DISTANCED BY DEFAULT OR THE MANDATES OF MARGINALIZATION IN CAMUS LÉTRANGER

Mary Jo Muratore

Resumo



For many readers, Camus LEtranger traces the protagonists evolution from a
state of self-indulgent unawareness to one of metaphysical lucidity. This article exposes
the shortcomings of such readings by focusing rather on Meursaults fundamentally
static nature. In fact, this infamous characters intellectual perspective and situational
reality remain virtually unchanged from beginning to end. The sole evolution in evidence
is in the vision of others, who fall prey to the prevailing prejudices of a dominant
group. In consequence, an unremarkable but well-liked man is transformed into a social
pariah via a tidal wave of condemnation while the man himself is unchanged, victimized
by conceptual deformations that are imposed upon him. The anti-heros status as an
outsider signals, then, not merely the force of public opinion, but the flawed nature of the
existentialist endeavor (a movement from which Camus wished ostensibly to be
disassociated). The novel comes to represent, not the phenomenon of auto-determined
or self-altered identity, but the unstable contingencies imposed from without and from
which there is no exit.


Palavras-chave


Camus; The Stranger (L’Etranger); existentialism; modern fiction; stasis.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5380/rel.v60i0.2861

Revista Letras - ISSN 0100-0888 (versão impressa) e 2236-0999 (versão eletrônica)

 

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