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A brief comparison of Meursault and Salamano’s attitude towards death
L’Étranger or “The Stranger” is a novel by the famous French author Albert Camus written in the year 1942. The story’s premise and attitude are habitually cited as an illustration of Camus’ philosophy of the bizarre and absurd, and existentialism. This the novel tells us the story of emotionally unavailable , amoral young man named Meursault. The novel mainly employs the use of existentialism to point out the futility of human existence. Thus, from here emerges its main motif- Death. His essay explored the contrasting attitude of Salamano and Meursault’s towards death (Camus).
Meursault considers death to be predestined or inevitable, and that is what makes all men one and the same. Additionally, he disregards any belief in afterlife, which further leads to a conflict with the caretaker. Meursault also comes to a conjecture that no matter what the humanity does, it has no effect on the world or their destiny to die in the end. He also deems that the universe is unsympathetic just like he is. All of this is evident in the way he accepts his mother’s death. He does not channelize his feelings into expressing towards her death and the society. He fleets time away drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes with the caretaker (Gullette).
On the other hand we have Salamano. He completely loves his dog which is described as decaying and scab-covered and he holds their companionship very dear to his heart. But while they are together and even start looking similar, Salamano is persistently beating up the dog. He had got the dog after his wife died, so it seems that to him death is merely a creation of space which he replaced soon. He is simply trying to fill up a void that has been left to him by his wife by living in denial, given that he is reluctant to change.
All in all, Camus tried to end the maddening vagueness and thus strengthen his consciousness of death’s inescapability (consequently also of the reality of life), or, less likely, as a gesticulation of despondency. In other words, Death is significant for Camus to emphasize the books inspection of existentialism (Satre).
Camus, Albert. L’Étranger. France: Éditions Gallimard, 1942. Print.
Gullette, Alan. “Death and Absurdism in Camus’s The Stranger.” 1979. Essays by Alan Gullette. Document.
Satre, Jean Paul. Existentialism and Humanism. Yale University Press, 2007. Print.
If you like this sample, read through The Stranger Essay – Existential Motives as well.