Book Reflection: The Outsider

‘But naturally, you can’t always be rational.’ -Albert Camus

Many times it is better to do/be one thing rather than the other, but you will be judged against anyway if you do/be so when the society expects you to do/be the other way round.

I was at a funeral yesterday and the thought above popped up in my head. I saw people laughing at each other there, and I questioned: isn’t funeral an occasion where people should rather just express grief? And then I answered to myself that it is not, actually people could do whatever they want. Then I wondered what if I laughed too (though I did not really want to, for the dead person was very close to my family and I did truly feel grievous), but people would certainly say that I misbehaved.

Now I finished this book, The Outsider. Superficially extracting without knowing any contexts such as the writer’s intention, historical background and so on, I see the protagonist who understands nature of the world trying to understand nature of the world (if you know what I mean). The story was told along with narration of nature; the sun, the beach, the lives on the fleeting street, etc. and repetition of the word, ‘naturally’. I said that he understands the nature because he does, while I also said that he is trying to understand so because of the people around him, particularly those members in the court. Actions and speeches made by them seem to always amaze him because of their unnaturality, but he tries to understand them anyway.

My conclusion then would be that while we think we are not an outsider of our nature for we seem to question a lot and be able to analyse almost everything, yet we are still an outsider for we just question for too much and never once seem to get along with things ‘naturally’.

After reading the afterword written by the writer himself. The meaning he hid behind this story was that the protagonist is an outsider because he refuses to play the game created by society, in which the context of society is added up to my analysis above. Yes, we are living without freedom in the society that expects us to do/be something. Though many times they are just against our nature; we are forced to act accordingly though sometimes it means a lie, otherwise we would be seen as an outsider.

By learning from the analysis now, I might already be seen as an outsider. Though we understand that we live in an unfair and sometimes irrational game, it is not easy to live AGAINST it. Who would want to be an outsider in the society they live in?


Title: The Outsider (L’Étranger)

Original language: French

Author: Albert Camus

Translator: Joseph Laredo