TheStrangerLiteraryEssay - Wang 1 Sharon Wang Professor Ek...

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Wang Sharon Wang Professor Ek Writing 2 3 December 2008 Mersault in Albert Camus’ The Stranger : Ordinary or Peculiar? The Stranger ’s main character, Mersault, is undeniably intriguing. To be sure, it is difficult to pinpoint Mersault’s character and truly comprehend his thought process. His thoughts are often random, while at times they are seemingly regular and almost relatable. Mersault tends to respond to everything reasonably and practically and yet his reasonable outlook can often seem extreme and inappropriate. The main purpose of my essay on the nature of Mersault in The Stranger by Albert Camus is to explore his real intentions and sentiments by analyzing his relationships with his mother and his girlfriend, Marie. Mersault’s reaction to his mother’s death is of great concern throughout Camus’ story. The novel starts with the following paragraph: “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: ‘Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.’ That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday” (Camus 3). At first glance, Mersault gives the impression of being devoid of any emotion. What is most shocking is that he doesn’t know when his own mother died. Couldn’t he call the elderly home to confirm when his mother died? He makes no effort to even investigate or make a telephone call. However, approaching the excerpt with a more practical eye, Mersault is simply saying that he is unsure of the day his mother died due to the “vagueness of the telegram (whose wording itself is callous)” (Scherr 150). And clearly, he does not know because he is not and has not been with his Maman. The first paragraph of The Stranger reveals Mersault’s allusive quality. 1
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Wang After Mersault receives the telegram and even after his mother’s funeral, he has different and sometimes conflicting sentiments towards his mother and her passing. It seems that Mersault is in shock due to the somber news of his mother when he says that until the funeral “it’s almost as if Maman weren’t dead” (Camus 3). Being in a state of shock or a delayed emotional reaction is a common reaction to a death. And yet, Mersault says, “The case will be closed” after the funeral (Camus 3). Why would one refer to his or her mother’s death as a case to be closed? Mersault’s choice of words emits a wanting to get his mother’s death over with and get on with his life. After the funeral and at the end of the week, Mersault observes,
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TheStrangerLiteraryEssay - Wang 1 Sharon Wang Professor Ek...

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