A Outsider Of The Stranger By Andre Gide And Albert Camus

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Andre Gide and Albert Camus seemingly had much in common. Both were French-speaking Nobel Prize winning writers with deep ties to France’s African territories and strong anti-establishment tendencies who sought to cast off the burdens society foisted upon them. Yet their as best evidenced by their respective best-known texts, Gide’s L 'Immoraliste (The Immoralist) and Camus’ L’Étranger (The Stranger). While both novels center around aloof young men hostile to the norms that society foists upon them, their stories are far from similar. Michel, the protagonist of The Immoralist, is a well educated, thrill-seeking gentleman who casts away his marriage and his fortunes to satiate his desires. Meursault, the eponymous outsider of The Stranger,…show more content…
He travels around France and North Africa looking for a location that will light the spark in his life, yet fails to do so. While Michel’s pederasty and spousal neglect is hardly admirable, those actions are not what make him an immoralist. Making the conscious decision to forsake the values of others in favor of a personal code of conduct - in this case discarding notions of financial solvency and peer respect in favor of the pursuit of temporary moments of pleasure - is the ideal of the Nietzschean ubermensch, or at least Gide’s version of it. In contrast, the reader is given little to no information about Meursault’s journey into moral apathy and uncaringness. When the novel begins, he is already the hollow automaton single-mindedly devoted to simple amusements and base needs that he will remain until moments before his death. Meursault feels no need to adhere to the framework of behavior society has laid out for him, nor does he have the urge to create any sort of rationale or calling of his own. He is content to simply show up to his job to make a living wage, then spend his free time enjoying the simple pleasures of sun, surf, and sex. The scene in the novel that arguably shows Meursault at his happiest is his mid-day swim with his lover Marie. Mersault lavishes an entire page of details on the Marie’s body, “wanting her so badly” when he sees her in her

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