What Is The Epiphany In The Stranger

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The passage on page 151 of Camus’ The Stranger expresses the interaction between the chaplain and Meursault after Meursault is convicted of murder. The chaplain tries to impose a religious aspect onto Meursault, but Meursault responds in an aggressive manner. Meursault’s “breakthrough” or epiphany towards society expresses his refusal to accept the pre-made beliefs prescribed by society’s judgmental thoughts towards Meursault. The epiphany is conveyed through Meursault’s progression in the passage by using interesting diction, expressive metaphors, inclusive phrases, and repetition. The beginning of the passage presents Meursault to be unconscious and unaware of himself. He first opens up the passage presenting how he feels: “I don’t know …show more content…
Camus uses diction of action words to emphasize Meursault’s progression. He expresses his feelings to the chaplain by saying, “I started yelling at the top of my voice. I hurled insults at him.” The use of “yelling” and “hurled” expresses the intensity of his feelings that are now making a “breakthrough.” He is not conveying his thoughts in a kind manner, but he is exploding all the feelings he had to the chaplain. Meursault has finally decided and formed an identity by expressing his rage. To add on, Meursault shows his view of the prayers (religion), “not to waste his rotten prayers on me;” The word choice “rotten prayers” shows his disbelief to what society and chaplain are trying to inflict onto Meursault. Meursault does not cave into what society wants him to be, but he “fights” back by imposing his aggressive feelings towards them. Moreover, Meursault devalues the beliefs followed by the chaplain and society, “yet none of his certainties was worth one strand of a woman’s hair.” This metaphor establishes the idea that the values or leap of faith that the chaplain has are not worth anything. They are not worth anything because society has developed the value. Meursault is devaluing the chaplain’s “certainties” because the existential idea becomes present. The existential idea regarding man must create his own value for it to be authentic is presented by Meursault’s character. A strand of hair is worth nothing when looking at it as a whole, so the chaplain’s belief is essentially nothing. It lacks value because it is a construct that people follow blindly. Evidently, he slowly progresses into an epiphany as conveyed through the diction and

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