Nonconformity and Its Effects

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A nonconformist refers to a person who cannot abide by the established rules and values of society. Because he has a different set of standards, he perceives the world in a unique manner and consequently fails to accept the general population’s point of view. He is the one who walks the path most would be unwilling to take. One such individual is Meursault, the nonconforming protagonist in Albert Camus’s The Stranger. In this critically acclaimed novel, Camus carefully develops Meursault’s nonconformist character and explains how that personality causes a series of events that ultimately ends in Meursault’s death. Meursault’s emotionless behaviors clearly reveal his nonconformity to society. For example, Meursault could never express any …show more content…
Rather, Meursault chooses not to dwell on the matter because the death would not essentially cause any difference in his ongoing life. Furthermore, Meursault’s lack of repentance after murdering a man solidifies the fact that he is a significant nonconformist. For instance, during the questioning for his action, he “didn’t take… [the examining magistrate] seriously” and “it all seemed like a game” to him (63-64). Also, he “was even going to shake his hand” on his way out (64). The values of society state that a criminal should feel at least some regret over his crimes. Thus, most would agree that the arrested should feel some fear and guilt simply from facing the justice system. However, through his actions and attitude, he just ignores all of the generally accepted rules. Not only he lacks the emotion of remorse, he rather enjoys the time. Meursault’s indifference to the death of his mother and the arrest demonstrates his inability to conform to society’s norms. Due to his unacceptable nonconformist actions, Meursault invites distrust and coldness from the French judicial system, which symbolizes society as a whole, during his trial. For example, during the trial, the prosecutor catches on all the little details of Meursault’s atypical personality and utilizes them to raise Meursault’s punishment. He first accuses Meursault of cruelty by exclaiming “a stranger may offer a cup of coffee, but that beside the body of the one who brought him into the world, a son
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