Sunday, January 27, 2013

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. 

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