The Outsider – Albert Camus
How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?
When I first read ‘the outsider’, by Albert Camus, I was colossally impressed by the protagonist’s outlook towards life but at the same time the happenings in the work perplexed me because of a different time and place setting. Upon discussing the setting of the work, I was introduced to the fact that the course of events takes place in the 1930-40’s. Consequently, this was also the time when the Second World War was on. This, added to the colonized nature of Algiers by the French, made it easier for me to understand the expectations and practices of the people in the novel. The double standards adopted by the society in the treatment of different ethnic groups of Algiers- the French and the Arabs (for example when Raymond, a well-known procurer, was let go for employing violence against his former ‘Arab mistress’) was an easily understood aspect, because the reasoning behind it displayed a similarity to my culture. However, the Algerian society shunning Meursault for his inability to express any discernible emotions and judging him within their moral framework instead of persecuting him for killing the Arab (which was an inconsequential happening in the French dominated society) was somewhat difficult to relate to. The interactive oral threw light upon the society viewing Meursault as a threat to their culture and morals. This further helped me understand the general functioning of colonized, Midwestern, societies from the 1900’s, where people were generally disillusioned due to war, and compare them with the society now. Finally, the exercise also helped me look at the different techniques used by the writer, such as the splitting of the novel into two parts, the order of introduction of the characters and facts, the first person narrative gave the novel an effective nature. The most...
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