Reflective: Life and Interactive Orals

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Bhavna Polapragada

C 2014

Reflective Statement

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through your Interactive oral?

While reading the novel, “The Stranger,” by Albert Camus, at the beginning, i had trouble understanding Meursault’s character. I did not understand the way he was so detached- emotionally and physically from society. I couldn’t understand why he was so detached and disconnected at his mother’s funeral. In society, we generally feel really emotionally when one of our parents pass away. I couldn’t understand why he did not love the woman, when she loved him dearly despite his character traits. He had no opinions about anything. He just lived on, as if life has no meaning. I had bothered myself every minute while reading that novel, why had Camus created a character like this? For what purpose? During our interactive orals, my understanding of the cultural and contextual implications of the work improved.

Albert Camus set the setting of the novel, at the same time after WWI, after the 1940s. The was a period in time where people’s perspectives at life started changing. Many civilians began to look down on the purpose of life. It is no doubt in history, that World War I caused darkness, pain and isolation to many people and families. So i thought, this explained why Meursault’s character was so detached and isolated from society. It is very valid that a writer’s experiences and biography affect the way he writes, or affects the themes of the piece. “The Stranger” is no exception. In Camus’ biography, it is mentioned that Albert was deeply affected by his participation in the World War II. During the interactive orals, the class discussed about how Meursault was being charged for his character rather than the murder charges. He was pinned as a threat to society as long as his character remains. The people in the courtroom were interested in how he wasn’t grieving over his mothers death....
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