Monday, April 11, 2011

Camus' Outsider: Brutally Honest.

What will be your attitude towars an honest person? Someone who always stick to his emotions rather than behave how the society wants him to? Someone who will die for truth rather than bow to the wishes of society and save his skin? According to the famous writer Albert Camus, such a person will be executed by the society.
In our society, any man who doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral is liable to be condemned to death.
And it is to demonstrate this point that he wrote this small, but striking novel called The Outsider (The Stranger in some other translations).  The Outsider is a story of Meursault, a young Algrian guy, who lives his life just like any other ordinary person. The only way he is different is that he is indifferent, he does not feel regret about his actions, nor is he passionate about anything. His life is just a procession of events, in which he just participates. When his mother died, he went for the funeral, but does not show any emotion of grief. After some days he kills an Arab who had picked a fight with his friend. He is put on trial. The trial which has to be concentrated on murder, the crime he did, diverts its course when the prosecutor implies that he is a monster because he did not cry in his mother's funeral. And death sentence is awarded to him as the jury finds it hard to show mercy to a person who is devoid of regret or grief. The novel ends when he purges out his hidden fury on a priest who came to show him the path of God just before his execution.

The whole court and the world was waiting for Meursault to break down and show regret for his deed, but he was not ready to be untruthful and show an emotion that he never felt. And they went on to demonize him. And Meursault was ready to die for truth, his truth, which was never parallel with the views of a civil society.   


  1. Its really mysterious how the world works.

    I just finished reading Camus 'The Fall' just 1/2 an hour back and I come across this post now!!!

    Jean-Baptist Clemence still running through my head creating havoc.

    *reactions pending*

  2. Well in todays day and age being honest doesnot work ,,,
    thats what i will say from the experiences that i have had ..


  3. Whoa... I need to read this 1..
    coz somehow the way you explained, It just fits on a person I know around me...
    I guess the moment we exist, we are told the rules, we never get a chance to make the rules, and those who do, either create history or they are lost in history


  4. there have been conventions that has been followed with no questions asked as to how to react/behave/feel when an event occurs. If you dont show that feeling, you are labelled indifferent and abnormal.

    an interesting novel which captures the indifferent attitude. I see you read a lot; good! I have not been able to read something for a while now. I have to pull my socks up.

  5. Cant comment as I havent read it but honesty is surely a relative term these days.

  6. I have wanted to read Camus for a while now! Good post, I guess the book puts a lot on the plate to think about, huh? Very few people can tolerate indifference; but who are we to judge how a person should behave whether we can tolerate it or not! That's what I would say!
    Have to read this book now! Great one!!

  7. Read this book a long time ago, but I still remember the third-person narration. "The Outsider" is indeed an apt title.