To Care or Not To Care

I think our initial exposure to Meursault begins and influences our perception on his character throughout the first six chapters. As we can tell, he is presented as a pretty odd character who doesn’t seem to feel or express many emotions at all. The few times he speaks up or develops relationships, they are out of the ordinary and pretty strange. In the first few lines of the novel, we can already see Meursault’s neutral feeling towards rather important matters. When reading the telegram about his mother’s passing, he immediately follows with “that doesn’t mean anything”(3), something one would normally have very differently feelings about.

Not only with his mother’s death and whole situation, but also with other characters and events does Meursault reveal his careless side. His interactions with Raymond support his characteristic of emotionless and different. When Raymond invites Meursault over for dinner, he accepts to stay, however, not out of excitement but because he “didn’t have any reason not to please him”(32). These examples just make his character so impersonal and don’t allow us to connect with him as a person or have any feelings associated with him.

Even more specifically and evidently is his relationship with Marie. Once again we are presented with his lack of effort and internal feelings even when he is around her. It is obvious that he enjoys her presence and activities they partake in, which complicates my view on their relationship when he is faced with the idea of marriage. His response to her sort of proposal is simply “It didn’t make any difference to me”(41). This somehow doesn’t surprise me because of how he’s been describes earlier in the book, but I see a little but of a problem if they are together and he has no feeling about marriage. Similarly when Marie asks if he loves her, his generic response comes to “it didn’t mean anything”(41).

I think that Meursault is an interesting character with still lots to still discover and unravel, but so far Camus efficiently projects him with an uninviting attitude and extremely neutral feeling towards basically anything that occurs to him or to others.

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