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    The Personal Deficiencies of Meursault in Albert Camus’s Novel The Outsider

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    There are over seven billion people living on the earth and each and every one is unique. Identical twins may look the same however; they will not act the exact same or look absolutely indistinguishable. The technology for cloning has been created and theoretically it is possible to have an identical human clone. However, just because they have the same genome sequence it does not make them the same person. This raises the question of what really makes up a person?

    Psychologists have said that it is the experiences that make the person. However, it is also the way that the individual responds to and grows from the experiences. It is the ability to believe in something greater than who they are and the ability to desire something in life. In The Outsider by Albert Camus, the reader is introduced to a character that is lacking some of the fundamental factors that make a person.

    The death of a loved one, especially a mother, is a very traumatic experience in a human’s life. They are tossed on to the roller coaster of grief and can never completely get off. It is known as one of the lowest points in a person’s life because there is nothing they can do to change reality. However, this was not the case for Meursault. He never experienced the denial or anger or depression that comes with grief. He skipped the first four stages and landed directly on acceptance. The closest Meursault came to showing emotion towards his mother’s death was when he remarked how it felt like she was still alive.

    However, this was only because he had not seen it for himself and thus could not believe it to be true. Meursault needed to see the funeral in order for her death to be a “classified fact” and for it to assume “a more official aura.”(9) Throughout Meursault’s entire trip to the funeral he never showed the slightest bit of remorse or desire to see her again. The only thing he longed for was to be in “bed and sleep for a whole twelve hours.” (22) The last day a person sees their mother is one of the most haunting moments in life. From that moment on the child is forced to live, for the first time, in a world where their mother is not around.

    Even though Meursault did not have a need or want for companionship he still managed to draw people into his life. On the day after his mothers funeral Meursault met Marie and it was as if nothing in his life had changed. The only indication that Meursault was grieving was the presence of a black tie. Meursault did not understand that the reason for Marie’s reaction to the news was not due to the harsh topic, but the fact that such little time had passed and he did not seem the least bit affected.

    Meursault’s immediate response was to plead that “it wasn’t [his] fault”(24) even though he seemed to believe that one is” always partly to blame” (24) for giving unsettling news. As their relationship progressed Marie showed more affection towards Meursault however, he only saw her as a pretty piece of meat. When Marie asked him if he loved her he “told her that it didn’t mean anything but that [he] didn’t think so.”(38) In Meursault’s mind there was no such thing as love and hate. In fact, he had never even experienced frustration let alone full blown, shout it from the rooftops, love.

    At the end of this life people tend to look for answers of what is to come once they die. They try to find comfort in the presence of a god and a heaven or some believe in resurrection. No matter the case everyone tries to find something to comfort them in the darkest moments of their life. That is, everyone except for Meursault. When Meursault was counting the days till his execution the chaplain kept insisting to meet with him. However, Meursault insisted that he did not “feel like talking and [he would] be seeing him soon enough as it”(104) was. He could not fathom the fact that there could be something beyond what he could see with his eyes. After all just the fact that he was “physically separated” from Marie was enough for him to think that “there was nothing left to keep [them] together or to remind [them] of each other.”(110)

    Meursault survived life. He did not beat it, and he did not live it, he simply survived it. Ultimately, Meursault’s inability to have a normal relationship was what caused his demise, as it is hard to prove a person innocent when they never show emotion. If a person is not able to love or hate it is impossible for them to become their own person, as they are unable to form a solid belief. Ones beliefs and desires are the center of who they are and without them they are reduced to nothing more than a clone.

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    The Personal Deficiencies of Meursault in Albert Camus’s Novel The Outsider. (2023, Jan 06). Retrieved from

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