What is Trust?

“I feel lost inside myself”

Trust holds much meaning. To feel trust towards someone is almost akin to feeling love. The movie “Trust” is an exemplary example of this comparison. To feel lost in life, but to then find someone who shares that same sense of hopelessness, a partner with whom you can put your trust in. Maria and Matthew are both lost; they don’t share the same predicament, only the feelings that result from them. When they find one another, it seems like they won’t work at first, like they are both too “broken” to balance each other out. However, exactly the opposite occurs. The two people that feel as if they are in an inescapable, sorrowful pit of despair find someone who feels the exact same way, making them feel less alone.

“People do strange things sometimes, when they feel hopeless”

The movie is one big trick. Once Maria and Matthew realize the mutual benefits they provide to one another, it is too late. They found each other at the right moment, but it wasn’t meant to last. From the very beginning, their outlooks on life differed too much, their values clash. They bonded over their shared anguish and desperation towards themselves and their lives, but that is all it was meant to be.

Sensitivity and Discomfort

One of the most intriguing aspects of The Stranger, is the amount of discomfort the story exudes. Simply put, it is not a happy story. While Meursault seems to be relatively secure in his outlook on life, an outlook that is inherently strange, he also is in a constant state of discomfort in one way or another. Throughout the entire story he is, in a way, targeted by the sky and its heat. The differing sensations from how hot it was or what color the sky was seems to play a huge role in his decision making. Even at his happiest, like when he is at the beach with Marie, the color of the sky sticks out to him, representing his emotional state, “I had the whole sky in my eyes and it was blue and gold” (20). Somehow, the sky seems to be the reason he attacks the Arab man in the first place, “The sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried Maman, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me, all the veins in it throbbing under the skin. It was this burning, which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me move forward” (59).

Meursault feels some sense of comfort being around women like Marie, however he gets uncomfortable when she shows any emotion, he doesn’t know how to respond. He feels comfortable around his friends, such as Raymond, but he gets uncomfortable with making his own, conscious, decisions. So, while Meursault seems content in his lifestyle and personality, he also expresses discomfort in so many situations (even unknowingly) that it makes it hard to agree with many of the decisions he makes.

The Fraud

Monsier Meursault is written to have as little empathy as possible. He treads lightly over every conversation, refusing to attach meaning to his words, even with the prospect of marrying Marie: “I explained to her that it didn’t really matter and that if she wanted to, we could get married” (41). Marriage is ” serious thing”, as Marie puts it, that he just brushes off like it is nothing. While Meursault doesn’t seem to feel much of anything, he tends to attract those who feel a lot. Marie, who after only a little time spent with Meursault has her heart set on marriage; Celeste, a friendly restaurant owner with plenty more social skills than Meursault; and Raymond, an outgoing fraud and Meursault’s future downfall.

The first impression the author gives of Raymond, is that he is a cold-hearted abuser. An outright contrast to Meursault’s timid personality, he hires women to be his mistresses, and when he believes they are cheating on him, “He’d [beat] her til she bled” (31). He makes clearly immoral decisions that Meursault is seemingly ambiguous to, like writing letters to provoke and threaten his mistress. Even though Meursault appears to be quite amoral and maintains a blind eye towards Raymond’s actions, even testifying against his abuse, he does seem to enjoy being relied upon: “[Raymond] announced ‘Now you’re a pal Meursault’… [and] I didn’t mind being his pal, and he seemed set on it” (33).

Raymond is very much full of himself. He sees nothing wrong with how he acts, and tries to appear tough, like he is performing an act of service by taking Meursault under his wing and drawing him into conflict. Much like Raymond is intrigued by Meursault’s peculiar behavior, Meursault is pulled in by Raymond’s outgoing, unapologetically immoral personality, and ability to make quick, rash decisions. However, as we soon find out, this partnership is not in the best interest of Meursault.

During the altercation with the Arab men, Meursault has no obvious opinion besides wanting to exit the situation entirely. However, he is forced even farther into it when he is handed Raymond’s gun. Despite his constant threatening to “take him on man to man and…let him have it” (56), Raymond shies away from the conflict and flees. This is the very moment that results in murder. By simply handing the gun to Meursault, Raymond is the catalyst for the events that follow.