Table of Contents
My view about death as a loss of life at the beginning of the article was shallow. I only saw death as the loss of life but never considered its far-reaching impact as a loss of a piece of earth as John Donne expresses in, “No man is an Island.” His point of view has provided a wider view of death (Donne). The character of Meursault, however, is indifferent to death. He does not feel anything about his mother’s death; even his looming death does not scare him. He viewed his death as a route to freedom. His life was filled with aspects of disconnect from the norms of the society. His trial ended up shifting from his crime to his character. In my view, Meursault had no ambitions about his life. He existed, but he did not live (June).
Life is defined by the experiences of sadness, love, joy and even indifference among other expressions of our emotions that Meursault did not acknowledge according to the normal society expectations. His indifference towards life was intriguing to me. It further stirred my earlier view of death. He put in another dynamic of death as the way to freedom. I find that I relate to the absurdity of Meursault because sometimes, so many bad things happen and can control them. People dies, and others are born. The birth of another replaces one missing piece of the earth by the death of one. The world right now has many things happening, the next thing happening is often worse than what we are experiencing at the moment.
The conformity of humanity to the typical reactions of people to situations is just as detrimental as the lack of conformity. Hamlet’s life went on a downward spiral following the death of his father. Meursault was indifferent to the normalcy of the society, and it cost him his life as well. In my opinion, I feel that the way people perceive us and our approach to life is largely dependent on the environment around us. In the case of Hamlet, the people around him did nothing to stop him from being overly affected by everything that was happening around him (Shakespeare). In the case of Meursault, the people around him everywhere he went treated him as a stranger. In the myth of Sisyphus, suicide is termed as, “an admission of incapacity (Lowell and Bree).” The myth of Sisyphus makes me see death as an inevitable end which should not be achieved prematurely by suicide. The myth of Sisyphus brings to my attention the fact that people commit suicide to escape situations that they deem unfit for their existence.
The topic has led me to believe that death can be perceived differently by different people, the emotions people put into play to deal with loss and wallow in self-pity after the loss of a loved one does not change the fact they have lost someone and life have to go on. In my view, it is not a situation that should stop the lives of people in mourning. People should accept the loss and anticipate it before it happens. In the case of Meursault, it was inevitable that his aging mother was going to die given her old age. In addition to the age factor, she was alone and even had to be taken to the Home where she lived with other people of her age. It is possible that Meursault had been anticipating her death and when it finally came, it was almost a relief his relief. He had been freed from constant worry and wondering if he could do more for his mother. His character applies to what people would want to do in the same situation. However, people always want to put up a show of grieving for a few days and soon after they seem to get over it. Looking at how people behave if they lose a loved one, I cannot be more convinced that Meursault was just bolder in expressing his feelings whereas others choose to put up a show for others to see. He may not have cried for his mother’s death but who are we to know what he felt but never expressed.
The text has since put in me in a position where I agree with Meursault’s actions throughout his life except that may he should not have killed the Arab without proper reason. His character and beliefs are not supposed to be the basis of his conviction. The general feeling as per the discussions according to me was that more people often have a character that resonates with Meursault but hides that under their skin. They act in pretext more often in public and hide their true feelings from the public (Kannan). Meursault inspires me to have the courage to express what I believe in regardless of the consequences. The novel also has the priest and judge trying to change Meursault’s beliefs, and his resistance contributes to his conviction more than his actual crime (Albert). The two characters to me represent the people who try to impose their view of life upon us.
The discussions and the novel have led me to take delve into the topic of death that I previously did not entertain. This experience has made me appreciate the present more and take myself more seriously. The idea that expressing my true feelings and reaction to the public could lead to my being bialy convicted is something that people struggle with every day (Schmoop Editorial Team). Looking at the relationship Meursault and Marie had in the novel, it is clear that under normal circumstances, Meursault would be going above and beyond to make her feel special but he did not. He involves to do a lot differently if he were to conform to normalcy, he would propose to his fiancée Marie more appropriately, “Marry me? She asked him”. From my perspective, the proposal was rather awkward and unexpected. He instead just said yes after she asked and made no point in letting her know that she was special (June). The day of Meursault’s execution was drawing closer, and he was happy about his life. From the way he spoke, he was glad that he had lived as he pleased and not to please anybody else, “For the first time, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe (Albert).”
I would equally feel as fully filled as Meursault if I died for my beliefs rather than live on to please people. Hamlet died having suffered pain and heartache caused by his father’s death under circumstances that he had no control over (Moretti). According to me, it was not a good way to have lived and eventually died. In my opinion, life should be lived freely and for self-fulfillment. It is not right to kill, that I agree. However, it is not right to convict people for refusing to buy into our rigid belief systems as it happened to Meursault.
- Albert, Camus. The Stranger. New York: Random House Incorporated, 1946. Book.
- Donne, John. No Man is an Island. Poetry Collection.
- June. Meursault is an Existentialist. 19 October 2015. Website. 13 March 2017.
- Kannan, Ashley. How Meursault Perceives Truth. 24 January 2014. Website. 13 March 2017.
- Lowell, Jeanette and Germaine Bree. The Myth of Sisyphus. n.d. Document.
- Moretti, Luke. The meaning of life of Hamlet and Meursault. 27 November 2013. Document. 13 March 2017.
- Schmoop Editorial Team. “Meursault in the Stranger.” Schmoop. Schmoop University Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 13 Mar. 2017
- Shakespear, William. The Hamlet. 1600. Book.