“Trust” vs. The Stranger

“Trust” is a movie revolving around absurdity and a dialogue that strays away from the norm. Although I gathered that The Stranger is a work of literature that also shows the theme of absurdity and randomness, “Trust” is different.

In The Stranger, Meursault says things and does things purely for the reason of it making sense in that particular situation. In “Trust”, Maria proves to be a very strong-headed, confrontational young woman who speaks her mind and goes for what she wants, exactly when she wants it. This characterization is hugely different than that of Meursault. Maria, although young, seems to be ahead of her time and very mature. Starting in the very beginning of the film, she is faced with a pregnancy and left to deal with this issue without much assistance. The fact that the movie begins this way helps to develop Maria’s characterization and the characterization of others in the film by contrasting them with Maria.

The absurdity found in “Trust” is partly due to the circumstances that the characters find themselves in. For example, in society today, I don’t think that the average person would invite a teenage girl whom they found in an abandoned area, and who just finished an entire 6 pack of beer, into their home to spend the night. Although this movie came out 30 years ago and times are slightly different now, this is absurd to me and many events before and after this show the absurdity portrayed in the film.

Maria and Matthew: 2 Meursaults, One Movie

When I first read about Trust, a movie directed by Hal Hartley, and how it was supposed to be from the perspective of a “female Meursault”, I was expecting there to be only one character similar to Meursault. Instead, while watching, I found myself looking at 2.

In my opinion, I thought that both Marie and Matthew represented Meursault’s character. I think that the similarity in names to The Stranger in some sense, is to throw the watcher’s view off. Maria, is expected to be similar to Marie, and Matthew is expected to be like Meursault. However, because of their personality traits, I think that Marie’s lack of understanding for people and Matthew’s alienation from people around his community, cause them to both be similar to Meursault. Together, both of them face problems from all sides, whether its Matthew’s abusive father or Maria’s extra controlling mother.

Matthew and Maria’s “last hurrah” can be seen as the grenade going off at Matthew’s workplace. Similarly, Meursault’s last hurrah can be seen as him killing the Arab. Though, Maria didn’t end up getting punished for the grenade (because she wasn’t the one to ensue the problem) however I think she played a large roll in the events leading up to it.

Her lack of empathy towards Matthew can be seen when she tells him she no longer wants to marry him and wants to pursue what she wants individually; Matthew is heavily affected by this, most likely because it’s his last string of hope he had. Nevertheless, I think that while the two of them are not “fully” Meursault, they both have characteristics that are very much similar to him.

I also think that Hartley’s writing up of the characters were fantastic. In my class, I found that many people found the characters weird if not just boring; I think that the lack of emotion and the grittiness of the camera work added to this aesthetic that was very much Stranger-esque(?)…

Honestly, I missed a day of viewing so to say the least, I was pretty confused watching the ending. Other than that, I thought the movie itself was pretty interesting. What are your thoughts on Trust? Do you think that both of the main characters represented Meursault? Or only one?

Does Existentialism Suit Me?

As someone who had never previously been introduced to the idea of existentialism, the novel The Stranger and our in class conversations about existentialism have been my only exposure to the topic. Upon learning about this new way of viewing the world around us and all the things that society tells us have meaning, I wondered if this is a belief system that one must adopt or be born into, and if this is something that would either enhance or detract from my life if I applied it to myself. Aside from the grim ending of the novel and Meursault’s existence, the idea of existentialism was not showcased as something completley negative.

While the reader and those around Meursault are taken often back by his lack of emotion, for example the way he does not cry at his mothers funeral, his lack of a desire to find a lifelong partner, and when he turns down a new job opportunity, Meursault himself does not suffer from making these choices. If anything, the way that Meursault looks at the face value of things instead of holding them up as pillars of humanity that hold immense value helps him see the true importance of things in his life and prioritize what makes him happy.

This is not to say that things like friends, family, and religion are not useful and fulfilling parts of many peoples lives, but it does make the point that we must value aspects of our life based on the real benefits they bring us instead of trying to live by what most of society views as “success”. I personally believe that I can take many lessons out of this novel and existentialism as a whole. While I would not call myself an existentialist, I very often find myself not valuing things that society deems important, but after careful examination I have realized are either not for me, or do not bring me happiness in the long run.

Meursault vs The Chaplain

Camus brings up the topic of religion throughout the story such as the moment with the religious investigator, and towards the end of the book when Meursault denies to meet the Chaplain. Camus uses the religious investigator and Chaplain to display religion compared to Existentialism and shows the battle between the two.

Throughout The Stranger, I feel as Camus sets up our character as an existentialist, which in my opinion, Meursault strongly portrays.Towards the end of the book (basically his death), Meursault’s existentialist beliefs weaken for some moments. This can be seen in his conversation with the chaplain which he denied to meet twice before. I will not talk of who brought up the stronger arguments and who technically “wins” this battle of wits but rather the moments of weakness that Meursault displays.

Camus sets up a battle of religion vs Existentialism in these final pages with our chaplain and Meursault. In this moment, Meursault for once shares atleast one emotion, fear. As the Chaplain enters the prison cell, Meursault describes a “little shudder” run through him. I took this as a foreshadowing of his battle with the priest. He tells the priest of his fear, which the priest offers to help with because he has dealt with situations like these before. Meursault replies with disinterest which I believe results from his strict belief of no higher being. He stands his ground well but I can’t help but get the image of Meursault basically just holding his ahnds up to his ears to block out the priests words. He uses language such as “annoying” and “disinteresting” to describe the priest and his words.

The priest brings up the idea of seeing the previous men condemned to this cell. Their faces, embedded within the stones of the walls with their suffering and grief. Meursault speaks of the face he searched for as Marie’s. I find this interesting because I interpreted this in two different ways. One way, Marie being the face of his sexual pleasure and desire of women which he speaks of earlier to the prison head. The other, that maybe, being close to death, he searched for a face that “loved” him, that could comfort him, down a path he knew for certain he would travel, that being his death. But we all know this is far-fetched for Meursault does not believe in love, much less feel it.

The passage continues, and Meursault releases his anger onto the chaplain. Cursing, insulting, yelling at the priest. He calls the priest a hypocrite, a man who believes he knows how to live but is truly dead within while Meursault makes himself as “right”. I believe this outburst by Meursault displays weakness being close to his final moments. Meursault is never pictured nor written as having an outburst during the entire book. Especially not during Mamans funeral, killing of the Arab, and within the courtroom. He also does not show this weakness when talking to the other religious figure within the story, that being the religious investigator. Meursault stays composed during this interrogation not failing his beliefs. But close to death, he suddenly explodes. Why? Did death truly scare him? Did he stay true to himself, what he stood for? What does he stand for?

Is Society Hypocritical?

Society today is all for individualism and expression although there are restrictions hidden within that we fail to recognize. It’s almost as if it is an illusion. Over the years we have made boundaries for what you can and cannot feel. If you don’t feel something similar to what you’re “supposed” to, then you are labeled in a negative way. Yes, as the human race we are similar in numerous ways but no one’s background and experiences are exactly the same, so why do we limit our emotions? We isolate people who feel something real and the worst part is no one even recognizes it.

From the first few paragraphs it is extremely clear that Meursault is not your typical guy. This was based on his attitude and actions towards his mother’s death. Right there the reader plays into society’s stereotypes of what is and isn’t emotionally acceptable. Readers lack that realization that there are various layers to this natural stereotype such as gender roles, age and race. Author Albert Camus confirms this distant pattern with Meursault throughout, as he is emotionally detached from not only his relationships with other characters but life itself. As I was reading, I found myself constantly criticizing his decisions and thoughts. Even in class the next day my fellow classmates were making statements along the lines of “I would have done” and “he makes no sense”. I also felt this way, until part two, when gained consciousness that there is absolutely nothing wrong with how he is feeling. The way he lives isn’t ideal but he makes it work. With the lack of knowledge we have about his past, we as reader can’t assess why he’s so detached. Overall, we need to learn how to accept that sometimes our emotions are just out of our control.

The Beginning of The Book

At the beginning of the book, it was interesting how Mersault reacted to his mothers death. Looking back on the first chapter in the story, Mersault described how he felt a lot in his surroundings. It was rather weird when Mersault also did not want his mothers casket to be opened. Even though this is something that not all people do, Mersault acts differently in this situation, and gets annoyed when the caretaker will not leave the room. When someone asked Mersault how old his mom was, he answers vaguely because he does not know her exact age. I find this interesting because it brings up questions on their relationship before her death. I think from all of this in the beginning of the story we can see that Mersault is indifferent ti his emotions. It does not seem like he is sad or happy about his mothers death, but that he is indifferent to the situation at hand.

This creates confusion to me about Mersault and the way he acts in the rest of the book. I almost see all of this as foreshadowing. When first reading the book, I knew we were in for a ride with Mersault, because of the way he acted and interpreted the situation.

Existentialism in the Trial

I think that one of the most interesting parts of The Stranger, is the trial. The main focus of Meursault’s trial is how he reacted to his mothers death, not that he killed a man. Meursault is being convicted since he is an existentialist, he is living how he wants to instead of following societies constraints. Killing a man is unimportant to his trial even though that is the only crime that he committed.

I think that this is a very interesting point because it shows how society views those who do not fit into its norms. If you do not follow the societal norms then you will be punished which is why Mersault is executed. He did not cry at his mother’s funeral and after it he went to watch a movie with Marie. When someone who is supposed to be important to you dies, such as your mom, society expects that you mourn for a long period of time. Everyone is supposed to be sad when an immediate family member dies and while I agree that this is a very sad time I think that everyone has different relationships with their family. I believe that family, friends, and happiness are some things that do give a meaning to life however existentialism does have a point in that everyone has an individual way of living life. I think that a valid question could be whether Meursault was wrongfully convicted since his trial was primarily based off of his feelings towards his mother. I think that this is also something to be considered in our justice system. Do societal norms have an impact on how people are tried? I am unsure on the answer to this questions but I do find it interesting that Meursault’s entire trial was about his mother instead of the fact that he killed a man.

Who is the Real Stranger?

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As I became familiar with the strange qualities of Meursault as the story developed, the question that stuck out to me was, “What was Camus purpose for characterizing Meursault the way he does?”

Meursault is caught in a world where no one really thinks the way he does. Have you considered the possibility that the title “The Stranger” comes from the inability for Meursault to understand others as opposed to others understanding him? Throughout the story it is clear that Meursault is different from everyone else, but what if Camus is referring to everyone but Meursault as “The Stranger.”

All of the characters in the story have a different role and relation to Meursault. I would argue that these characters with the exception of Meursault act as “the norm” in our society today. It is easier to understand and empathize with the thinking of the other characters because we have been exposed to people like them before. But is it possible that our characterizations that represent “the norm” are incorrect? Maybe Meursault is discomforted by the way the other characters act. Maybe he is the only character that isn’t in fact “strange.” Maybe he is living the “right” way. Maybe Meursault isn’t “The Stranger” after all.

Camu’s Reason to Live

Camu is well known for his bold question about philosophy. He believed that the most important question was wether one should kill oneself. Is life worth living once people recognize it’s meaninglessness? This is where Camu’s essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” comes into play. Camu invites us all to put ourselves in the shoes of Sisyphus. To pretend we are going on in a meaningless existence, completing the same monotonous tasks for our entire lives. If that were the case, why live? That is when consciousness enters the picture.

Camu is able to argue that Sisyphus’s consciousness, while being the basis of his punishment, frees him. In that same way, our own consciousness can free us from the absurdity and meaninglessness of our own lives. Camu was not like other, dreary existentialists of his time. He was a very lively actually. In his time, he was almost an icon of youth and fashion. He was the type of man to win nobel prizes in literature, and appear on the cover of Vogue. He enjoyed life very much, and found most simple pleasures to give meaning to life.

Camu believed that while constructs like friends, family, and love, could still be enjoyed through an existentialist lense. He also believed one should simple, immediate pleasures. These could include, music, sport, sex, and many other immediate pleasures. Enjoying these simple pleasures is almost laughing in the face of the gods. Learning to simply enjoy oneself in the face of emptiness is true freedom. It is also why, in Camu’s opinion, life is worth living.

Meursault and his Mother

The Stranger, a novel by Albert Camus, lives up to the title. The story is about a character that is very alienated from society, from friends, from his lover, from human emotion, and eventually from normal logic. Meursault separates himself from these traits. Meursault shows no emotion to his own mother which leaves me wonders if they had a loving or hatred relationship.

At the start of the book Meursault’s mother has passed away. Meursault’s mother was living her last years in a nursing home which she was put in by Meursault. Upon hearing the death of his mother, Meursault didn’t cry and didn’t look at his mother one last time. Meursault was showing no emotion to the passing of his mother. Many criticized Meursault for not taking care of his mother and just putting her in a nursing home because he needed to provide for himself. After the separation Meursault didn’t put in any effort to see her. All of Meursault’s actions towards his mother shows that they didn’t have a good relationship. But, Meursault could of loved his mother very much. It’s just, Meursault’s strange personality makes it hard for us to understand the relationship they had.

Is Mersault Just Crazy?

The Stranger, a novel by Albert Camus, has one of the most interesting, strange, analyzed characters in literary history, Monsieur Mersault. What separates him from the rest of the character world is his pessimistic viewpoint of life, that it is absurd for everyone and that its only certainty is death. He clearly lacks the basic morals and emotions the rest of the world has, not mourning the death of his mother and killing a man for no reason other than it was hot outside.

Many critics of the story would say that Mersault’s indifferent viewpoint on life is the key to true happiness, defeating the systems of social power brought upon us by our ancestors, seeing the book as Camus’ guide to lead a good life. But is it? Or is it a counter-example to how to lead a life? Imagine a world where killing people for no reason is common, nobody cares for relationships, and the only thing on people’s minds are death. There is no doubt that there is power in the morality system, shaming the people that are not able to control themselves, but is it not necessary to avoid chaos?

Monsieur Mersault is showing himself in the story to be a complete Nihilist, and a pessimistic one too, far away from the existentialist and the optimistic Nihilist. It is true what Mersault thinks, life really does not matter because we are all going to die, but it is not worth still living it to the fullest?Even if life does not matter, is it not a good idea to make it a better place? His actions in the novel, firing off at the priest at the end, killing the Arab without remorse, and showing no respect to women throughout (except for fulfilling his desires), all point to the behavior of an absolute sociopath that really does not care about anyone, not even himself.

Life might not matter at all because we are only here for a short time, but that does not mean people like Mersault should be around to ruin it for all of us. There might be systems of power Mersault is fighting with his strange viewpoint, but the ones he fight are the ones that keep evil and dullness from taking over the world. Camus in this story is showing the audience the extreme existentialism that could be dangerous and that sprouts from his teachings and is telling us not to be Mersault.

Why Do I Empathize With Meursault?

When I began this novella, I had an eerie feeling in my stomach. I could tell that something was disconnected about Meursault, but I was starting to wonder if there was something off with me. The problem was, I felt bad for Meursault. Even after his heinous murder, I felt a twinge of remorse for him. In his sun saturated state, I recognized the isolation of his character. After finishing part one, I was ready for a dynamic class conversation. I found it frightening that I kept coming to the aid of Meursault. I blatantly was defending him. How could I be so defensive of a character who had vouched for someone who had physically abused their partner? How could I defend someone who took the life of another without a second thought? How could I like a character who was more alarmed by the beads of sweat on his forehead rather than the passing of his own mother? I believe this sympathetic view didn’t stem from being an internalized sociopath, but instead emerged from something much different. At least I hope…

I honestly was jealous of Meursault’s carefree attitude. I began to empathize with him. Meursault was not confined by any social systems. He acted on his own pure will. High school students specifically are controlled by an array of power systems. Students have to conform to social standards that have been created by some unnamed force. At the same time, we are expected to pursue secondary education and find steady employment. We are expected to make all of these major life decisions as mere teenagers. Though only a few years ago, we weren’t allowed to operate a vehicle or even see a rated R movie on our own. The Stranger is such an impactful book to read in high school, because the absurdity of life that Camus recognized, seems to be bursting from the seems here. I will never concede that Meursault is a hero, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t learn from Camus’ message. My sympathy for Meursault is due to his understanding of life’s absurdity. Part of me believes his death represents the death of the greater population of individuals who died as outcasts of society. The other part of me recognizes the literal reasons for his death. Needless to say, I find my emotions toward Meursault frustrating and conflicting. Who knows, maybe I’m just a borderline sociopath.

Meursault’s Passivity Dies

During the novel, the narrator, Meursault, tends to passively agree with things people are asking. Whether he’s accepting Raymond’s proposal to write an angry letter to an ex-girlfriend or apathetically saying I love you to Marie, Meursault does what is wanted of him. 

While Meursault can be seen to have an existentialist mindset, he does not have a care for things that “normal” people have an opinion on. Even when his boss asks him to transfer to Paris as a promotion, Meursault has no ambition or passion about the promotion. His mindset towards traveling and job opportunities do not hold the same value as they would to a normal person, but he still accepts the offer. 

However, Meursault switches his passivity after being imprisoned for his murder.  When talking to his lawyer, Meursault couldn’t give him any insight to prove he wasn’t a callous human. Even when the lawyer asks if he can say that Meursault held back natural feelings, he rejects the proposal. 

Although Meursault continued to not hold the same values as the lawyer, like wanting to make a good case for himself, he wasn’t just submissively agreeing now. Meursault’s mindset of having to conform and value typical thing’s switched during his imprisonment and could be seen as his ultimate demise.

Why “The Stranger” Should Inspire You

I am much more conscious about my life and how to make meaning in it because I have read “The Stranger” and you should be too. I think it is a very well-written story of what happens when you buy into existentialism. Obviously it is an extreme to say that all people who do will find themselves on death row. Because the positives of the idea of existentialism is to emphasize freedom of choice and pure independence to define meaning of life, it is only appropriate to consider the negatives of living this way. On page 35 Meursault thinks, “When she laughed I wanted her again. A moment later she asked me if I loved her. I said that sort of question had no meaning, really; but I supposed I didn’t.” He has chosen to disappoint her and reveal that he feels no connection to Marie and doesn’t feel he wants one.

This should encourage readers to be more sensible and understand that existentialism is hardly liberating but rather a guise of freedom. Choosing to not acknowledge roles or labels is not really a beneficial behavior. Having these roles that society has decided to recognize is healthy. It may mean less freedom in the traditional sense of the word but it allows people to be who they want and to live for what they want without this burden of individuality that existentialism brings on. This motivation to have roles and definitions is great and Albert Camus accidentally sheds light on this idea. To live thinking life has no purpose will lead one to live life without purpose. This is a dangerous way to live because that person may have fewer reasons to live life completely and for the right reasons.

Marie in Meursault’s Mind

Much of the meaning taken away from The Stranger is dependent on the character Meursault’s existentialist mindset, yet this mindset is broken down in many different scenarios as the book goes on. One aspect of Meursault that I struggled to grasp was his relationship with his girlfriend, Marie.

When reading quickly, it seems that Marie is a perfect example of Meursault’s existentialism, in that he seems very detached from her while they are together. When Marie asks if she loves him or if she wants to marry him, he says things like “it doesn’t make any difference” or “it doesn’t really matter” (page 41.) Similarly, when he is fantasizing about women in jail, he does not focus specifically on Marie but instead on “all the women he had known” (page 77.)

However, there are many times when he seems to break off from these thoughts. When she visits him in jail, he mentions how he “thought she looked very beautiful, but didn’t know how to tell her.” This is one of the few times Meursault doesn’t say what he is thinking in a blatant or logical way. Additionally, when he hears Marie laugh, he reacts differently and once even said after hearing that sound, “for the first time maybe, I really thought I was going to get married.” He doesn’t call it love, but it is a big change in his normal thoughts and tendencies.

I am not sure if these glimpses of emotion outweigh his existentialist-mindset, but there is definitely some part of Meursault that has not been consumed by existentialism.

Guilty as Murderer, Convicted as an Existentialist

Throughout The Stranger, Meursault is attacked by society for not valuing family, love, kindness, religion, and friendship as highly as they think he should. Whether it was the death of his mother, his relationship with Marie, or his opinion of neighbors, Meursault’s indifference was, as best, met with scrutiny from the other characters and often from the reader.

This is taken to the extreme when he is on trial. He admits to having killed the arab, but this isn’t enough to sentence him to death. The Prosecutor consistently focuses the jury on Meursault’s reaction to the death of his mother rather than the murder he committed and is on trial for. The death of a close family member is supposed to be something that is important to people and there is an expectation of what the right way to react is.

The court is disturbed by his apparent lack of interest and more ready to find him guilty of murder. As he writes on page 92, it was “a crime made worse than sordid by the fact that they were dealing with an monster, a man without morals.” The murder itself is not what sentenced him to die, but his personal beliefs. Raymond, the only witness who had insight into to the actual murder, was only brought up to establish Meursault’s connection with an unsavory character in an attempt to further establish his character.

In some ways, the trial scene seemed to be a literal representation of the feelings that someone with existentialist beliefs would face everyday in society. People like Meursault make them uncomfortable because they don’t understand his perspective.

Parallels Between “The Stranger” and “No Exit”

For the past week or so, I have had discussions about existentialism for two periods each day. In my AP French class, we just finished reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. No Exit is play about three deceased characters who are punished for their actions on Earth by being locked in a room together for eternity. The three characters become entangled in a love triangle and each create a personal Hell for the two others. While reading the play, I struggled to connect it to Camus’ The Stranger and the existentialist discussions we had in class. I was not sure how the play’s underlying theme- “L’enfer, c’est les autres” or “Hell is other people”- is applicable to the argument that the meaning of life is life itself. I could not comprehend how these two seemingly unrelated ideas were derived from the same philosophy.

After speaking with my French teacher about some of these thoughts, I now understand that Hell is other people because what we fear most and loathe most is the judgement of others. The idea is not that other people are hell because they can be annoying or rude; the idea is that other people are hell because of how they make us feel about ourselves. Existentialism is being free from social constructs and the judgement of others that reinforces those constructs. In No Exit, the characters’ damnation is an eternity of seeking approval from others and never receiving it. Other people cannot provide your life with meaning. I think that meaning is something you have to define for yourself.

Although I agree with existentialism to some extent, I have had quite a hard time practicing the philosophy. I have found that the most significant deterrent that is preventing me from embracing existentialism is in fact my fear of being judged by others. I think that I have internalized too many social constructs to be a true existentialist, but I am open to becoming more self aware like Camus’ Meursault or Sartre’s Ines.

A Life of Social Construct & The Stranger

The overlying theme of existentialism is prominent and vivid throughout the novel The Stranger, yet it is also prominent in the lives of everyone in society. Although it’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for me, I realized that my life is made up entirely of systems of power and a series of social constructs which define my everyday life and every single relationship that I have ever had.

During the initial lecture on existentialism, I was in denial and I couldn’t accept that everything that truly mattered to me and added “meaning” to my life are all just constructs and illusions that are deeply rooted in my individual self and in everyone around me. I recognize that no matter how rich, successful, famous, or happy you are, EVERYONE goes through immense pain and suffering throughout their entire lives. I would like to think that I can find meaning in those things that make me happy in addition to things that have caused me pain and have caused me to suffer.

Learning about this theory/concept definitely made me see things from a new perspective, but I wouldn’t say that it necessarily diminished the meaning that I find from different aspects of my life or the things that are most important to me. Although love may be a construct of my imagination, as well as friendship, education, etc., I don’t know what or where I would be without them. I feel as though, as humans, we find comfort in these constructs and add structure to our lives.

Is it Valid to Label Meursault with Antisocial Personality Disorder?

At the start of part two of The Stranger Meursalt states, “I probably did love Maman, but that didn’t mean anything… he asked me if he could say that that day I held back my natural feelings. I said, ‘No, because it’s not true’ (65).” Once I got to this point of the story it really got me thinking, Is Meursault a psychopath? Or is he just living life correctly? I was sure that he exhibited similar characteristics, but here I will take time to analyze his behavior and determine whether he is a psychopath or not. 

Psychopaths have what is called antisocial personality disorder. According to the encyclopedia Britannica, “Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for the feelings of others and often accompanied by violation of the rights of others through negligence or overt action.” I feel that upon first glance it is easy for readers to make this connection. Meursault throughout the story shows a lack of empathy for others, especially when considering how he acted at his mothers funeral. He does not seem to care about much other than physical disturbances and he did not even feel remorse for killing the Arab. This is jarring, considering that most people would feel quite the opposite in all of these situations. 

However, after thinking more about it, antisocial personality disorder is not only a matter of lacking empathy, there is far more too it. For example, people with the disorder have issues maintaining social norms, causing them to have difficulties with employment. Although Meursault does not care much for social norms, he seems to be perfectly fine at work. He does not show any instances of challenging his boss or the people around him, he is simply indifferent. Additionally, people with the disorder tend to use charming mechanisms to manipulate or treat others badly with harsh indifference. Meanwhile Meursault is indeed indifferent in many of his relationships, he does not try to manipulate people close to him or treat them poorly. Finally, I wanted to highlight that most people with antisocial personality disorder lie in an excessive amount. However, it is evident that Meursault is quite the opposite. There has never really been an instance in which he has lied after being asked a question. This is especially seen when he was questioned by his lawyer. When the lawyer asked whether he held back his natural feelings, Meursault answered honestly, no. This is only one case of Meursault answering with pure honesty despite consideration of how the truth will impact others’ outlook on him.

Therefore, upon initial glance of Meursault’s character in the story, it is easy to label him as a psychopath. However, his lack of empathy is the only strong psychopath characteristic he exhibits. Other than that, he does not exhibit the other symptoms enough to label him with the disorder and instead is simply indifferent. I would like to conclude that Meursault does not have antisocial personality disorder, he just has a different view on life and how to live it. He is an existentialist.

What’s So Interesting About The Stranger?

Meursault walking along the beach.

The Stranger is a book that stays true to its name. The reader follows a man who goes by the name Meursault and throughout the book we see Meursault respond to certain events in a peculiar manner that we wouldn’t deem as “normal.” Meursault is shown to have close to zero emotions on anything. It’s the way he acts and responds towards people that make him such a frustrating character.

Story begins with the death of Meursault’s mother. He explains to the reader that he never felt a deep connection with his mother. Of course he didn’t want her to die but he quickly accepted the fact that there was nothing he could do about it. He also didn’t seem to care all too much about her death. He never cried nor felt any pain compared to the other residents at the mother’s home. His interactions with the workers there were also quite unusual. He never wanted to see his mother corpse to see her one last time and his attention was toward the sunlight a lot of the time.

After his return from his mother’s funeral, he meets Marie again and begins to “date her” one could say. However, their conversations are quite strange to say the least and in my honest opinion, I don’t view relationships in that sense. Meursault goes out with Marie but doesn’t love her. You can see this throughout several of their conversations. On page 41-42, Marie questions Meursault asking him “do you love me?” Meursault showing no emotion says that he “didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t love her.” It’s this conversation where he reinforces his commitment to not showing any emotion towards anything.

So the questions still rises: What’s so interesting about The Stranger? The only thing I could comprehend is that we follow a man who doesn’t act normal in any sense that we can imagine. He’s the stranger in his society and people don’t know how to deal with him. That’s why the reader gets so frustrated with his actions throughout the book. We don’t understand why Meursault does the things he does and that’s why this book is so interesting. We don’t know what his next move is gonna be because he doesn’t act “human.”

This book forces us to think in a different way about human interaction and the way of thinking of a single person. This book is so interesting because it frustrates us, it shows us different ways of interactions, and it forces us to question society and how weird we are to others.