The Stranger Camus shows that Meursault can find his true identity only throughan encounter with death. Meursault goes through some deaths in his life thatlead to his own. This awkward, but most entertaining, character discovershimself through the tragedy that occurs in his life. His life is a full one andhe faces each situation the same way. The encounters of death starts here, thedeath of Meursault’s mother.
“I wanted to see Maman right away”(Camus4), this extraordinary quote by Meursault is a side of him that we do not get tosee that often. That is one of the few times we get to see his loving side comeout and show his affection to his mom. He accomplishes the capability of gettingis inner feelings out. Camus expresses the true thoughts of Meursault by saying,”That’s partly why I didn’t go there much this past year. And also becauseit took up my Sunday – to mention the trouble of getting to the bus, buyingtickets, and spending 2 hours traveling”(5). Meursault tells us that hereally didn’t want to go through all that trouble just to see his own mom.
Hehas feelings for his mom, as you heard in the last quote, but not enough to gosee her. As Bree said,” . . . Meursault’s error lies precisely in hisestrangement”(112). Bree is saying that Meursault is a great guy and all,but his main, and big, problem is his personality. The most important part offinding his own identity was the murder of the Arab.
Meursault gets out of handand shoots an Arab dead. “My whole being tensed and I squeezed my handaround the revolver”(59 Camus). Meursault had the revolver in his hand andhe claims that because he was so tensed about everything that was going on, thatmade him shoot the gun.
He has some mental problems as you can see, Meursault isnormal most of the time, but he defiantly has his moments. Albert Camus tries toshow that Meursault is finding himself through this violent act he has done,”I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptionalsilence of a beach where I’d been happy”(59). Meursault is slowly findinghis true self, after you read this quote, you think he has realized the terriblething that he has done, and that he broke the beautiful day that he was having.He feels the grief of doing this to the Arab.
But once again Meursault gets outof hand when he ” . . .
fired four more times at the motionless body wherethe bullets lodged without leaving a trace”(Camus 59). Meursault tries tofind his identity by thinking everything over, but then his craziness takes overagain. The whole murder scene can be summed up in this simple quote by Bree,” .
. . the revolver shot jolts Meursault out of his purely negative state.At this time he is aware that he has committed an irreparable act. .
.”(114). Germaine Bree reveals the feelings that Meursault does not show. SoMeursault explore his identity by shooting a man and realizing that he haschanged his life forever.
One way of saying it is that he has changed his lifeforever, but another way is that he just sent himself to death row. WhatMeursault did was a great thing by making another step to find his own identity,but also sent him to jail. Now he must make his final stage to find himself, whohe really is. “On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but justin time, I remembered that I killed a man” (Camus 64), when Meursault saidthat just in time he remembered, that was a very important thing that he did.That’s important because he shows that he is expressing courtesy and respect forother.
He is accepting who he is. Camus tells that Meursault’s feelings come outagain, “When I was first imprisoned, the hardest thing was that my thoughtswere still those of a free man” (76). Meursault feels that he liked hislife the way it was before the killing. This is the most important part of thebook, Meursault thinks of the way his life would be if he would have never haddone that. He is completing his final stage of finding himself.
” . . . Ihad only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of myexecution and that they greet me with cries of hate” (Camus 123), thisamazing quote shows that Meursault knows that his day is coming and that he hasdone nothing but caused harm to the city and his friends. He has finally foundthat person that he really is, a caring, loving and respectful person. It isjust a shame that after all the hard work to find himself, and he does, he hasto die.
The encounters of death have slowly showed the way for Meursault. He wasable to see who he really is. Meursault’s journey has been a full one. Thisjourney started with the dreadfully painful death of Meursault’s mom.
Then itwent to Meursault killing the Arab, which helped him show his inner feelings.Last of all, was the waiting for his own execution. When Meursault realized whatwas going on, and put everything together, he was able to find his own identity.Germaine Bree has the answer to the whole problem, “It is clear thatMeursault’s initial mental attitude proves inadequate to cope with even thesimplest of lives” (117).English Essays