Essay on Societal Expectations Within The Confines Of The Text

1191 Words Mar 24th, 2015 null Page
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What is the function of societal expectations within the confines of the text?
Within Albert Camus’ The Stranger, a variance of societal expectations are seen, such as mandatory religion to strange conditioned behaviors. The purpose of these societal expectations within the text is to cultivate a characterization of Meursault and show how that characterization reinforces the existentialist and absurdist concepts present.
Throughout the text, there are a multitude of situations in which there is the character of Meursault is juxtaposed directly by society and its’ expectations. This technique of juxtaposition allows for a deeper characterization of Meursault than what may have been possible without the comparison. The first instance of societal expectation within the text and then Meursault’s violation of it include, Meursault’s acceptance of coffee at his mother’s funeral, “He then offered to bring me a cup of coffee milk. I like milk in my coffee, so I said yes, and he came back a few minutes later with a tray.” (Camus 8). While this interaction seems insignificant in regards to character, it is later used as evidence of character at Meursault’s trial. In the societal opinion, Meursault should have refused the coffee out of respect for his deceased mother, however Meursault violated the societal expectation of him. Meursault went against the behavior that is so accustomed within society, while this may seem like a minute characterization of Meursault, it has the…

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