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The Stranger IOP

A study into the evolving Existentialist aspects of Meursault

John Baldwin

on 16 November 2012

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Transcript of The Stranger IOP

By John Baldwin The Stranger
Book 2, Chapter 1 Existentialism Existentialism is a philosophy concerned with finding one's self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. Existentialists believe in human free will, that human nature is chosen through life choices, that a person is best when struggling against their individual nature, fighting for life, that decisions are not without stress and consequences, personal responsibility and discipline is crucial, society is unnatural and its traditional religious and secular rules are arbitrary, and that Worldly desire is futile. An Insensitive Nature "I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings...What I can say for certain is that I would rather Maman had not died" (65). Wants a Friend "He struck me as being very reasonable and, overall, quite pleasant, despite a nervous tic which made his mouth twitch now and then. On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but just in time, I remembered that I had killed a man" (64).
Need for Acceptance "I made him feel uncomfortable. He didn't understand me, and he was sort of holding it against me. I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else" (66). Meursault's Nature V.
Meursault's Desires Doesn't Know What Not to Say "I answered that I had pretty much lost the habit of analyzing myself and that it was hard for me to tell him what he wanted to know. I probably did love Maman, but that didn't mean anything. At one time or another all normal people have wished their loved ones were dead. Here the lawyer interrupted me and seemed very upset" (65). Holding Back? "He asked me if he could say that that day I had held back my natural feelings. I said, 'No, because it's not true.' He gave me a strange look, as if he found me slightly disgusting" (65) A Negative Impression "He told me in an almost snide way that... 'Things could get very nasty for me'... He left, looking angry" (65). "He asked if I loved Maman. I said, 'Yes, the same as anyone,' and the clerk, who up til then had been typing steadily, must have hit a wrong key" (67). Insensitivity Continued "That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would be meaningless. 'Do you want my life to be meaningless?' he shouted. As far as I could see, it didn't have anything to do with me, and I told him so" (69). "He simply asked, in the same weary tone, if I was sorry for what I had done. I thought about it for a minute and said that more than sorry I felt kind of annoyed. I got the impression he didn't understand" (70). "I wished I could have made him stay, to explain that I wanted things between us to be good, not so that he'd defend me better but, if I can put it this way, good in a natural way" (66). Good Times for Meursault Sometimes, when the conversation was of a more general nature, I would be included. I started to breathe more freely. No one, in any of these meetings, was rough with me. Everything was so natural, so well handled, and so calmly acted out that I had the ridiculous impression of being 'one of the family.' And I can say that at the end of the eleven months that this investigation lasted, I was almost surprised that I had ever enjoyed anything other than those rare moments when the judge would lead me to the door of his office, slap me on the shoulder, and say to me cordially, 'That's all for today, monsieur Antichrist'" (71) Meursault's Dilemma Meursault has an incredibly abrasive nature, where he never knows what he should not say, and where he is very insensitive, making people dislike him. The problem is, Meursault NEEDS human interaction.
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