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An Analysis of Chapter One of The Outsider

2021-05-26 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

A. Plot Summary of Chapter One

In the first chapter, Albert Camus focused on the funeral of Meursault's mother, and performance of everyone before and after the funeral. It is started by introducing the background of Meursault, an employee of a French company in Algiers, who received a telegram from The Home for Aged Persons 80 kilometers away from Algiers that his mother was dead.

 

He asked for leave to go to the nursing home. Faced with the death of his mother, he did not show any sadness. Here, it first shows the absurdity of Mersault. But soon, with the development of the plot, the readers began to be surprised by the absurdity of his cold reaction. His attitude towards his mother was like the attitude towards ordinary people. Especially when asked if he needed to see his mother for the last time before the coffin was closed, he said no without hesitation. He just watched someone burying his mother coldly. After the funeral, instead of being sad, he felt "my little thrill of pleasure ...sleeping twelve hours at a stretch". This shows he just felt very tired and wanted to have a good sleep after the funeral.

 

B.Style Commentary

In the first chapter of "The Outsider", Albert 's narrative is soothing and quiet, and he only describes what he has seen with an objective and calm attitude. This is shown in the beginning of the first chapter: "Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can not be sure". This is just a common description, and what is surprising is the tone of the speaker. This simple and short sentence reveals a cold and indifferent tone. The absurdity is reflected in the cold, seemingly careless tone of this sentence. It sets the tone for the entire chapter. In the whole novel, Camus used this cold style for narrative.

 

C.Theme Commentary

The theme of the first chapter is Meursault's alienation and disconnection from the rules of the secular world. Meursault, as the main character of the novel, is an outsider. At first glance, he heard the sad news of his mother and had no grief for his mom. He behaved like an outsider. He also said leisurely that his boss was dissatisfied with his leave, and he also complained about the hot weather on the road. And he refused to look at his mother's face. Regarding Mersault himself, and his attitude towards his mother, this is contrary to the general social rules, and thus, he becomes a person outside the social rules. So when Mersault’s absurdity gradually turned him into an outsider, it reflects that the society in which people live is a highly civilized society and a highly rule-oriented society. Everyone is supposed to follow the rules and order. If the mother dies, the children need to cry in pain, as people firmly believe that the funeral without tears is immoral. If someone refuses such a performance, he is a public enemy. Meursaul is such an enemy.


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