Don’t Shoot the Messenger

In both The Stranger by Albert Camus and the movie Trust (1990), the characters seem unaffected by the norms of the world around them. Meursault of the former appears to be detached and unconcerned with the happenings of society, and the actors in the latter portray their characters with deadpan expressions and unrealistic dialogue. As both of these pieces of media are commentaries on the restrictions of societal norms, the unrealistic and often unemotional appearance of the characters amplifies the social mores that are being critiqued.

In The Stranger, Meursault does not value the things that society tells him to value. The character of the people he surrounds himself with does not concern him, nor does the expectation that one should cry at one’s mother’s funeral. He does not follow the widely accepted way of living and does not care about what people think others should care about. His seeming indifference to the world is received harshly by his peers. During his court case, he is persecuted mostly for the abnormal way in which he acts. Through the harsh contrast between Meursault’s unemotional and uncaring nature and society’s (as shown through the jury) expectations of others, we see the ridiculous nature of imposed societal norms.

In Trust, the actors deliver their lines in a way that is lacking emotion that may make viewers cringe. This muted unrealistic performance of some is matched by heightened unrealistic performance of others in the film. The absurd behavioral patterns of Michael’s father and Maria’s mother compared to Michael and Maria’s subdued and abnormal approach to the world illuminates the strangeness of societal patterns and norms.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Shoot the Messenger

  1. Rohan W

    I agree and your description of the behavioral patterns of Maria’s mother and Matthew’s father. I would say they are exaggerated as were the lawyers and others in the courtroom in The Stranger. Both give unappealing representations on the “normal” members of society.


  2. Isaac T.

    I agree with your description of Meursault’s viewpoints of society. I would also say he is emotionless and careless towards everything he does whether that be his actions, his behavior and his lack of care for himself and others.


  3. Grayson A.

    Very interesting perspective on Meursault and his connection to characters in Trust. I had very similar thoughts when approaching both pieces.


  4. LINA E.

    I stand by your points, Meursault is indeed oblivious and careless in which appears to be in any situations he encounters. We can see the most here when he was pleaded guilty in the court case.


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