Strong & Independent (as she should!)

There is no doubt that a lot of things in this story don’t make sense. Single sentences that last an entire page, magical doors that can transport you across the world, and all of this in the middle of a very realistic, devastating war… huh?? This story is very unlike others I’ve ever read and, personally, it took many chapters for me to really understand what Hamid was trying to do.

However, what I was able to catch on to early on was Nadia’s unique character. Her first real introduction to the readers with dialogue is short, yet expository. After Saeed asks her to have coffee, Nadia questions if he says his “evening prayers” (4). Taken aback and feeling pressured to excuse himself, Saeed rambles on until Nadia interrupts him, claims, “I don’t pray,” suggests “maybe another time” (5), and then rides away on a motorcycle. So random and unexpected, but it’s fascinating.

As we learn more about Nadia’s character, we learn more about her independence. It took a lot of strength and bravery for her to make the decision to leave her family and start a life on her own, let alone do it in the world she was living in. Her past has shaped her into the woman she is, and it is a shock to a lot of the people she encounters, including Saeed. I feel like she is the perfect representation of “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and it’s one of the main aspects of this story that keeps me curious. I love Nadia’s effect on not only the characters in the story, but also me, as a reader. She’s a very sublty inspiring character. As she should be.

Meursault or Sisyphus?

Whether it’s a coincidence or not, there is a very distinct parallel between “The Myth of Sisyphus” and The Stranger. The timing of this discovery has helped my understanding of not only the evolution of this story, but life in general, too. Over the weekend I not only learned who Sisyphus was, but I discovered that he was happy because he was aware. He was conscious of his situation and he was realistic about the hope he carried with him throughout. Therefore, every time he walked back down the hill, it was in that moment that he could reinvigorate his superiority. That is where he had power, even in a situation where his “whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing.”

Similarly, while waiting in his cell for the day of his execution, Meursault spends his time awake thinking of his appeal. He always begins by “assuming the worst” (114). That is, he considers how his life will go when there is simply no escape from his execution. And, although frightening to him, that is where Meursault seems to be able to find peace and clarity with the outcome. When his hope ceases and he stops giving himself any benefit of the doubt… that is when his journey towards indifference begins: “As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world” (122).

Initial Thoughts

At this point in the story, I am having a hard time figuring out how old Meursault is. Although a man, living on his own, out of school with a steady job, there is one scene in particular that has me perplexed. At the beginning of Chapter 3 when Meursault is back at work, he decides to take a break one day with his coworker, Emmanuel. Out of nowhere, (to me, at least), Meursault is sprinting towards a moving truck, getting “engulfed by the noise and the dust” (25). Soon enough, he takes a “flying leap,” he helps Emmanuel on, and they arrive at Celeste’s “dripping with sweat” (26). Compared to his dull, unemotional, detached character that he portrays throughout the story with both his internal and external monologue, it was a shock to me when the author included this sporadic act… which is why when I thought I had an idea of how old he was, I soon retracted.