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In The Stranger, how does Camus reveal that Marie is less aware of the state of the...

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vadym | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 16, 2008 at 5:42 AM via web

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In The Stranger, how does Camus reveal that Marie is less aware of the state of the universe than Meursault?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 8, 2013 at 8:40 AM (Answer #1)

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This novel is narrated in the first person perspective, so it is important to remember that the reader perceives all the other characters through the eyes of Meursault. Even so, however, it is clear that Marie's view of the world is very different from that of Meursault. Throughout the novel, Marie acknowledges a deeper romantic attachment to Meursault that values emotions such as love and commitment. Note what Meursault reports with typical nonchalance in the following quote:

A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so.

Meursault here clearly acknowledges his creed in the belief that human life is meaningless through his disavowal of any form of human emotions. Yet clearly Marie's question indicates her different perspective: love for her is integral to being human. Meursault's response, with typical forthright honesty, is something that reveals his lack of attachment to anything or anybody and his essential belief in the lack of meaning to be found in human existence. Marie, throughout the novel, stays faithful to Meursault, even after his lacklustre response. Marie therefore is shown to still cling on to "normal" human emotions because she still believes there is meaning in life, whereas Meursault loses this security during the course of the novel.

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