Those Who are Left Behind

As Nadia and Saeed embark on their next chapter of life together; leaving their home city it is not easy for them. In chapter 5 of the novel the finality of their decision is expressed, “when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.” Saeed has to leave his father alone shortly after the recent passing of his fathers wife/love of his life/Saeed mom. Still Saeed migrates, in hopes for a better life for him and Nadia. Saeed knows he will not see his father for a very long time or possibly ever again. While migration means new opportunities for Nadia and his relationship to grow, that does not come without the expense of those who are left behind.

This leaving of behind is expressed later on in the story. At times it is extremely hard for Saeed to be away from his father and religion. Hence him finding solace in the religious home in London he discovers and with whom he could pray with. He even asks Nadia if they would move into that home, but she says no. Similarly, Nadia finds a group of women within their migrant home in London who include and respect Nadia in their meetings.

Til Death Do Us Part

Meursault is sentenced to the death penalty at the end of the story. Even so, he wishes that many come to his execution. In the closing line of the story he relinquishes, “I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate (pg.123).” I find it in character for him as throughout the story Meursault does not care what others think. Even on his deathbed, he stays true to his persona, wishing people to hate on him.

For years, the death penalty and its legality have been questioned. With death comes no chance at rehabilitation or change. Current jail systems likewise have their flaws and need to be re-evaluated to follow a more holistic, personalized approach for prisoners. The guillotine is no longer used in France, they banned capital punishment in 1981, yet the death penalty is still used in various nations worldwide. While most would agree the death penalty is justified in extreme cases such as terrorism or school-shooting, what crimes qualify for the death penalty? Do you think Meursault deserved the death penalty? I personally do not.

Grievance: Who Are We To Judge?

Initially, when we began reading “The Stranger,” many of us commented on Meursault’s robot-like, emotionless demeanor. However, as the story continues it is clear that he is grieving in his own unique way. Through the notation and description of weather it is evident that he is expressing some emotions and thoughts. 

Specifically, on his mothers funeral day, Meursault uses the weather as a reason to be irritated. However, it is not a coincidence that the weather and sun are scorching and unbearable on an emotionally taxing day for any human being, bearing a loved one. “All of it-the sun, the smell of leather and horse dung from the hearse, the smell of the varnish and incense, and my fatigue after a night without sleep-was making it hard for me to see or think straight (Camus, 17).” Was it truly the sun and smells making it all too bearable for him, or was it the reality of having to deal with his mothers death?

Many times it is easy to criticize someone and their actions as a reaction, but in the context of the death of a loved one, every person deals with it in their own way. While it may be typical to express sorrow, others bottle it up, potentially releasing it in unconventional ways. In the case of Meaursalt, his emotions come out in quite a disturbing way. There was no real rhyme or reason for him killing the man, making it plausible that it was an emotional breakdown stemming from his mothers death. Furthermore, it is important to note he was alone in her death, with no other family members there to comfort him. 

(Blog Post #1)