Extremes, Dehumanization, and Alienation

I believe that certain aspects of Camus’s story may be a commentary on the danger of extremes and how a human taken to those extremes is viewed by society. This may be illustrated by the story through not only Meursault, but also through “the robot woman”, and Meursault’s observations on her.

The Robot Woman exhibits almost comical discipline, which acts in opposition to Meursault’s indifference and lack of ambition or drive. While Meursault “had no ambition” (41), The Robot Woman is described as, well, “robotic” (43) They are clearly meant to represent polar opposites of “internal drive.” However, this difference can also be said to be a reflection on their role of society and how they are viewed by that society. Meursault, during his trial, his accused of “having no place in society” and of “being a monster” (102). This, combined with robotic actions often being used as an antithesis to human actions, could serve to illustrate society’s discontent with extrememes. Despite being opposites, The Robot Woman and Meursault both exhibit traits that are taken to extremes deemed “inhuman” by the standards of society.

What goes against established norms of society is apt to be demonized by a society which adheres to those norms and blindly equates normalcy to goodness. And yet many people feel forced to adhere to those norms for fear of losing their societal label of goodness. However, by all accounts, we can agree that Meursault was true to his schema and belief system, and therefore himself. And therefore, it can be reasoned that, quite possibly, Camus believes society, as it exists, to be an attack on the individual. But I don’t know this just kind sounded cool in my head and makes a little bit of sense, but I still am not entirely sure of what to think of The Stranger or its themes, in all honestly.

One thought on “Extremes, Dehumanization, and Alienation

  1. LAUREN F.

    I agree with the fact that Meursault and “the robot woman” are extreme people and that they are well set in their ways. I disagree with the statement that many people adhere to these societal norms by force, I think this force is very unconscious and most people do not know that a force/norms are even occurring.

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