which is ultimately absurd because the witnesses are given the right to determine his life. As a result, the prosecutor makes false assumptions to the case, using non relevant information concerning his reaction on the day of his mother’s death to support what is undefined and what Meursault believes to be plain “bad luck”(92). The trial depicts nothing more than a “perfect reflection of… everything is true and nothing is true!” (91) The prosecutor never achieved a reason for why he shot the Arab, but improvised his own reason. Even without solid proof, the jury finds him guilty. His life was basically determined by people like Thomas Perez, who he met only for one day.

When the father speaks to Meursault concerning religion, it portrays a similar authoritarian over Meursault as the trial. The father insists “God can help you, every man in your position has turned to him,” (116). Society appears to constantly bring in meaning toward every aspect of life. They consider bringing in a priest so before one dies, they could realize the importance of their existence. Normally people want to seek god to rid their sins before dying. However, Christianity is just another belief in attempt to find meaning and order in life by basing it on God’s creation. Truthful to his beliefs and atheism, Meursault refuses to allow the father have religious authority over him because he believes that life is meaningless. Living was pointless for “we were all condemned to die” (117). It appears illogical to believe in God when God takes away life. If one is to believe in god, their only applying a fake proof into why certain rational events occur when most of the time; it’s just the way it is and there is no meaning.

Throughout the novel, Meursault believed that life by existentialism had no meaning or purpose. Without any concern or regards to finding a rational structure, his life was pretty much predetermined not only by fate but by those who afflicted his voice: the jury, lawyer, prosecutor, and the priest. Other people have more power and influence on his life that he did and that was what created the absurdity in the novel. It is not until the end when he’s in jail that Meursault grasps onto his life. Although humans have unchangeable destined fates, he realizes that he can control his emotions. Whether to morn and scream for help or to live the last day of his life like treasure was now his preference and his control. If Meursault had never realized his faults and gained an understanding of his absurd world, he wouldn’t have been able to experience a fulfilling happiness.

Quan T.6

Another take on the same theme:

In The Stranger, Albert Camus creates a paradox between living rationally and living irrationally. Camus’ discourteous tone establishes the character, Meursault, as a “stranger” in society. Meursault believes in living life rationally, however, he lives in a society, which contradicts his own beliefs. Through the absurdity of human society and the futility of truth, Camus suggests that life as a “stranger” is meaningless.

Indications of Meursault’s discourtesies are found during Maman’s funeral procession. Meursault views death as a natural phenomenon which occurs in life. He does not experience sadness or depression; therefore refuses to mourn for Maman’s death while her friends come to keep vigil around her coffin. Instead, he notices the every aspect of annoyance around him. Meursault is immediately irritated by the woman who started crying. At an environment where Meursault is supposed to reflect upon his loss, he only wishes to not “have to listen to her anymore” (10). He also notices that the elders “would look at the casket, or their canes or whatever else” (10). There is a natural tendency for humans to grieve over the loss of friends and family. Meursault’s focuses on observing the irritating actions of the Maman’s friends rather trying to sympathize with their thoughts and feelings. In his eyes, these people are wasting their time because it pointless to grieve over death. Camus chooses these words because they portray Meursault’s callous personality. Meursault’s rational thoughts separate him from the humane people present at the funeral.

Meursault’s insolence grows as the passage progresses. Meursault incorporates more bothersome factors from his experience into his thoughts. He is bothered by the “old people” (11) who are “making these weird smacking noises” (11). Meursault dares to suggest the “dead woman lying in front of them didn’t mean anything to them” (11) since they are “so lost in their thoughts” (11) making weird noises. Meursault contradicts himself because he clearly shows no respect for Maman. While the elders are paying respects to Maman, Meursault only shows concern for himself. He complains about his back hurting. Meursault further reveals that his “back was hurting more and more” (11); emphasizing Meursault’s self-centered personality. Camus carries Meursault’s incivility to another level. Not only does Meursault not sympathize with Maman’s friends, he displays the utmost disrespect by being inconsiderate and thinking solely of his own well being.

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