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    Albert Camus’ “L’Etranger” Essay

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    The passage I am going to discuss from Albert Camus’ L’Etranger” is significant in the book for several reasons. It comes at the point in the book where we are nearing the end of Meursault’s trial for murder. Within this section, Meursault’s unique character traits are highlighted. He behaves and thinks differently from those around him and does not act in a conventional way as one might expect. I will discuss how Meursault’s nature forces him to play the role of the victim in the courtroom.

    I will also discuss Meursault’s emotional detachment from the case and his greater concern for his physical well-being. The passage is largely a grim and negative description of what happened towards the end of Meursault’s trial. He reflects on things other than the trial to begin with, which lets the reader know that his mind is wandering. The first few lines of the passage reflect the tedious and lethargic feelings Meursault has with regards to his case. It is interesting to note that ‘A la fin’ to ‘jusqu’a moi’ is one long sentence with little punctuation.

    Camus uses this technique to highlight the monotonous ambiance. The word ‘continuait’ also emphasizes this. In addition, the passage includes much pessimistic and negative vocabulary such as les pauvres”, “les tenaces”, and “assailli”, which reflect the mood at the time. However, we know that the opinions expressed are solely Meursault’s and no one else’s due to the fact that L’etranger is narrated throughout by Meursault himself. This differs from traditional methods in which there is usually an omniscient narrator.

    The narration makes the passage interesting because Meursault is a thinker. He is skeptical and often reflects on life in an existential manner. In this passage, Meursault speaks of le remords eternal,” which will be his punishment for what he has done. He is also portrayed as melodramatic when he says, “je sentais mon coeur ferme.” Meursault has another trait that sets him apart from the other characters in the book.

    Heat and light have a strange influence on him and are therefore important motifs in L’etranger. His physical state is more important to him than his emotions, and he is only truly affected by things that he can physically feel, such as temperature. It is expected that during a trial, one would feel frightened or anxious, but Meursault does not seem to be affected emotionally. He simply describes to the reader that le chaleur était moins forte.” Following on from the previous point, I will discuss how Meursault is portrayed as a disinterested spectator.

    This is obviously unusual considering that for Meursault, whether he wins his case or not will determine his fate. He does not acknowledge this fact in the passage and allows his thoughts to wander to other things. For example, when he says Aux quelques bruits de rue que j’entendais, je devinais la douceur du soir,” he is thinking about the climate outside rather than paying attention to what is going on in the courtroom. At one point, he also states, “J’ai encore regardé…”

    La Salle,” which gives the impression that he has not been looking at or paying attention to the room and what is going on in it for a length of time. In addition to his lack of interest in the courtroom activities, there is also a lack of speech on Meursault’s part. People speak to him, and at one point, he replies (“J’ai acquiesce”), though it should be noted that this reply is not in direct speech. The lack of direct contact with Meursault isolates him from the other characters.

    He is more of a spectator than a participant, which is ironic since the case would not exist had it not been for his actions. In the last sentence of the passage, Meursault states, Je n’ai même pas pu répondre à son sourire,” making it clear that he is not willing to make any contact with another at this point in time. As a result, Meursault separates himself from the rest of the courtroom, but at the same time brings himself closer to the reader. The fact that he is separated allows the reader to feel sympathy towards him and obligingly listen to what he has to say.

    Listening to Meursault’s reflections, it is clear that he is an intelligent spectator. He reflects critically on the events that take place around him. Evidently, no one else has taken note that a substantial amount has not changed since the first day of the hearing. Camus presents Meursault as intellectually superior to the lawyers, the jury, and the audience. He is disinterested, bored, and notices things that they do not.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Albert Camus’ “L’Etranger” Essay. (2018, Jan 01). Retrieved from

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