The Stranger By Albert Camus Critical Essay

If your reader can’t empathize with the character in some way, you risk losing your audience” (Lamb 140).The reader trundles toward the end of the book, looking for some insight, some hope that Meursault will develop as a character.I washed my hands and then I went out onto the balcony” (21), one wonders if the author is outlining this basic material to get to the good stuff about to take place, or whether these mundane details are the story in itself.

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In the beginning of the story, he is detached and disinterested; will he develop into a character with feeling and passion?

” The story continues from beginning to end without this anticipated character development taking place.

Meursault conveys, “I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I been happy.

And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness” (51).

As the story progresses, the narrative character, Meursault, portrays no backbone, no sense of moral values, and no perspective on much of anything. Readers are not necessarily looking for Prince Charming or Superman, but simply someone relatable and likeable – someone with whom they can connect.

Author Nancy Lamb explains one reason that readers want to read about realistic characters when she states, “Almost nothing yanks readers out of a story faster than when they feel a character’s actions are inauthentic.As a result of that moment, perhaps he convinced himself nothing mattered.Perhaps that is why he puts forth the idea that, “People never change their lives. Is it to invoke imagination, or to experience life through another’s eyes?As members of humankind, we crave connection with others – and connection with a character – hoping to discover that we are not alone in the way we think or relate to others or see the world; believing that if a faulty character can develop and transform throughout the chapters, maybe we can too.The reader expects insight into the narrative character’s motives, his reasoning, or if nothing else, his perspective of the event in hindsight; however, Meursault refuses to offer that insight.His unreliable narrative remains silent regarding his motivation, and his character is unchanged.In any case, one life is as good as the other” (41) Perhaps it is why, when his girlfriend asks if she wants him to marry her, he said that “It didn’t make any difference and we could if she wanted to” (41) It is almost as though he has forced himself to close off his mind and heart, his soul even, from anything that might seek to touch it, warm it, or bring it to life.The act of murder, and the whole blazing afternoon, is a masterful rendering written in a manner true to this narrative character.If there is no change in a character, no growth or progress, there is no satisfaction at the end of a story.Mersault, from reads like a novel, or more like someone’s personal diary.


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