6 Dec. 2010
Throughout the novel The Stranger, Albert Camus uses foils to show how Meursault has changed from when he was with Maman after she died, and when he was with the priest in the jail cell.
In the passage when Meursault tells the caretaker that he doesn't want to see Maman after she died, Albert Camus shows that Meursault did not have a good relationship with Maman because of how he did not want to look at her body when she died. For humans, this symbolizes that not all people have close relationships with family members. Also Meursault may have feared the death of his mother and was embarrassed and had feelings of guilt because he did not visit her while she was in the home.
When the passage begins, Meursault starts by saying "Maman died today"(p.3). Meursault says he will take the two o'clock bus and get to the old people's home in the afternoon. He slept the whole bus ride which shows that his thoughts were not on Maman's death. Meursault wanted to see Maman right away but the caretaker told him that he had to see the director first. The director told him, "Madame Meursault came to us three years ago. You were her sole support. You don't have to justify yourself, my dear boy. I've read your mother's file. You weren't able to provide her properly. She needed someone to look after her. You earn only a modest salary. And the truth of the matter is, she was happier here"(p.4). "You're young, and it must have been hard for her with you"(p.5).
When Maman was at home with Meursault, she used to spend her time following him with her eyes, not saying a thing, which further suggests a distant relationship. She cried a lot the first few days because she wasn't used to the home. "A few months later and she would have cried if she'd been taken out. She was used to it"(p.5). That year of Maman being in the home, Meursault did not go there to visit much. He also said it took up his Sunday, and it was too much trouble to buy a bus ticket and spend two hours traveling to visit her. This shows Meursault had no thoughts or feelings toward Maman.
The director spoke to Meursalt again. "I suppose you'd like to see your mother. I'll leave you now, Monsieur Meursault. If you need me for anything, I'll be in my office"(p.5). Meursault thanked him. Meursault went in the room and soon after, the caretaker came in. "We put the cover on, but I'm supposed to unscrew the casket so you can see her. You don't want to?" "No." "Why not?" "I don't know." "I understand"(p.6).
Life is too short because just like Maman, we will eventually die someday and will regret our actions of not having the chance to be close to a loved one that we may lose at any given time.
Still, throughout The Stranger, Albert Camus uses the priest as a foil to show that Meursault has changed from when he was with Maman after she died. He goes from emotionless from after Maman died and he gets emotional when the priest shows up in his jail cell.
In the passage when Meursault yells at the priest when he comes to talk to him, Albert Camus shows that Meursault did not have a good relationship with him because of how he treated him. For humans, this symbolizes that not all people have close relationships and get along with each other.
When the passage begins, Meursault starts by yelling at the top of his lungs at the priest. Meursault says, "I insulted him and told him not to waste his prayers on me"(p.120). Meursault then grabbed him by the collar of his cassock and was pouting out on him everything that was in his heart, cries of anger and joy. Meursault feels guilty and tells the priest to not waste his time on him. "I had lived my life one way and I could just as well have lived it another" (p.121). Feelings of death was all Meursault had.
Meursault still has feelings of guilt because he didn't cry at Maman's funeral. Meursault felt that because he didn't cry, it didn't matter. It didn't matter that he was accused of murder and being executed.
Meursault was gasping for air because of all the shouting he did. "But they were already tearing the chaplain form my grip and the guards were threatening me" (p.122). The chaplain calmed them and looked at Meursault for a moment without saying a word. The chaplain's eyes were full of tears and then he turned away and disappeared.
The chaplain then left and Meursault was able to calm down. Then he started to think about Maman again. "I was exhausted and threw myself on my bunk. I must have fallen asleep because I woke up with stars in my face. For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. So close to death, Maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all again too" (p.123). This shows he is still thinking about Maman and having guilty feelings about Maman and their relationship.
Life is too short because just like Maman, we will eventually die someday and well regret our actions of not having the chance to be close to a loved one that we may lose at any given time. Also just like Maman, Meursault is going to die. He will be executed and his death is going to be quick. This relates to part 1 because Meursault still has guilty feelings about his poor relationship with Maman and he did not have a good relationship with the priest either because of his behavior.
Throughout the novel The Stranger, Albert Camus shows that Meursault’s behavior towards Maman and the priest have changed in a big way because he went from being emotionless after Maman died, and he became very emotional when the priest walked into his jail cell. This explains that he didn’t have a good relationship with Maman and the priest. For humans, this symbolizes that people that act like Meursault, do not have a close relationship with loved ones or people that are being nice and trying to help him. If Meursault had changed his attitude from the beginning, maybe he wouldn’t end up where he is now.