People’s many insensitive actions that trickle on throughout

People’s actions today whether they are positive or negative can always come back to bite them. In the novel, The Stranger, written by Albert Camus, the narrator, Monsieur Meursault, is put on trial for killing an Arab. The chances of him being proven innocent are slim, however they become even slimmer when his previous actions are brought up from the past. Will his insensitivity lead him to his death sentence? Monsieur Meursault’s actions didn’t only affect his reputation, but they also cost him his life. People never know who is watching them and how their actions whether big or small can impact them so remarkably. Monsieur Meursault’s response to his mother’s death is only the first of the many insensitive actions that trickle on throughout the novel. During the novel’s time frame, it was very impolite and pretty much a disgrace to smoke at morbid occasions such as Maman’s vigil. However, Monsieur doesn’t take this into consideration and decides that he is going to defy the social norms of society. He proceeds to do what he wants even though it may astound others. “Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn’t know if I could do it with Maman right there. I thought about it; it didn’t matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked” (Camus ). Some people may think that Monsieur maybe didn’t understand or realize that smoking in the presence of his dead mother’s body was a disgrace but this quote clearly confirms that he knew the harm he was exploiting. He states that he “hesitated” thus verifying he preceded with his actions knowing he was going against social customs.  The lack of sorrow displayed at Maman’s vigil was appalling to not only the caretaker who witnessed Monsieur Meursault’s behavior but also the judge deciding whether he be guilty or innocent of killing an Arab. Nearing the end of the book and after Monsieur Meursault is proven guilty, he is ensnared with a death trap.  Monsieur is sentenced to the most critical punishment by law. As he waits for the prison guards to take him to his final destination, readers assume he will repent of his sins. However there is a plot twist when he constantly rejects the chaplain that comes by to cleanse him. The chaplain hopes that he can convince Monsieur Meursault to accept christ so he can go to heaven, but Monsieur Meursault is not one to give up what he believes. Monsieur assumes that there is no afterlife but rather life is about living in the moment and making the most out of what we are given. His stubborn attitude withholds him from a better life, a life with second chances. Although the chaplain gives him grace and constantly comes back to talk to him, Monsieur Meursault lacks repentance and his uncompromising attitude holds him back from fixing his past actions and making things right with God. If Monsieur Meursault would have taken the chaplain’s advice and changed from his obdurate behavior to one of remorse, his consequence at trial could have been reduced or even maybe receded. “He wanted to talk to me about God again, but I went up to him and made one last attempt to explain to him that I only had a little time left and I didn’t want to waste it on God” (Camus, 74). Monsieur Meursault could have spared his life. Had he repented from his ruthless actions including: Maman’s vigil, the next night with Marie, and even killing an Arab, the judge would have seen a change. The jury’s verdict might have been swayed because they knew that Monsieur Meursault was contrite and had changed. Had he respected the chaplain and showed remorse, the chaplain could have testified on his behalf. He would have shown everyone that the old Monsieur Meursault was gone and that now he has repented from his actions. Had Monsieur Meursault taken the Chaplain’s counsel, his ending would have been different then what he was given. Even the death penalty wasn’t lifted from him, he would have died a changed man. A man with a reputation of remorse rather than of impenitence. Sometimes there are two sides to a story or a reason to why someone does something corrupt. Although to some that may be the case, that was not what occured when Monsieur Meursault killed an Arab. When asked why he took the life of an innocent Arab, Monsieur Meursault had no reason. This of course did not do him well in court. Not only did he kill an innocent man without any reason, he also didn’t feel remorse for his actions. Had Monsieur Meursault taken responsibility for his appalling behavior, the judge may have believed there was hope for him. Although there is no concrete reason for the murder of the Arab, Monsieur might have gone through with his actions in order to see if he could feel a sense of emotion. If he felt remorse, he would know he cared, however if he didn’t he would conclude that he was impassive. Monsieur Meursault was an observant man, he understood he was different and for a while he accepted it. Marie inquiring about marriage might have sparked some doubt in his mind. He could have wanted to fit in and killing the Arab was his way to discern if he could. Instead of telling the jury he had no reason of killing the Arab and didn’t feel penitence, Monsieur Meursault could’ve said that he wanted to see if he could feel emotion. He wanted to feel a sense of emotion and he thought commiting a crime would help him experience what he yearned for, but he now knew it didn’t. Monsieur could’ve come up with a variety of explanations for his actions but he stuck up behavior withheld him from a life of freedom. “You are responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel. Remember that” (Wisdom Quotes). Just because Monsieur Meursault felt disconnected from reality, did not give him an ounce of reasoning to kill an innocent man. Monsieur’s past actions at his mother’s vigil, conversations with the chaplain, and reasoning for killing the Arab affected not only his reputation, but also his life. Monsieur’s actions helped contribute to the overall theme of the book because they revealed how distorted our society is. People don’t think before they do things. The old line “think before you speak” is reasonable and should be followed by everyone however most don’t. Sometimes people don’t have a specific reason for their actions such as Monsieur didn’t when he told Marie he would marry her or when he killed the Arab. Society has become unjustifiable and dysfunctional. No matter what society believes, people are always watching. People’s actions today, big or small, bad or good, can impact choices and consequences dictated in the future. 


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