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"Camus Defended The Dignity And Goodness Of The Individual" Discuss This Assertion In Relation To The Novel.

1133 words - 5 pages

The Outsider is a novel that has had controversy surrounding it since its publication. Critics and casual readers have had opinions ranging from it being a book of immense importance for the current society which they live in to it being a somber book with a nihilist as the protagonist. These are the types of comments that Meursault would take into consideration, not judging them but accepting them, for he respected their beliefs. Even though it was an unconscious action in the first part of the novel, after reflecting about his life he understands that he saw everyone as privileged and capable of living their lives full of experiences that would make them acquire certain traits (thinking that others acted with honesty as their basis). He did not see the absurdity that life was so full of until the end; he naively lived his life believing that others shared this respect for others. He thought that people lived for the truth as he did, that is why he would have a mild confusion after witnessing the reactions people would have with some of his answers. Albert Camus gave each human the dignity they deserved when they acted upon their own wishes and not those of (in Camus' view) a false deity.Meursault treats his acquaintances regarding them with an air of indifference, but this was one of the unique virtues that gave him the ability to become the advocate of Camus' "Christ" (the exemplar human). When the manner in which Salamano treats his dog on walks is described we are given Celestes thoughts on the matter, they are "It's dreadful" and within the same sentence Meursault comments that "in fact you can never tell." Camus is making a character that recognizes the vast possibilities of why a person would treat their companion in such a manner (even if he does all this subconsciously), because it could be out of jealousy of not having the carefree life of a dog or resentment for both of them coming to such old age and the dog still having so much will to keep on living. Meursault does not know why this treatment occurs and even if he did (as he indirectly finds out) he would still respect the decision as long as it was a true feeling, that was how he wanted to act towards the dog so let him do it is another way of putting it.What makes Meursault so different from the rest of society is his subconsciouspassion for the absolute truth. He refuses to lie to himself or anyone else, because itdistorts his reality and truth of existence. He refuses to pretend that he feels somethingwhen he doesn't, and refuses to bend the facts or benefit from a lie. When Marie askshim whether he loves her or not he replies, "...that it didn't mean anything, but that Iprobably didn't. p.44" After killing the Arab, in the second half of the book, he isasked by his lawyer to say to the court that he has merely been controlling his feelingsas a reason for not crying at his mothers funeral, he says, "No, because it isn't true.p.65" He is merely a man of truth and reality based...

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