Mersault Costanza

A story about nothing? Well, not really. He just made me think of George when he complained that there was only “one roller towel” to last all day in the bathroom where he works (25). In truth, there is complexity and oddity to be found in all of Mersault’s relationships, particularly with Salamano, his neighbor.

The conversation that Mersault has with Salamano after Salamano loses his dog was the most compelling moment of the story for me, where I felt most immersed in this world with human beings. For much of the story preceding that I had difficulty sensing any strong feeling from the narrator. Even though his apathy towards life is truly human and this should not be dismissed as a boring story due to the boring nature of the world, this was the first point where I really felt lost in the world of The Stranger.

“When she died he had been very lonely. So he asked a shop buddy for a dog and he’d gotten this one very young…they had grown old together”(44-45). Mersault yawns after this, while I’m stricken with grief for this man’s loss, and he says that he is “sorry about what happened,” and I still felt after that that even though I had been profoundly affected by the old man’s story, Mersault was not affected at all, and through that, his character continues to take shape. Perhaps it is not that the story is about nothing, but that the narrator is not interested in finding meaning within his life, and is content to continue living a life of no substance.

One thought on “Mersault Costanza

  1. Maggie B.

    I agree with the idea that Salamano and his story revealing the deatils of him and his dog are emotionally potent and I like the contrast of your perceptions to Meursaults. And the idea that Meursault is content with having a bland life right now. On the other hand, I think there needs to be consideration for his peculiar process of grieving and the connection between his grief and his loss of purpose in life. I think because we do not know what all the previous years of his life included it is difficult to categorize Meursault as not wanting to find meaning in life as there are steps of growth in some of his actions or thoughts. Like when he ponders over the marriage with Marie and realizes that he might really get married to her after hearing her laugh (50). I think his future personality cannot be subjected to indifferent just yet but I think his current state is confused and repressed regarding his emotions.


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