Books and Movies Reviews

The Outsider by Albert Camus

This is an analysis on The Outsider by Albert Camus, an existentialist novel that details the life of Meursault, an anti-hero who refuses to play the game and conform to social norms, through a series of life changing events. The Outsider presents a strong relationship between the style of the text and it's meaning, and it is exactly these things that will be explained throughout the remaining portion of this essay. The style of the text is spoken in the words of Meursault, simple and at most times, impassionate, yet it uses imagery and the elements of nature often to relay emotions to the reader. Behind the text are the themes of existentialism, human experience and social expectancies, which work together to create meaning. Through various links in the style of text, one can thus connect to its meanings.
Analysis of the novel's style should begin by recognizing the story’s basic structure. There are three deaths, which mark the beginning, middle, and end of the story. First, Meursault’s mother dies. This death occurs before the narration starts, but marks the start of Meursault’s downfall. In the middle of the tale we have the death of an Arab. The defining events in The Outsider are set in motion by Meursault’s apparent murder of the Arab, which is triggered by the enraging heat and other combined elements that seem to pursue him throughout the story. At the end of the novel, Meursault is executed. Interestingly, Meursault’s name is also symbolic and backs up the points presented on the style of text. Mer means “sea” and Soliel is French for “sun.” The sea and sun meet at the beach, where Meursault’s fateful act occurs. During times of normality, Meursault sees things in very black and white terms. But when the suns rays thicken, everything exaggerates. At the end of chapter two, Meursault details the perverse effects that the'sun-drenched sky' has on him. He describes the black, melting tar. By this stage he…

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