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Life is what distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms, declared in behavior such as growth, reproduction and response to the environment. Meursault, the main character from the short novel The Stranger, by Albert Camus, portrays a man who doesn't not feel and emotions to anyone or anything. He does not seem to have any emotions for anything happening in his life and many people picture as a senseless man. Everyone in the world goes through life changing crisis that takes them several months or even several years to get over but Meursault who just went through the death of his mother, shows little remorse towards reality.
Meursault shows a very limited amount of love or anguish at the fact of his mother's death. A sane human being would feel an immense amount of pain and sorrow for not being with their mother but Meursault does not even care about when she passed away. Straight away on the first pages of the novel, we encounter the part where his mother dies, and he does not care about it at all. "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: "Mother is deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours." (3) That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday." Meursault doesn't even care to call back and get some more information about his mother's passing. He shows no emotions or remorse because he just sent her away to another home to get someone else to take care of her. He could care less as he shows no trace of pain and just goes to do something else. A person uses their brain to think with, and they don't use it they are as good as a doll, like Meursault who himself has no deep thought on anything. His mother who had to carry him around for nine months and change his diapers dies, and he does not show any remorse. When Meursault was in court, they convict him for absence of sorrow at his mother's funeral. Meursault has nothing to say to that, he does not have any feelings for his own mother.
In addition, Meursault also shows the same lack of caring at his mother's vigil. He only concentrates on his physical discomfort. For example, when the gentlemen asks him if he wants to see his mother's body, Meursault declined, "He was moving towards the casket when I stopped him. "You don't want to" he said. I answered "no'" (6) So early in the novel, Camus shows us that Meursault shows no feelings towards his mother, someone who has loved him for so many years. This brings up a question, why did he even go to the home when he doesn't want to see his mother? He even lit up a cigarette in front of his mother's casket. "I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn't know if I could do it with maman right there. I thought about it; it didn't matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked" (8). He does not even know the meaning of respect and etiquette. He basically figured that since she is dead, smoking in front of her means nothing. He said "it didn't matter "as if he meant that his mother didn't matter. Meursault proves to us that smoking in front of her does not bother him, nor does his mother's death change the way he continues to live his life.
Meursault shows more acts of carelessness by going to the beach after the funeral. He goes for a casual swim, and bumps into an old friend, a woman named Marie. A regular person with emotions would stay home and grief about their mother but instead Meursault goes out for a walk and decides to go have fun at the beach.
Meursault just goes out and has fun. Once again, he proves to the readers that the death of his mother does not faze him one bit. He rather go out and have fun, he deals with his own physical needs and takes care of himself instead of paying respect to his mother. He simply lives in the present and not the future. This existentialist attitude is what gets him into trouble and gets him to not think about his next move. He just does whatever feels right to him at that present moment. Again, Meursault ignores the social transaction and emotions that one should show after a death of a loved one, especially his own mother.
Meursault lives in the present with little concern for the past or future. Camus shows us that Meursault doesn't take anything seriously; he instead keeps things as transparent as possible. Soon after Meursault is with Marie again, she asks him if he loved her. By now, we all know his carelessness behavior and his lack of emotions. Once again he focuses on the physical and not the emotional nad he replies: "When she laughed I wanted her again. 1 minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so" (35). Marie is always on Meursault's mind he loves her smile, he loves to be with her, and feels better when he sees her. To think someone would give an answer like that to her proves Meursault's careless behavior.
Meursault takes his apathy of others to the extreme when he kills an Arab. He acknowledges to his readers the he got into an argument with an Arabic man before, and when he went back, he shot him 4 times. Usually, a man would fall after one shot to the chest, but Meursault had the liberty of shooting him four times, while he said "it was because of the sun" (103). He simply doesn't care what happens to him in the present or future because he does what he wants to do in that moment. When Meursault had the chance to go see the Chaplin and confess his sins, he just says "I don't have anything to say to him" (108).
Meursault chooses the path of the existentialist, but why does Camus give us Meursault when he shows no respect for his acquaintances, family or authority figures? People are robots controlled in the surroundings they coincide in, no matter what happens they will always be the ones being controlled. To have characters like Meursault who does not care if the grass is green or if the sky is blue. Meursault is as good as a doll because nothing bothers him enough for him to get flustered by it.