Reality in l'etranger
One critic has said "The characters seem to move in a kind of trance in a kind of dream world.
Another critic has said that he praises the realism. `What is your view?
1. The descriptions in the book are realistic.
The settings are very much everyday life:- The old folk's home. An apartment block in suburban Algiers - the beach.
Usually the descriptions are brief and impressionistic but effective.
a) eg. the description of the beach as they arrived there as the morning
of a holiday. The yellowish stones, with which flowers growing among them - the rows of beach cottages with green or white gates L the motionless sea with a few bathers. The gentle sound of a distant trawler - further up the massive cape slumbering on the clear water.
b) Description of action is equally effective.
eg. the events on the landing after Raymond has beaten up his Arab mistress and the neighbours have brought the police.
c) Accurate social description. Critics have remarked on the accuracy of
observation it the description of the court procedure. Camus had been a newspaper reporter, (in fact he visits himself in the court at Meursault's trial - the reporter who eyes Meursault with an expressionless face throughout).
d) Description of the appearance of characters e.g. the examining magistrate.
2. In view of this realism why might the reader get a sense of unreality?
A) Because the book is split into two parts.
In Part one, we see events from M's. point of view. In Part two, through the eyes of other people. Thus we question what is in fact real?
eg. the question of the cafe au lait. Meursault describes in Part 1 how he came to accent the drink. It appears quite natural.
(page 26) "Il m'a offert alors d’apporter une tasse de café au lait. Comme j'aime beaucoup le café au lait j'ai accepté et il est revenu un moment après avec un plateau."
It appears quite natural. However at the trial it becomes a step towards the