Please argue on Meursalt's behalf and convince the reader of his ideology.

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Albert Camus' novel The Stranger, Meursalt is an abusd hero who loves life, hates death, and scorns the gods.  Camus' and Meursalt's ideology and philosophy are the same: the universe is absurd, and man must accept its meaninglessness accordingly.  Rather than be determined from outside forces (religion, the institution of marriage and other social and familial expectations), man must be determined from within (by freedom and choice).  Similar to existentialism, Camus' absurdism simply urges men to choose life and beauty instead of death and decay.  Most men, Camus says in the novel and others essays, consciously choose death instead.

1.  "Hate Death."  Meursault hates death.  This is why he does not cry at his mother's funeral and falls asleep during her vigil.  He does believe that showing absurd signs of guilt after a loved one has died makes an individual better; rather, he sees is as an absurd and sadistic cultural celebration of death and guilt.  Whereas Thomas Perez nearly dies from heat exhaustion to honor the culture of death, Meursault sees his acts as mock heroic.

2.  "Love Life."  Meursualt loves life.  This is why he celebrates the weekend after the funeral with Marie.  He would rather swim and make love than wear black and mourn.  Meursault lives in the moment, and he defies social expectations (which gets him into trouble).  He refuses marriage and a job promotion because they would negate his daring sense of freedom and love of life.

3.  "Scorn the gods."  Meursalt scorns not only God, but many "gods" in society (what society deems as important).  Rather than feel guilty about shooting the Arab or his mother's death or not believing in God, Meursault defies the law, the culture of death, and the priest.  Instead, he sees the universe not governed by any of their laws or beliefs.  In the end, he believes no one had the right to cry over his mother's death, or his own.  In the end, he accepts even the absurdity of death.

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The Stranger

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