Meursault and Matthew: An Examination of how Existentialism Varies Between The Stranger and Trust

Meursault seems to care about no one but himself and nothing but his physical needs. I will argue that Matthew is a direct foil for Meursault. 

Matthew loves Marie and fixing radios. He is also passionate in the inverse: he hates his dad and fixing televisions. Yet Matthew is still an existentialist. He makes rash decisions like inviting Marie into his home, and has a blase attitude about death by carrying around a hand grenade “just in case”. As we’ve seen in The Stranger, Meursault holds little value to marriage, expressing to Marie that he would marry any other woman who asked. Matthew, on the other hand, outright proposes to Marie several times, even conceding that he loves her by agreeing that respect, admiration, and trust equal love. 

Had Meursault been at the kitchen table with Trust-Marie’s mother, he would have agreed that he probably would’ve gone for Peg since she’s prettier. I’m a bit worried about Meursault having access to a hand grenade though, so let’s journey away from this plot-crossing. 

I would say that Meursault’s existentialism is “every man for himself” whereas Matthew’s is based more on living how he wants to live by picking and choosing which parts of society he wants to live by. 

3 thoughts on “Meursault and Matthew: An Examination of how Existentialism Varies Between The Stranger and Trust

  1. Asta S

    When I first saw the film Trust in class, I too noticed this contrast between Meursault and Mathew. I like how you did not delve into the idea of Meursault holding a hand grenade. It is a scary thought as I could imagine that Meursault would get too hot from the sun and end up killing himself in the middle of a street. Overall I enjoyed what you had to say here and the length of this post was perfect in my opinion.

    Like

  2. Connor D

    I think noting the differences between Mersault’s and Matthew’s existentialism is a really interesting point. Philosophy, both in general and in specific philosophies, can be incredibly personal and different between individuals. I, personally, much prefer Matthew’s way of living existentialism.

    Like

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