The Outsider depicts the life of Meursault; a very stoic man living in Algiers. His inability to feel and show emotion is apparent throughout the entire novel. Even after his mother dies, he continues on with sexual activities, takes vacations and gets into trouble with the law. His uncanny notion to never lie provides Meursault with some promising opportunities but is also the ultimate cause of his undoing.
Albert Camus grew up in Algeria in the early 1900’s. He was strongly against capital punishment, was often mistaken for an existentialist and studied the concept of the absurd. All of these aspects of Camus are very apparent in “The Outsider”. It is important to note the actions of the characters and in what way these actions may be interpreted by the public’s eyes. Many of the places he goes to and things he uses are outdated and have changed dramatically since. So reading this novel will give you a strong view of the past and how times have changed.
“The Outsider” is a narrative in the first person. As readers, we are basically reading Meursault’s thoughts and because of this style, it is very easy to make a character sketch of the protagonist. Instead of seeing Meursault from the perspective of other people we are able to see directly into how he thinks and acts, and what others do about it. There are many descriptions in the book because of Meursault’s attention to nature and physical details.
At first, I found this book to be very dry and uneventful. Even with a novel study and class discussions, I wasn’t really intrigued. Near the end of the novel I became more interested and excited to read it but by then the book was basically finished. I know many people who have found this book inspiring and “eye-opening” but for me, the book was too short, with not much going on, and I didn’t finish the book with any epiphanies. It was nice to read a different style of writing by a famous writer but I don’t think I’ll be picking anything similar to it from the library any time soon. I gave the book a 2/5 because it wasn’t a complete waste of my time, but it definitely didn’t make me think a whole lot or change me in any way. The majority of the story could be told in five minutes and there a few paragraphs that I found to be of no relevance to the story.
Book Reviewed by Luke
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