The Outsider

Sample essay topic, essay writing: The Outsider - 1408 words

Topic: The Outsider is not about the murder of an Arab but about the inability of society to understand Mersault's Detachment In The Outsider, Meursault is ultimately punished not for the murder of the Arab, but for his lack of adherence to the social codes governing appropriate behavior after his mother's death. In this respect we can argue that Camus novel is not about the Arab's murder but it is about the inability of society to understand Meursault's detachment. The murder trial turns into a trial that judges and condemns Meursault because he appears indifferent, removed from society, and his behavior in unacceptable. Meursault is a very quiet person who rarely shows any external emotions when a situation in which most people would. In the opening scene of the book, we find out that his mother has just died. The first page alone gives many hints about Meursault's character and it shows him to be almost unaware of his emotions. He feels the need to apologize for things that are out of his control and to thank people for things that they had nothing to do with.

He basically apologizes to his boss when he asks for two days off of work to go the funeral for his dead mother. He goes through the entire funeral without displaying any external emotions, saying that he doesn't want to see the body and that he doesn't want to pay his last respects. Mersault's' mothers funeral Meursault does not cry or behave the way that society expects him to act. This is because Meursault is an existentialist, and does not act in the appropriate manner in which society expects, which makes him a stranger from the people around himHe is, further, depicted enjoying a cup of coffee with milk during the vigil, and having a smoke with a caretaker at the nursing home in which his mother died, which is considered strange in the place and time. In addition to the townspeople judging Meursault because he sent his mother away, the townspeople continue to dislike him because he showed lack of emotion during her funeral. Which, again, goes back to the way people perceive an individual should live their life

In society crying is associated with a funeral, so therefore it is considered unusual, especially if a parent passes on, that an individual not cry during this period of time. The people of Algiers believe that since Meursault showed no emotions during his mother's funeral he was a cold heartless man and showed no respect for his mother, and the following weekend he meets up with Marie to see a comedy film, beach, and has sex, this is not what is expected of a son whose mother just died. Most people would believe that he was uncaring toward Marie, but Marie was willing to accept Meursault for who he truly was. For instance, Meursault makes it obviously clear that he does not believe he is in love with Marie. This hurts Marie a little, but she is deeply in love with him and asks Meursault to marry her anyway. His response was that if she wants to get married then they would. Meursault liked the idea of being with Marie because her company made him happy, but he was not an individual that got attached to another person.

In all of Meursault's relationships he shows a lack of affection, he appears too indifferent about life events. Nothing seems to be very significant to him. Raymond is a pimp who is Meursault friend who doesn't make moral judgments about Raymond. Meursault does however write a letter for Raymond to get Raymond's ex-girlfriend to come back to him, only for Raymond to abuse her. Meursault knew Raymond's intentions and still wrote this letter. This is one of Meursault's low points. He should have had a little more common sense than to write a love letter to a woman, he doesn't even know, and then listen while Raymond beats her. This is another example of how Meursault's lack of caring can hurt other individual. He did not even know this woman and he did not think twice about writing the letter, he just wrote it. Meursault shoots and kills an Arab man.

After he kills the Arab, he describes the feeling like, 'it was like knocking four quick times at the door of unhappiness.' He only describes it as unhappiness, something relatively mild on a scale of emotions. At his trial, the prosecutor shows these characteristics to the jury to convince them that he is not a normal person and this leads them to the decision that he is a cold blooded murderer. Meursault illustrates that man has freedom of choice, 'It was then that I realised that you could either shoot or not shoot.' He sees the choices that he can make and that consequences of his actions are going to affect him. At this point he does not shoot, but later on he rethinks his decision and shoots the Arab. He ends up paying the consequences after he is arrested and eventually he realises what he has done. 'I was about to say that exactly, because they were criminals, but then I realised that I was one too.' There is also a scene in the courtroom when he thinks to himself that he is guilty.

He admits that he has to pay for what he has done and thinks to himself, 'I was guilty, I was paying for it, and nothing more could be asked of me.'In trying to do something good for Raymond, a guy he hardly knew, he ended up hurting himself. While Raymond did not end up using the gun, this gave Meursault opportunity to use it. Later that afternoon, Meursault took a walk on the beach and ran into the Arab, but this time Meursault used the gun on him. Not only did he murder the man, but also after he shot him once he continued to fire four shots afterwards. This will also prove to be a crucial point in Meursault's trial. People assume that he is a bad person because he continued to shoot the man.

But never once was the fact that the Arab slash Raymond's throat ever brought up. It was assumed that Meursault killed an everyday caring individual. Which by no means is true. There is also another view of Meursault's actions. This is that if he never cared for any other of the individuals in his life why would he care about the Arab that he just shot.

This intern frightens people because if he could not care about the people close to him then he could turn on any individual he was encountered with an kill them. The judicial system definitely showed it authority of power during Meursault's trial. The prosecution would bring up all of Meursault's past history on what he perceived was a careless individual. How he sent his mother away and then showed no emotions at her funeral. This would end up hurting the trial the most. The jury was ignorant to Meursault's personality.

Unfortunately as in society today and in this trial, the jury associated his past behaviors as bad because they were not perceived as normal. Society perceives something that is different as something that is bad because people are not willing to be open minded, which happens a lot in today society. Furthermore, society feels safe with a judicial system that works to protect them. Meursault murdered a man and society thinks that he should be put away to protect them from being hurt by that same individual. The judicial system comforts them, so they feel safe in the streets they live in. Meursault choose not to believe in a god. If you believe in god then there is a higher being that will protect us in life after death.

There is no proven fact that this is true, but society chooses to believe in this for comfort reason. In conclusion Meursault is ultimately punished not for the murder of the Arab, but for his lack of adherence to the social codes governing appropriate behavior after his mother's death. Throughout the novel we see Meursault act a way that society doesn't appreciate, this leads him to his downfall. The murder trial turns into a trial that judged and condemns Meursault because he displays attitudes and behavior that are considered socially unacceptable.

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