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final paper - Katie Vogt PK Final Essay When Life Becomes a...

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Katie Vogt PK March 19, 2007 Final Essay When Life Becomes a Punishment Among the movement of everyday life there is a constant flow of wins and losses, victories and defeats. People are always succeeding and on the flipside, always failing. A man can do many things to determine the outcome of some situations, but there will always be those situations whose outcome is nothing but a lottery. It is these situations that are a true test of one’s character and highlight both a man’s weaknesses and strengths. Arthur Miller’s Death of Salesman and Albert Camus’s The Stranger explore the rise and fall of Willy Lohman and Meursalt as they encounter the lottery of life and the emotional, mental, and physical dilemmas imposed upon them by society as a result of their pursuit of a valued existence and a respected death. As a whole, society has an incredible responsibility to each of its members. The rules of society are constantly being recreated, redefined, and reorganized in order to meet the broader demands of a fruitful life. In both Miller’s and Camus’s works, the main characters are in perpetual violation of these rules. Willy is the antithesis to the American dream with his inability to sell and provide for his family. Willy is unable to regain the respect he needs to prosper as a salesman and becomes entrapped in the vicious cycle that eventually leads to his downfall. In The Stranger , Meursalt is rightfully convicted of murder, but it is society’s expectations, not the crime, that sends him to the guillotine. It was the fact that Meursalt “had no place in a society whose most fundamental rules [he]
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ignored” (Camus 102) that proved his demise. These circumstances beg the reader to ask
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final paper - Katie Vogt PK Final Essay When Life Becomes a...

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