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Meursault: The Absurd Hero

             In The Outsider Albert Camus develops Meursault as an existential hero, to promote the theme of being different than the majority of society. Meursault is a deeply disturbed character that is unable to identify with not only people and but also his surroundings. His peculiar attitude towards all of his relationships reveals Meursault's perplexing, disturbed mind. Society is unable to understand Meursault and the way he presents himself. Although on the other hand, Meursault feels the same way about society.
             Camus illustrates Meursault's alienation from society in order to create a clearer picture of the feeling of being on the outside looking in. Camus highlights how Meursault distances and withdraws himself from all of his relationships and how he creates a barrier between himself and his emotions: "Alienation and hostility arise within the family between parents and children, between the husband and the wife, between the children. Alienation affects all social and work relations, and most cruelly, alienation dominates the relationship of love"(www.uvpress.uv.es/Curso9899/Camus%2CA01 /BASIC3.HTM). This is evident in relationships like the one between Raymond and Meursault: "I didn't say anything and he asked me again if I wanted to be his mate. I said I didn't mind" (Camus 33). Meursault does not show enthusiasm towards the friendship, which, reveals the alienation that Meursault exploits and unwillingness to show emotions. Meursault's lack of understanding of Raymond makes the relationship between Meursault and Raymond difficult for him to accept. Marie is very open and is able to show Meursault exactly how she feels but Meursault is too closed in and one minded and does not show his true feelings: "A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her that it didn't mean anything but I didn't think so" (Camus 38). I interpret Meursault as truly having feelings for Marie, but he is unable to express himself because he is too used to alienating all his relationships and he doesn't know how to respond.

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