Death In Albert Camus The Stranger

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In literature, death often serves much more than a physical purpose. It can be a means of illustrating the death of a character’s mental state, his/her love, or psychological well-being. In part one of Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault, the narrator, learns that his mother has died and accordingly plans the funeral. However, the chapter is not entitled death solely for this reason. Using tone and the motif of the sun, Camus demonstrates throughout part one that death occurs in Meursault 's mental and emotional state, ultimately revealing the loss of his own humanity. It quickly becomes clear that Meursault’s tone following the death of his mother reflects his desensitized and seemingly distant state. After realizing that his mother had …show more content…

As Meursault reflects on the environment in which his mother lived, he notices “But today, with the sun bearing down, making the whole landscape shimmer with heat, it was inhuman and oppressive” (15). Prior to this description, the reader learns that Maman and Monsieur Perez typically walked down to the village together, as a sort of happy moment for them. Yet, as Meursault clarifies, “today”, the sun is especially evident with a scorching heat. Essentially, his attitude matches the inhuman nature of the sun with his desensitized and alienated state and is oppressive in the sense that he shows no regard for any other person or his/her emotions. He chooses not to look at his mother’s corpse and swiftly deals with the funeral process as quickly as he can. And, his apathetic state even extends to the moment he kills the Arab man. “The sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried Maman, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me...It was this burning, which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me move forward” (58-59). Meursault explicitly states that the sun of his current situation is the same as it had been at his mother’s burial, and this reveals the lack of humanity in the situation because of the description of “inhuman and oppressive”. His choice to shoot the Arab man multiple times, even after a first fatal shot, reflect his emotional and psychological detachment from humanity and his inability to recognize his own

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