Comparison of How Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in the Outsider Have Used Moral Issues to Develop Their Works

1599 Words Sep 6th, 2008 7 Pages
Comparison of how Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in The Outsider have used moral issues to develop their works

It is debatable whether morality is a code of conduct that is considered right by society or whether it is a code unilaterally decided upon by an individual. When we consider morality as a tool used by both Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in The Outsider, this debate holds immense relevance. Wonderful Fool, heavily influenced by Christian doctrine, addresses the degeneration of Japanese society and the way moral issues are presented in the novel reflects this. In Wonderful Fool Shusaku Endo looks upon morality as the value system defined by the Bible, where Jesus Christ is regarded as the epitome
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During the trial his lawyer asks, “Is he being accused of burying his mother or of killing a man?” (Camus 93). This question showing how the court or society was judging him based on “exposing the dark workings of this criminal soul” (Camus 96), as opposed to the arbitrary shooting. The murder was not malicious. He only killed the man as a response to “a red hot blade gnawing at [his] eyelashes” (Camus 60). Although Meursault speaks the truth he is judged by a system which does not recognise his moral code. This system views murder as immoral regardless of the intention, whilst Meursault sees no shame in his action as it wasn’t borne from malice. In effect he is convicted for not conforming. In the Afterword Camus says “the hero of the book is condemned because he doesn’t play the game” (Camus 118). Meursault pulled the trigger out of tension from the heat and was not out of revenge or hatred towards the Arab.

If morality is an individual’s set code of conduct, independent of society, a society’s morals could then be called ‘ethics’. Camus creates a character that is moral as he is true to his own beliefs, whilst at the same time the character is unethical. It was the skill involved in playing a character’s private beliefs against those of a society that made me enjoy these texts. In each text, a character’s personality conflicts with a society’s personality and to me this was a most effective way of exploring the society’s flaws. Both writers utilize
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