After Awhile You Can Get Used to Anything!

In Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger, Meursault’s mother passes away before the book begins. A series of events occur, including Mersault shooting a man, which result in a prison sentence. To most, prison is probably not the most ideal place to live. With no freedom, Meursault has to give up his job, women and cigarettes. To Meursault, prison is not so horrible after awhile. Camus writes, “So, with all the sleep, my memories, reading my crime story, and the alteration of light and darkness, time passed” (80). Meursault realizes life is meaningless, and everything is up to the choices he makes. When he explains his time in prison, he does not complain about losing the freedom to visit his job, girlfriend, or friends. He decides to live life in prison by using what he has, and not missing what he used to have. Meursualt creates games, digs out old memories, and reads the same crime story over and over. He doesn’t believe being in prison is a bad thing, because he has no other hopes or dreams. He is where he is, because he has done what he’s done, and now he must pay the consequence for it.

Living life this way can seem depressing, but ultimately, it means Meursault is not unhappy. He does not wish for anything and in fact, even when Marie comes to visit him, he doesn’t display affection or happiness to finally see her. While many people pray they will never have to spend a day in jail, Meursault has a different approach. As Maman used to believe, “after awhile you could get used to anything” (77).

All Kinds to Make the World Go ‘Round…

In the short story “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor, Mrs. Hopewell repeats a phrase throughout the story: “It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round” (4). Mrs. Hopewell typically sees the best in people. Her daughter, Hulga, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Hulga keeps to herself, hates talking to others, and never misses a chance to be rude.

The two have a very interesting mother-daughter relationship. Although Mrs. Hopewell makes it clear she dislikes the way Hulga acts, she fails to see that it is going against her own saying that it takes different people to make the world go ’round. She also preaches that nothing is perfect, but wishes Hulga was. Although Mrs. Hopewell might live by the sayings she often says, she does not apply them to her own daughter. The story reads, “Whenever she looked at Joy this way, she could not help but feel that it would have been better if the child had not taken the Ph.D…Here she went about all day in a six-year-old skirt and a yellow sweat shirt with a faded cowboy on a horse embossed on it. She thought it was funny; Mrs. Hopewell thought it was idiotic and showed simply that she was still a child” (3). Mrs. Hopewell is obviously conflicted about her daughter’s life choices. Hulga has even gotten her Ph.D. and her mother is still dissatisfied. Mrs. Hopewell believes it takes different people to make the world go ’round but that Hulga should be just like her.

Science vs. Morals

In the short story “Escape from Spiderhead,” Heather is put on the depressant drug Darkenfloxx and passes away. Jeff doesn’t love her romantically but still feels shaken after seeing what she did to herself. Abnesti understands his sadness but tells Jeff, “‘Look, Jeff, these things happen,’ Abnesti said. ‘This is science. In science we explore the unknown…I hated it. I’m a person. I have feelings. Still, personal sadness aside, that was good'” (72). Although Abnesti recognizes seeing Heather die was deeply saddening, a part of him does not care about the well being of the criminals and will do anything it takes to determine the validity of a drug. I thought this was interesting because Jeff has more feelings about Heather’s death than anyone else. Although Abnesti seems to claim he feels sad, he is eager to test the Darkenfloxx on Rachel next, showing he is okay with the effects. This brings up an important question asking whether it is okay or not to disregard all morals for the sake of science.