How Does The Use Of Imagery In The Stranger Enhance Your Understanding Of Mersault’s Character And Situation?

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There are many abstract ideas and imageries under the surface of Albert Camus's novel, The Stranger. Mersault is a protagonist and also the narrator of the book, and is alienated by the society because of his unique personality. Mersault does not care about the social rules and conventions. He is a direct person who does things that he wants to do and does not lie to make his life easier. Based on the literature "“ The Stranger "“ Mersault's life experience is trying to reveal that this society is often prejudiced against people who are different. His life is based upon three imageries in which led to his downfall "“ Mersault acts like an existentialist, the Sun, and his life at prison.

The term existentialism "“ philosophical theory emphasizing that individuals are free to choose their actions "“ fits the description of Mersault's unusual passion for the truth and the jury's prejudice of him costs him his life.

When Mersault's mother, Maman, died in a nursing home at Marengo, he asks his boss for two days off (which makes a four day weekend). Mersault thinks his boss is annoyed so he states, "It's not my fault." He shows no sad emotions that the most people expected. For example, he drank a cup of coffee and smoked a cigarette with the caretaker next to his mother's coffin. Mersault doesn't even want the caretaker to open the casket, so he can see his mother. When one of the assistants asks Mersault how old his mother was, he stated, "I don't know." Another image is when Marie "“ Mersault's co-worker and "girlfriend" "“ asked Mersault whether or not he loves her and want to marry her. He said, "It doesn't matter." These innocent gestures weigh heavily against Mersault, which will later aid in his downfall.

Mersault, Raymond "“ a warehouseman "“ and Marie are invited to go to a beach to meet Masson, Raymond's friend. On the way there, Raymond sees two Arabs near the bus stop, and he knows that one of them "“ "the Arab" - is the brother of his mistress. Raymond seems worried that they will have revenge for her sister, after Raymond beaten her. They got to the beach and they meet the Arabs again and started a quarrel. "The Arab" slashed Raymond and went to get aid. Raymond and Mersault encounter "the Arab" again and Raymond takes out his revolver. But Mersault talks Raymond into handing over his gun. "The Arab" draws the knife in which the Sunlight reflects off the blade and directly into Mersault's eyes. Mersault fires the gun once and then four more times into the Arab's body. Mersault is eventually arrested for killing the Arab and stated that he killed him "because of the Sun." The Sun is the motivation of Mersault to kill the Arab that led him to prison and is sentenced to death in which forced Mersault's inner thoughts out and realizes what he verbally and physically did that was immoral in his life.

For killing "the Arab", Mersault is arrested and went to prison. He is interviewed by the magistrate, who gets furious because Mersault does not believe in God. During the trial, everything is against Mersault. Mersault knows that his sentence to death has become a fact that cannot be changed. With time in prison, Mersault begins to have "the thoughts of a prisoner." He said, "I often thought then that if I had been made to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing else to do but watch the flowering of the sky above my head, I would have grown used to it little by little" "“ which means that he will get used to prison after a while. Mersault was afraid of the guillotine and he "kills time" by recalling the tiniest descriptions in his apartment and in his cell. He starts to think about his parents "“ in which he never thought about them before. He then thinks that an execution is really the only thing of interest for a man. Mersault has finally shed any spark of hope, so he opens himself to the "gentle indifference of the world." His only hope is that there will be a crowd of angry spectators at his execution so that he will feel less alone.

Furthermore, the philosophy of existentialism is what Albert Camus is trying to bring up in The Stranger. The point of view of this novel is the relationship between human being and society is ridiculous. In a society, everyone should have the same feelings and thinking with the majority. But people with different views "“ like Mersault "“ are classified as unacceptable. His lack of emotions and grief towards Maman's death and other people, murdering the Arab "because of the sun", and his time at prison are unacceptable. Although lying is thought to be morally incorrect, in reality, society does want us to lie.