Stranger And Death Theme The Stranger Camus shows that Meursault can find his true identity only through an encounter with death. Meursault goes through some deaths in his life that lead to his own. This awkward, but most entertaining, character discovers himself through the tragedy that occurs in his life. His life is a full one and he faces each situation the same way. The encounters of death starts here, the death of Meursault’s mother.
“I wanted to see Maman right away”(Camus 4), this extraordinary quote by Meursault is a side of him that we do not get to see that often. That is one of the few times we get to see his loving side come out and show his affection to his mom. He accomplishes the capability of getting is inner feelings out. Camus expresses the true thoughts of Meursault by saying, “That’s partly why I didn’t go there much this past year. And also because it took up my Sunday – to mention the trouble of getting to the bus, buying tickets, and spending 2 hours traveling”(5).
Meursault tells us that he really didn’t want to go through all that trouble just to see his own mom. He has feelings for his mom, as you heard in the last quote, but not enough to go see her. As Bree said,” . . .
Meursault’s error lies precisely in his estrangement”(112). Bree is saying that Meursault is a great guy and all, but his main, and big, problem is his personality. The most important part of finding his own identity was the murder of the Arab. Meursault gets out of hand and shoots an Arab dead. “My whole being tensed and I squeezed my hand around the revolver”(59 Camus).
Meursault had the revolver in his hand and he claims that because he was so tensed about everything that was going on, that made him shoot the gun. He has some mental problems as you can see, Meursault is normal most of the time, but he defiantly has his moments. Albert Camus tries to show that Meursault is finding himself through this violent act he has done, “I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I’d been happy”(59). Meursault is slowly finding his true self, after you read this quote, you think he has realized the terrible thing that he has done, and that he broke the beautiful day that he was having. He feels the grief of doing this to the Arab. But once again Meursault gets out of hand when he ” .
. . fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace”(Camus 59). Meursault tries to find his identity by thinking everything over, but then his craziness takes over again. The whole murder scene can be summed up in this simple quote by Bree, ” .
. . the revolver shot jolts Meursault out of his purely negative state. At this time he is aware that he has committed an irreparable act. . .” (114).
Germaine Bree reveals the feelings that Meursault does not show. So Meursault explore his identity by shooting a man and realizing that he has changed his life forever. One way of saying it is that he has changed his life forever, but another way is that he just sent himself to death row. What Meursault did was a great thing by making another step to find his own identity, but also sent him to jail. Now he must make his final stage to find himself, who he really is.
“On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but just in time, I remembered that I killed a man” (Camus 64), when Meursault said that just in time he remembered, that was a very important thing that he did. That’s important because he shows that he is expressing courtesy and respect for other. He is accepting who he is. Camus tells that Meursault’s feelings come out again, “When I was first imprisoned, the hardest thing was that my thoughts were still those of a free man” (76). Meursault feels that he liked his life the way it was before the killing. This is the most important part of the book, Meursault thinks of the way his life would be if he would have never had done that.
He is completing his final stage of finding himself. ” . . . I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate” (Camus 123), this amazing quote shows that Meursault knows that his day is coming and that he has done nothing but caused harm to the city and his friends.
He has finally found that person that he really is, a caring, loving and respectful person. It is just a shame that after all the hard work to find himself, and he does, he has to die. The encounters of death have slowly showed the way for Meursault. He was able to see who he really is. Meursault’s journey has been a full one. This journey started with the dreadfully painful death of Meursault’s mom.
Then it went to Meursault killing the Arab, which helped him show his inner feelings. Last of all, was the waiting for his own execution. When Meursault realized what was going on, and put everything together, he was able to find his own identity. Germaine Bree has the answer to the whole problem, “It is clear that Meursault’s initial mental attitude proves inadequate to cope with even the simplest of lives” (117).