It is really starting to scare me how much people seem to be against the main character of Albert Camus’ The Stranger. It was assigned as summer reading and now we’re going over it in our literature class. The reason that all of this Stranger-hating is starting to freak me out is because I can relate so well to him. When people in class start to dissect his personality, they’re all basically like, “Yeah, he’s basically a cold, numb, emotionless poop head. He’s cruel and heartless.” I just want to stand up and go like, “Uh-uh. You’re wrong.” I tried to defend the character a little bit in my answers to the guided reading questions we got the other day, but my literature teacher didn’t read them.
Basically, the story is about this guy. And by the way that the book is written, in short, dry sentences, it sounds like this guy, Mersault, pretty much doesn’t care about anything but himself. Or…. at least that’s what the people in my literature class say it sounds like. The book starts with Mr. Mersault going to his mother’s funeral. There are several things that might make some people think that Mersault is an evil self-obsessed pee brain. Like how he doesn’t sound too upset at the fact that his mother has just passed away. Or like when he says that maybe after the funeral, everything would have a more official feel to it. Or like when he wanted to get home straight away after the funeral.
Yeah, I guess that does sound pretty cold and evil. But really, you have to look deeper into the story, people! I think this guy suffers from some pretty massive ADD. Or at least some kind of anxiety disorder. He isn’t devoid of emotion. In fact, I might even say that Mersault is extra sensitive. From the way that Mersault reacts to environmental influences like bright lights and noises, it seems like Mersault has to remain relatively emotionless simply to keep from teetering off the edge…… like he does later in the book.
I honestly feel very bad for Mersault as he endures his mother’s long funeral procession. For somebody with his impatient personality, the whole thing must have been tortuous. Not because of his mother’s death (it isn’t really clarified in the book whether or not he feels anything about that, he might and he might not), but because of the environmental factors: the blinding sunlight, the drone of insects chirping as he walks down the country road, the utter dullness of his surroundings and the monotonous color scheme of the day. All Mersault wants to do is feel safe and secure inside of his normal day-to-day routine.
I just don’t get what this book is supposed to teach us if everybody thinks that Mersault is truly bad to begin with. What’s the point of that insane murder trial at the end of the book? I think that we’re supposed to sympathize with Mersault. I honestly thought that that was the point of the book. To show us how small events can lead to something very tragic and how cruel the world can sometimes be. We should feel bad for him. Everybody else in the book seems to be against him already…. But then again, I found many parts of the book very humorous, while many people told me that they found it horribly depressing…. Well, anyway, I’m really sorry if you just read this entire post and the whole thing just flew over your head. I didn’t feel like giving much background about the book….. Go read it, though. It’s pretty good and it’s VERY short.