Sunday, January 27, 2013

Anna's Answer VS Levin's Answer

Anna begins without personal freedom, burdened by a responsibility to her unsatisfying husband. Her fulfillment comes from her responsibility to her son. When she meets Vronsky when away from her son, she stays true to her responsibilities, but not for long. Vronsky's persistence causes Anna to seek personal freedom outside the confines of her drab marriage  The more she indulges in this freedom, the more irresponsible she becomes. Once society notices these irresponsibility  she is rejected and Anna loses her one source of prior fulfillment  her son. Now, nearly free, Anna finds herself disgraced in Russian society. Her complete lack of responsibility backfires, and hinders her freedom by being shamed in the public eye. She clings more than ever to Vronsky, which pushes him further away. After becoming nearly psychotic, Anna commits suicide. Ultimately, too much freedom trapped Anna. 

Levin begins with freedom, as he does not agree or adhere to much of society's expectations and therefore lives in the country. Levin feels a strong responsibility to his work, but feels unsatisfied (much like Anna) he feels a responsibility to find fulfillment  which he believes that he can find in a wife. He therefore courts Kitty, but once they are married, Levin finds that he is not as satisfied as he had expected. Something is still missing. Levin remains responsible to his wife and work, for him, freedom "clicked" one day with the realization of faith. Staying responsible, freedom found Levin with patience. 

Meursault's Answer

"So close to death, Maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all again... [and] for the first time... I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much life myself--like a brother, really--I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again."

If true meaning comes from the ability to say no, is true meaning synonymous with freedom? I believe that in Meursault’s shoes, freedom is the ability to be brutally sincere and independent of games that people play. Consistently throughout The Stranger, Meursault repeats his hatred for those who play games, such as he finds the man’s murder justified in the story where he hides his identity from his mother at the hotel. I cannot convict Meursault of being completely independent of society’s wishes, however, as he does seem to obey Raymond by writing the letter despite his earlier protests. These games range from simple lies from “I’m fine” irrelevant meanings that people attach to the absurd motions of life. For, Meursault truly seems to believe that the world is as meaningless to him as he is meaningless to the world. If life has no meaning, and freedom is meaning, can freedom exist in life?

Well, in a quote by Camus, “one lives for others, but only dies for oneself”, one may extrapolate that freedom comes from the moment of death where we live for ourselves alone in the presence of true meaning. Meursault seems to embrace this as he seems ready to live again when facing the guillotine. Perhaps this is why he thinks no one has the right to mourn his mother’s death, because she finally had a moment to live for herself which is a beautiful thing to him, a moment of true meaning, in this case, meaning being freedom.