The Stranger

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Many people often base their opinions on a person by judging his whole life in general and his attitude towards life without caring about who the person really is deep down inside. This unfair reasoning can occur in the courtroom when people are put on trial and the judge and the jury must delve into the life of the accused and determine if he is a hazard to society. Occasionally, the judge and jury are too concerned with the accused’s past that they become too biased and give an unfair conviction and sentencing. In his novel, The Stranger, Albert Camus uses the courtroom as a symbol to represent society that judges the main character, Meursalt, unfairly to illustrate how society forms opinions based on one’s past.

Meursalt faces a jury and a tough prosecutor when he is on trial, and they all try to form an opinion on Meursalt based on what he has done before killing the Arab man. The director of the funeral home testifies that Meursalt shows no emotion towards his mother’s death, and that he “hadn’t cried once, and that [Meursalt] had left right after the funeral without paying [his] last respects at her grave.” (89). Society creates an imaginary rule where one must cry and show penitence at a funeral in order to be looked upon as a normal human being. It is not fair that Meursalt is judged for his lack of feelings at the funeral because it is his own choice to show remorse and to express his feelings as he pleases; his lack of feelings do not mean that he is not heartbroken about the loss of his mother. As the trial progresses, the prosecutor makes a statement of all the things that Meursalt did a day after his mother’s death, ““Gentlemen of the jury, the day after his mother’s death, this man was out swimming, starting up a dubious liaison, and going to the movies, a comedy, for laughs.”” (94). The courtroom portrays Meursalt as an appalling man for enjoying himself the day after his mother’s funeral. The broad statement said by the prosecutor shows that...
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