Min Yi Zhang
English 12 Honors
April 3, 2014
Who's the Antagonist?
When reading a book, every reader has different viewpoint about antagonist, who's the opponent of the main character in the writing. In the novel "The Stranger", readers can find different antagonists based on their understanding. Some readers consider the court system is the antagonist since the court system penalizes Meursault with death sentence. Although the court system punishes Meursault harshly, many readers assert the antagonist of the novel is the sun since it twists Meursault's mind and judgment. The heating from the sun makes Meursault acted indifferently at his Maman's funeral, lied to the Magistrate, and murdered an Arab. As a result, the adversary of Meursault in Camus' novel "The Stranger" is the sun.
Burning down, the sun makes Meursault behaved apathetically at his Maman's funeral. In the beginning of the novel, Meursault is faced with the death of his Maman. He has to walk the body to gravesite with the priests, director, and Perez. While Meursault is walking to the gravesite, "the sun bearing down, making the whole landscape shimmer with heat, it was inhuman and oppressive" (Camus 15). Facing the unbearable sun, Meursault feels suppressive and frustrated. He forgets the feeling of depress. He could not think of anything other than the intolerable sunlight. As the surrounding gets hotter and hotter, the moral of Meursault is further twisted. At this point, Meursault cannot "see or think straight" (Camus 17). Meursault's thoughts become unreasonable. Rather than taking care of the casket as he supposes to, Meursault observes how people, who accompany him to the gravesite, react to the hot weather. Seeing Perez exhausts from the long trip, Meursault shows no sympathy. While Perez and others are...