Japanese novel "Kokoro" (the heart of things, natsume soseki) and "Le'etranger" (The stranger by Albert Camus.

Essay by PanditaCSULBHigh School, 12th grade May 2003

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Within societies one finds constructive elements that mimic one another. Many cultures or societies, despite ethnic, religious and territorial differences tend to share similar structure. They do so in terms of creating a mass majority body as a deciding component a world of robotic people subjected to the laws and ruled implemented by their world, creating a somewhat catatonic ethos. It is this unquestioning routine that is reflected in two culturally different novels, Soeski's Kokoro a Japanese translated novel and Camus' The Stranger a French based novel, both illustrate, through the protagonists, Sensei and Mersault's, a universality in the nature of man, where both chracters, suffer with themselves and society, struggle against it and are finally brought to similar conclusions about the limits of man, serving to enlighten the reader as well as serve as a message about the commonalities in mans relations with society and himself, despite time and culture, .

The theme of each story becomes clear, as the narrator's are made aware of their relationship with the oppressive patterns in their societies. In The Stranger Mersault, confined to his prison cell for the murder of an Arab, is forced to evaluate his relationship with society, as he begins to gradually recognize the absurdity of life. "Then I remembered what the nurse at Maman's funeral said, "No there was no way out, and no one can imagine what nights in prison are like." (Camus 81) Mersault having been separated from his life, living in a purely sensual environment, is abruptly introduced into a world he cannot comprehend. He has been thrown into a world that exists within the values created by the law and church. For the first time he is able to recognize the conflict between himself and the world. He is unable to find any truth...