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Narrative Technique and Language in Albert Camus The Stranger - Essay Example

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In the novella “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, language is used in several ways which serve to reflect and emphasise the plot, themes and characterisation in the text…
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Narrative Technique and Language in Albert Camus The Stranger
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Download file to see previous pages Camus reflected his thoughts on moral ambiguity and the societal treatment of murderers and terrorists in many of his works including this one. The reader is presented with a murderer protagonist who is devoid of motive, reason or logic for the crime he has committed (Dissanayake 1). Camus uses the language of the narrator and the voice of the narrator, as a device through which the reader may understand the perspective of Meursault, and as a way to reflect aspects in the development of the story. Meursault as a character is utterly remarkable, in that he is quite unremarkable in every possible way (Day 84). He appears to have no unusual or outrageous attributes, opinions, qualities or flaws when the reader is initially introduced to him. He does nothing special, holds no special job, is not living under any unusual circumstances, does not discuss any extreme or judgemental personal opinions and is far from being emotionally distinctive. Meursault leads an existence in which “days are added to days without rhyme or reason … [and his life] is an interminable and monotonous addition” (Camus 16). However, it is this lack of special traits and engaged interaction in society and life that makes the character, paradoxically, very remarkable and unusual. As the reader unveils the protagonists’ inner thoughts and plot development of the story, it becomes clear that this character is remarkably detached from society in every way. Furthermore, not only is he detached from society, he is detached from life itself including family and relationships. He displays an unsettling degree of amorality and total lack of judgement of other people’s actions, thoughts and behaviours. Indeed, his detachment goes even further as we realise that he is also detached from his own emotions and self-identity to the extent that he appears to be lacking in both. From the very beginning of the story, Meursaults language very effectively allows the reader insight into his way of thinking. His sentences are consistently brief and concise right from the start, “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday. I can’t be sure” (Camus 1). His lack of elaboration or explanation is indicative of his amoral and overwhelmingly logical attitude and personality. At the beginning of the story in particular, he does not offer much in the way of descriptions, imagery, expression of feelings or emotions or any forms of elaboration. Meursault gets to the point, saying as little as possible in order to communicate his message without overstating or offering unnecessary details of any kind. This serves to convey him as a highly logical, unfeeling character. In his grammar, he rarely uses verbs or adjectives that convey feelings such as ‘felt’, but rather uses descriptors such as ‘decided’ and ‘thought’ to describe his actions and ideas. We begin to see a change in language used when Meursault recounts the day of the murder. His language here is noticeably more descriptive, vivid, imaginative and elaborate, unlike earlier in the story, for example “the heat was beginning to scorch my cheeks; beads of sweat were gathering in my eyebrows. It was just the same sort of heat as at my mother’s funeral, and I had the same disagreeable sensations—especially in my forehead, where all the veins seemed to be bursting through the skin” (Camus 38). Such a vivid and detailed description is unusual for the character thus far, which highlights the fact that this event or recollection, has more meaning even ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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The topic of "Narrative Technique and Language in Albert Camus The Stranger" is quite often seen among the tasks in university. Still, this document opens a fresh perspective of seeing the problem. I’ll use the style for my own essay.
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