Meursault Is the Stranger

From what I’ve read so far, I believe that Meursault is the stranger. A stranger is someone who is an outsider or a foreigner and I noticed that Meursault is a stranger to society and somewhat himself.

He doesn’t follow social norms. He didn’t show compassion for his mother, Raymond’s girlfriends, Salamano’s dog, etc. In the eyes of society, his kind of behavior is regarded as bizarre. Meursault does not understand why events have a sentimental value for people and this is what makes him disconnected with society. In addition, I think that he is a stranger to himself in a way, but not more than he is to others. He goes through events without a plan and without commitment to either principles or people. He doesn’t know who he is and he doesn’t care. Meursault is a stranger and an absurdity to society because he does not show any emotions, he has no meaning for life, and his only certainty and guarantee is death.

“Parasite” and “The Lesson”: Is Society Really a Democracy?

A couple months back, I watched the film Parasite. The director, Bong Joon-ho, constitutes a story about a poor family living in South Korea that try to climb the social ladder by leeching onto the Park family — getting their taste of wealth. (This movie is a masterpiece and I highly recommend you watch it if you haven’t).

This film, I’ve noticed, has a lot of parallels with the short story, “The Lesson”. Though I can’t think of a scene in Parasite in particular, the ideologies in “The Lesson” are akin. Throughout the film, there is a common theme of poverty and the inequality between the rich and the poor. The Kim family were destitute basement dwellers who worked just as hard if not more than the Park family, but the Kims were still low income. The Kims worry about money, the extravagant Parks worry about poor people’s unpleasant smell. Similarly, the eight children in “The Lesson” go on a short trip, arranged by Miss Moore, outside of their oppressed community which leads them to encounter items they have never seen, items that are far beyond their economic means. Miss Moore wanted the children to realize that wealth is unfairly and unequally distributed. At the end of the short story, Miss Moore asks the children what kind of society it is in which some people can spend more on a toy than others have to spend on food and housing. Sugar replied, “…this is not much of a democracy if you ask me. Equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack at the dough, don’t it?” (115). Sugar believes that it’s not a democracy because some people do not have an equal opportunity to earn money. There are people, both in Parasite and “The Lesson”, that don’t have to worry about the almighty dollar. Both pieces unveil that there was no “equal crack at the dough,” ultimately concluding that both societies are not a democracy.