So in conclusion Mersault is a man who doesn’t know how to play the game but doesn’t know what to do instead. Because of this he is bored by the culture he lives in resulting in his lassitude. He also avoids committing to anything because doesn’t know what he should say, resulting in his laconic answers. Camus makes Mersault an existentialist’s Pin-up as Holden Caulfield is for a disillusioned generation. Mersault is the embodiment of the idea, his lack of interest in his mother’s death or his own impending execution stems from the idea that nothing matters anyway.
This I think is the point of the book it is as much a warning about existentialism as it is a celebration of it. The idea of there not being a God giving us objective moral truths does not excuse us of any responsibility and make us all into Mersault’s, but instead it is an advertisement for humanism. We must see the absence of a creator not as a negative thing but as a liberating fact that makes us free to do what we want without addiction and obedience to the ‘opiate for the masses’ (Karl Marx).
It is for this reason that I conclude the novel is one warning of a dystopia. We must ensure we avoid going down the rout of Mersault and becoming cold, almost emotionless men but instead place our faith in humans and try to lead ourselves to a healthy future free from religion and with the liberation that existentialism can provide. If we fail the war in which Camus was writing provides us with plenty of evidence of how ugly humanity can be when we remove ourselves our blame and blindly follow orders. Extract;
Masson then asked me if I wanted to go for a walk on the beach with him. I didn’t really want to but I thought I should so I went with him. Marie asked if she could come with us, naturally she could. We walked along the beach and the midday sun was very hot. I still had a thick head from the wine that we’d had at lunch, and the sun and the wine were making me feel drowsy so I asked if we could sit on the sand. Everyone agreed that it was a good idea and we did. After a while of sitting down Marie asked me if I wanted to go in the sea with her.
The sea was cool and refreshing after the baking sun and there were three fishing ships coming back into port with the morning’s catch, or maybe there were four I can’t remember. We started playing the game that Marie had taught me a few days earlier where we collect the seawater in our mouths and spray it out again. After a while I stopped and looked at her, her skin was slick with the water and her hair hung in wet strips down to her breasts. She looked beautiful and I wanted her so I kissed her and she kissed me back. After a while she stopped and asked ‘do you love me?
‘ This was kind of annoying because I’d already answered and didn’t know what to say so I replied ‘perhaps, maybe I do but I don’t think so’ then she said to me ‘do you know what love is’, ‘maybe’ I replied. She stared hard at me for a minute, and then laughed. We left the sea and returned to Raymond and mason who were talking about the Arab who had trouble with Raymond. Without being surrounded by the cool sea the temperature of the day started to get me again and I felt very drowsy; Marie announced that she felt tired too. Masson and Raymond said that they were going to buy some more wine and then head back to the chalet.
Marie could tell that I didn’t really want to go and so she said that we would rest on the beach and head back later. I thanked Marie and told her that I wouldn’t mind going now if she wanted to. She said she didn’t and I told her I was glad because I couldn’t be bothered to go and that I was tired. 1487 words Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.