English Midterm

English Midterm - Jacob Jessen English 106 Watson Fall 2009...

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Jacob Jessen English 106 Watson Fall 2009 An Outsider’s Ego In The Stranger , Camus portrays Meursault as a representation of a unique individual that is set apart from many others due to his lack of emotion in situations. He seems unaffected and untouched by many events that would be of major significance to others. Meursault can mainly be described as an uncaring individual. However, this attitude changes as Meursault is sent to jail and begins taking a new approach on his view of life. He begins to develop many more caring characteristics that make him seem more like a normal human being. Psychoanalysis can be used to describe Meursault’s change in character and maturity as the novel develops. Psychoanalysis involves the study of human psychological behavior. Investigation of the human mind can sometimes be used to explain illogical behaviors performed by individuals. This concept was developed by Sigmund Freud, who is the author of Civilizations and Its Discontents . This book can be used to explain Meursault’s personality through the following quote: “The ego detaches itself from the external world. Or, to put it more correctly, originally the ego includes everything, later it separates off an external world from itself. Our present ego-feeling is, therefore, only a shrunken residue of a much more inclusive-indeed, an all- embracing-feeling which corresponded to a more intimate bond between the ego and the world about it” (Freud 15). Meursault’s ego is very detached from the external world as seen in part one of The Stranger . Meursault is unaffected by other’s feelings and maintains in indifferent attitude throughout the beginning of the book. In Camus’s The Stranger , Meursault realizes after his mother’s burial “that anyway one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that I 1
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was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed” (Camus 23). This shows how Meursault is detached from the outside world, and the death of a close individual has no effect on him. He expresses no emotion and is able to continue his life like nothing tragic has occurred. Meursault has no problem telling Marie that he doesn’t love her and that love doesn’t mean anything. It is apparent that Marie has feelings for Meursault, but he has no problem hurting Marie by not expressing his love for her verbally. Meursault has no compassion and becomes hesitant when asked to help or give his opinion to others. He is willing to listen to other people’s stories, but has no intention of giving his input when asked to give his advice. On the other hand, Meursault’s ego changes when he is incarcerated and removed from the outside world. This is when he begins to express a need for things in the outside world that previously meant nothing to him. While in jail, Meursault begins to develop a desire for women and his mind is filled with thoughts about the opposite sex. In addition, he misses his cigarettes that were always available to him prior coming to jail. Meursault does not enjoy the fact that his
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English Midterm - Jacob Jessen English 106 Watson Fall 2009...

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