To what extent do Mersaults' reltionships (mother, girlfriend, raymond) lead to his imprisonment and alienation?I was thinking about this, its not an essay just something that i find curious...

To what extent do Mersaults' reltionships (mother, girlfriend, raymond) lead to his imprisonment and alienation?

I was thinking about this, its not an essay just something that i find curious since family and friends are essentially the opposite of alienation.

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Mersault's indifference to his mother's death is clear in the first line of the novel.  However, he is shaken a bit from his daily routine of repetition and his concept of the absurd meaninglessness of life in this scene; he is aware of others noticing his lack of emotion and his inappropriate mourning.'  this is even used against him in trial. Although still alienated and unaffected by his mother's death, he is forced to, at the very least, consider his mother's place in his life and what, if any, impact her death will have on his own life. 

His relationship with Raymond was also one born out of alienation. Despite what may be interpreted as his better judgement, he vouches for Raymond so Ray won't get arrested for beating his (Ray's) girlfriend; and I would guess that Mersault does so simply as part of his rejection of society's rules and human justice.  If he was not alienated, and rather in tune with society, his conscience and/or guilt would have implored him to turn Ray in. While behaving unethically and selfishly, Mersault is just following his philosophy of Absurdity. So, his primary concern of isolation via rebellion and rejection of human society get him linked up with Ray and, thus, in the situation with the Arabs. 

With Marie, Mersault finds himself considering a commitment with her: this of course would go against his psychology of self-alienation.

Mersault's crime and imprisonment were affected by these relationships; namely with Ray which put him at the beach in the first place. But in the end, it was Mersault's philosophical outlook. It could have been a subconscious effort to evade any commitment to Marie (which, in prison, he would regret).  It also could be part of his rejection of society. He claimed he did it because he was hot; a simply matter of indifferent free will. I get the sense that he didn't appreciate any relationship until he was physically alienated (prison.)

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