the stranger

Topics: Emotion, Feeling, Novel Pages: 2 (684 words) Published: October 2, 2013
1) How does Meursault explain to the lawyer how his “physical needs” relate to his “feelings”? How is this significant to our understanding of Meursault? Throughout the entire novel, Meursault constantly suppresses his emotions by directing his focus towards his physical annoyances, whether he is tired, has a headache, or is irritated by someone else. He explained to the lawyer that, “[his] physical needs often got in the way of [his] emotions”. For example, Meursault justifies his absence of sadness and grief at his mother’s funeral due to the fact that he was “tired and sleepy”, and therefore was unable to fully grasp the reality of his mother’s death (65). This is significant to understanding Meursault as it reveals that he is only concerned with the physical aspects of the world; the weather, what people are wearing or what everything looks like, and lacks the emotional capacity necessary for genuine relationships. These descriptions of objects and people convey that he has no intention to analyze them, allowing the reader to affirm his character as psychologically distant from the world that surrounds him. 2) What is significant about both the timing and the image of Meursault’s first visual appearance in the book at the end of Chapter 2, Part 2, page 81? At the end of Part Two, Chapter 2, Meursault, staring at his reflection in a tin plate, states that although he was trying to smile, his face “still had the same sad, stern expression” (81). He then suddenly “realized that all this time [he] had been talking to [himself]” (81). Meursault’s realization signifies his emerging self-awareness and self-consciousness, unlike previously when he lived his life with complete indifference and ignorance towards both himself and the world. In prison, he grew to understand himself, his beliefs, and begins to gain insight into the irrational universe around him. His inability to smile allows him to recognize his own emotions and that he is sad, reflecting a growth in...
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