Saint-Exupery, Sartre and Camus
- Pages: 8
- Word count: 1974
- Category: Existentialism
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In XX century, France gave us such great authors as Saint-Exupery, Sartre and Camus. Sartre considered Camus as the successor of ancient breed of moralists whose creativity is the most original line of the French literature. In addition, if Camus is the bright person of the French literature, his most brilliant novels are The Outsider and The Plague.
Camus’ books arise on ground of meditation, which tries to find a root of all roots and to reach “naked” essence. Inevitably, such writing comes close to a parable, to the imagined universe where we can see a life as destiny. Outsider is the best example of such writings.
In Outsider we can see the tragedy of a metaphysical enlightenment. There mind makes the way through everyday vanity, which takes its place everywhere; tries to reach the truth of person applicability and existence. This truth is the sort of primordial and last myth, which can be considered as a precept. In Outsider, getting this truth is culmination and fascinating. Moreover, we get it in the end of novel, in the end of Meursault life.
Notes of the murderer who waited for execution after the court had made a decision. It willy-nilly is perceived as the invitation to think of validity of a verdict. In all senses this unexpressed but urgent appeal for the cassation, but the cassation not at court, but human conscience.
On the face of it, Outsider is a simple novel about merciless man who killed Arab. But is it really so simple? Who is Meursault indeed? Is he indifferent towards everything people care for and love? May be he sees the real state of things and knowing his fate does not try to change the world or pretend at least. Society did not discover what he really was and being afraid of people like him, decided to get rid of him. (Because it is always easier to get rid than try to understand). Thinking in this way we raise up one of the most important question: Why was society afraid of him? To answer this question we should consider novel and Meursault’s character in details.
The story consists of two equal parts, which reflect one another. The second part looks like mirror of the first one, but this is distorting mirror. Everything that has happened is reconstructed during proceeding and this “new copy” unrecognizable deforms a nature. From raw material of the facts dismembered and then adjusted on stiff patterns of life and mind, society produced fake. Sometimes it looks like Bible, where the Pharisaic “civilization” is shown directly at its work.
At the every beginning of the novel, Camus lifts the veil of Meursault’s character. Here we do not seethe explanation or analysis of behavior. Instead of Camus shown us the actions, which are more eloquent than any words. Meursault’s actions are like mute monologue – revelation. There are neither reader nor author , but only character and his own life.
Meursault was told that his mother had died. It is natural for any human being to start to cry and lose their hair. Usually in such situations people are so much absorbed into their sorrow, than everything is going on loses its sense and exists anymore. But what about Meursault? He even does not remember if it was the day he received telegram or the day before it. He is completely tranquil and can see nitty-gritty details of the things that take place around him; he keeps being sane and can sleep.
Even talking to his boss he stays calm and the first words he says is there is not my fault. Then he thinks that boss will condole with him. We can see that Meursault does not pretend that he feels sorrow. His reaction is diametrically opposite to people’s.
Then in the old people’s home after discussing funeral ceremony with director, Mersault goes in the mortuary to see his mother. He solicits not to show him the mama’s body and sits by the coffin. Tthe next scene, where caretaker tells Meursault about his life, is like addition. Caretaker who did not know Meursault tries to support him talking about the differences with a Paris funeral. And here Meursault becomes surprising at first because of his mother, to have a smoke. Moreover let us consider the situation with mother’s friends. Mother’s friends and other persons from old people home will be witnesses at the process against Meursault, in some respects they represent society. Here Meursault feels as if he is being judged. They all sit on the opposite side of the coffin.
The description of people, which are on the opposite side of Mwursault and coffin, is it a little hint on Meursault is protagonist. Why does not Meursault cry? Does not he really love his mother or just does not feel sorry for himself? Meursault knows the truth that everybody will die. Meursault also knows that he can do nothing to makes her be alive? He also knows that every tear on the his mother’s friend cheeks is nothing else as feeling sorry of themselves and life which certainly comes end. Mersault knows the truth that death is unavoidable and is not afraid of this. This truth is natural and it should not break the order of life. It lets him fall asleep.
Then, after coming home we can see minute-to-minute details of Meursault’s life. We see how his life changes depend on it is day off or ordinary day. Told us every Meusault’s action Camus makes us to be there with Meursault, and not be involved in his actions but to be a man from outside. We can se his days of a bachelor from dusty suburb the Algeria – life every day. Ordinary looking, dullish are habitually languidly pulled in first half of Outsider, it is not enough than allocated of hundreds similar to it.
And the silly shot caused more likely by sultriness of afternoon heat and any physical overdriving, than malicious intention, breaks off the quiet life. The imperceptible inhabitant gets on a dock. Meursault also is not going to hide anything, even willingly helps investigation. Nevertheless, the started judicial machine of a simple recognition has not enough. It needs repentance in inveterate criminality; differently murder is not stacked in heads of pillars of justice. When neither threats, nor promises help to pull out prospective proves, for them begin to search in Meursault’s biography, and find them.
Telling the truth is more likely strangeness, than defects. However, there is only one-step from strangeness up to extremity where evil is. As among follies, Meursault is completely inexcusable. Being under investigation, he is truthful up to full neglect the benefit. The disarming unwillingness to lie and pretend seems to everyone for whom to live – means to break a mercenary social comedy, the extremely suspicious – especially dexterous pretence, and even an encroachment on foundations. In both cases, it deserves a severe penalty.
In the second part of a story also occurs according to it carefully conceal the task reflection his ordinary life as villain. Dry eyes before a coffin of mother is explained as callousness of the moral ugly creature who has neglected the filial debt; the evening of the next day, which has been carried out on a beach and at cinema with the woman turns into sacrilege; nodding acquaintance with the neighbor (souteneur) is a belonging to a criminal bottom. Then searching of a cool in a shadow at spring is considered as revenge of bloodthirsty monster. In a boardroom, the defendant cannot get off sensation that judge someone another who is remote looks like the person familiar to him, but in any way was like Meursault. And defendant works.
However, to find out itself in that freak that has not shame and conscience, whose portrait arises from some testimony and is special from hints of a prosecutor. Above all these ominous remakes, the spirit of hypocrisy soars. In the speeches, the public prosecutor tells the secret of a court: Deaf to accept around of ceremonialism heart of “Outsider” – terrible a chasm where the society can fail. And Meursault send on a scaffold, in effect, not for the murder accomplished by him, but because of he has neglected hypocrisy from which it is weaved debt. Almighty pharisaic way creates punishment above the life, which has disappeared from him.
Guards of this order are movable more likely by fear, than consciousness of correctness. So the sacrifice arranged by them loses appropriate gravity, and in exchange gets a shade of a ridiculous farce. On one of interrogations between the inspector and person under investigation there is a conversation opening the nature of that enmity which officials have for “outsider”.
Having got from a table the crucifixion, the inspector swings before Meursault and a shivering voice conjures this non-believer again to believe in the god, if he really wants it. Meursault tries to guess whether it means that his life has lost sense. The request at first sight so strange, as well as inverted to Meursault entreaty of the prison confessor to accept a participle before death: master of the situation is humiliated admonish a victim.
And it is possible that only in lips of those who doubts can guesses that in values protected by them there is damage. And at the same time, they sacredly try to get rid of these suspicions. It is impossible to get rid of a wormhole, but it is possible to muffle melancholy fears, having tried to decline on the side of everyone who thinks differ from him or her. Behind omnipotence the authority covered confusion, and it makes them pity, because they are repellent and ridiculous simultaneously.
Hearing and an eye of the straight storyteller honesty transmitting everything that he can remember from judicial debate sensitively catches this impurity of falseness, which just and gives out almighty the internal feebleness. Being himself, Meursault secretly frighten the jurymen and public by means of stilted “slippery”. However, in a frame of naive inherent in retelling Meursault got surprised. This writing speech receives reduced – perusal and sounds silly. And in support of a parody style, there is a parody entertainment: judicial speech is accompanied by pompous gestures, which seem accused by a set of grimaces from any strange circus pantomimes.
It is clear that even in court where people speak another’s adverb, which does not worth to think it over; the truth of a human life is not present and cannot be. Being before the court, outsider turns into sarcastic court, where counterfeit values of the society are under the judgment.
What truth does manage this court above judges? The author keeps silent to the last minutes when, lost his temper because of he suddenly tells everything he thought about it. Society has killed Mersault may be because he showed them the truth they want to hide from themselves. Meursault has broken out the illusion of social order. Mersault had the freedom to be honest not only with other people but also with himself. Society does not want to have such freedom. Having such freedom looks like being lonely as Meursault was, but are we sure that being together and keeping “moral” and social order people are less lonely?
In some respect, Meursault is like Christ: being protagonist, breaking rules and social order he shows the truth, which can be worse than bad illusion. Nevertheless, there is question. If the social rules are illusion, can they really be broken? How can you break the things, which do not exist at all? And who of them Meursault or society is really protagonist?
Camus,Albert. The Outsider. New York:Punguin books,1999