Sunday, April 06, 2008

Camus's Stranger

I'm taking a class over Albert Camus's life and works. I won't torment you all with a review of every single thing the man wrote as far more qualified people than myself have already done so and given him a Nobel Prize for it. What I will torment you with is the first paragraph of the essay I wrote over l'Étranger which is called the Stranger in English.

The plot of l’Étranger is simple. Meursault kills a man at the end of part one, and he ends part two awaiting execution, the rest is just maneuvering him into position for those events to transpire. What makes the maneuvering interesting is the way in which he learns to think about the world around him. The question remains: what exactly does he learn, that the reader is compelled to return to l’Étranger again and again? One might say it is the brutal honesty with which Meursault address the world and himself. While that is compelling, I answer that honesty is a trait which he has had since the very beginning of the book, when he admits that the telegram informing him of his mother’s death “doesn’t mean anything” . What Meursault learns is that only the man who knows the exact time and manner of his death can really live.

I'll give it 9 out of 10. The last star taken a way because the reader spends most of the book trying to tell the protagonist that he's an idiot.

-Yami, who promises that next time she'll review a book she read for fun.