How societal detachment can lead to violence and harm

At the beginning of The Stranger, Mersault had no friends, family, and had a job he hated. Though it seemed like Mersault didn’t mind being isolated and enjoyed spending time alone, this disconnection from the world really harmed him in ther long run.

In the first chapter, we learn that Merault’s mother died, yet he feels no emotions towards her death, and the realtionship between Mersault and his mother was strained before her passing. Mersault is so impartial to this death, that as soon as he gets back home from his mothers’ funeral, he meets up with a girl Marie, and Marie instantly feels connected to him.

Though Mersault and Marie end up spending a lot of time together, when Marie proposes to Mersault, he remains very casual and disinterested. Receiving a marriage proposal is obviously something that most people would get very excited about, so Mersaults reaction, or lack thereof, proves that he is detatched.

All of this emotional disconnection from the world ends up being a bigger deal when Mersault kills a man and feels no remorse. The prosecutor ended up bringing Mersaults disinterest towards his mothers death and other examples of his emotional detatchment to convict Mersault guilty enough to receive the death penalty. When Mersault finds out that he will be sentenced to death, he still has no reaction, which proves his extreme detachment from society and the dangers that come with being disconnected.

3 thoughts on “How societal detachment can lead to violence and harm

  1. LucaL

    This is really interesting point, and I think that Meursault’s detachment from society definitely had a lot of effects on him and his actions. I think also though that his detachment allowed him to come to terms with his situation at the end of the novel, and accept his death as well.


  2. Olivia M

    I definitely agree that his emotional disconnect and detachment gets him in trouble and hurts him in the long run.
    I think it’s really interesting how you talked about his response to Marie’s proposal. I definitely agree that his reaction is very telling. Not only was he very casual about it, but he was also indifferent. He didn’t care whether or not he got married to Marie.


  3. JOSIE H.

    I appreciate how you compiled moments in Meursault’s life and how societal detachment affected those moments and thus him down the line. I had noted that Meursault was all alone in his mother’s grievance, without siblings or stable relationships to lean upon. Having to plan her funeral all alone is not an easy task even if he does not express his feelings of sadness or solitude.


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