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Testing the Boundaries of Algerian Conventional Society In this essay I am going to explore Albert Camus use of Meursaults murder trial in The Stranger to note the absurdity of the defined social behavior in Algeria while forcing the reader to evaluate his or her own morality Camus asks the reader to form a mental and emotional relationship with Meursault through the descriptive and in the end destructively honest narrative He then asks the reader to depend not on the law which in this novel represents conventional social behavior but on this newfound relationship to decide Meursault fate Camus introduction of Meursault uses straightforward and very honest language While the reader is aware from the beginning that Meursault deviates from the norm through factual and almost play-by-play details Meursault dares the reader to judge him and we do We criticize him for not showing more emotion towards his mothers death We expect him to show more affection towards Marie whom he claims to love and we want him to exert a more forceful voice in the situation between Raymond and his girlfriend However we respect his honesty and appreciate his need to almost separate himself from the emotions that seem to drive us all a little crazy Camus then challenges this respect and appreciation with a violent act As the story reaches the climax with the murder our opinions of Meursault change because as Camus makes us aware society has condemned him not for murder but for being different Indeed the gentlemen of the jury will take note of the fact And they will conclude that a stranger may offer a cup of coffee but that beside the body of the one who brought him into the world a son should have refused it 91 Meursaults guilt as the prosecutor points out stems from his odd behavior over the loss of his mother Unlike American society although not by much the Algerian
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