Character Analysis Of Meursault In The Outsider

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Characterization is pivotal to the progress of a novel, and how the attitudes and emotional behaviours of characters develop through the book informs the plot in a cyclic way that feeds into further character development. In The Outsider, Albert Camus presents the protagonist Meursault as principally different to the people around him. For a majority of the novel, Meursault seems comfortable with his indifference to society, but despite his seemingly unchanging character, he develops a self-awareness and acceptance through his suffering in prison after committing murder, and the subtlety of this change makes it very important in understanding Meursault as a character as well as the overlaying themes of existential philosophy and the inevitability of death. One of Meursault’s characteristic traits is his honesty. From the attendance of his mother’s funeral in Part One, Chapter One, it is evident that he sees no apparent need to behave in a way that is considered socially acceptable but not in line with his own logic. He challenges the expectations of bereavement after the passing of a loved one, shedding no tears over his mother’s death and instead contemplating the inconveniences caused by the event which interfere with his daily routines. This honesty is a part of Meursault that remains a constant throughout the book and could be considered a mechanism he uses to keep himself grounded and in control of his involvement in situations. This is seen in Part Two, when he
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