Comparison of "Ragtime", "The Stranger" and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"

Topics: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet Pages: 8 (3250 words) Published: September 22, 2008

Option One: Character Discussion
Compared to Ragtime or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, I wasn’t really drawn into their world as much as I was with The Stranger. It’s not that Ragtime was more compelling than The Stranger, I just found Camus’ to be much more 'readable'. I thought Mister Meursault was the most intriguing character I’ve come across in a book in some time. I don’t really read that much, but I found following his actions to be addicting. It’s just the way he reacted to things, like his mother's death, some people would usually breakdown and cry at that point in time. But Meursault was preoccupied, had his own way of analyzing things, and his 'perception' of things seemed to be more important to him than reality, and he did not fully realize the impact of events. When there were changes in his life, it was hard to tell if things were meant to be. Changes for him started with his mother dying, then escalated with events involving Marie and other people around him. What ends up happening to him makes for the strangest book with the strangest character I have ever read. At the very beginning of the book Meursault is asked if he wants to see his deceased mother in her casket. He was asked why he didn’t want to, and replied “I Don’t know” to the caretaker. What was going through his head? I asked myself. Right off the bat we are shown a man who was confusing as any. I’d want to see my mother if she was in a casket. But, then again, Meursault had not seen his mother in 5 years. There wasn’t any explanation as to why he'd not want to see her dead, but that just added to the books mysterious qualities. I believe I read the book quickly because it was so short. I noticed myself blowing through the pages just to see what Meursault was going to do next. The guy lived a somewhat relaxed life, it seemed very simple. You are not told much about him, You don't learn what makes him tick. Meursault just seemed to go to work, then go home and drink wine and eat ,and maybe hangout by himself or with random people who happened to be around him. But it wasn’t that part of the book that got me, it was the way he explained things to himself, how he viewed other people’s lives as so separate from himself, and how he saw events as not impacting him. I can’t say I’ve seen or read from this kind of alienated perspective before. Camus did a really good job of making Meursault hard to read, he was very hard to understand. For instance, with the woman he started dating, Marie. He didn’t love her, but he wanted her like owning a thing. There was that one part were it seemed to all come out, “that evening Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her, I sad it didn’t make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to. Then she wanted to know if I loved her. I answered the same way I had the last time, that I didn’t mean anything but that I probably didn’t love her.” (Camus 41). Meursault doesn’t care about anyone, he doesn’t feel love, but he’s not harsh about any of it. He is indifferent about everything. He said he’d marry her if she wanted to get married, as if he’d just go along with it because it was no big deal to him. That's a big change in a person's life, why would he not care about something so important?

Something about his past must have interfered with his mood about love; maybe it had to do with his mother. That relationship is not explained, which may be a big fault in the story. Why are we left to guess? Was there just nothing, no feelings between him and his mother? His mother dies at the beginning of the book, then after that he had all these changes come up. I’m not sure he had any or many girlfriends or lovers in the past. Meursault met Marie while he was swimming, she was a former typist for his office, and it is said that he had a thing for her. I skipped that part, or forgot, because at that point I...
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