Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Stranger Big Question:

Honesty. It is the truest attribute one can have in life. Not honesty whose intention is to hurt someone, but the type of honesty that sets out to create a clear scope of what life is to oneself and the truth it holds for others. In Albert Camus's The Stranger we are allowed to view a life based on raw honesty, disregarding the consequences that may accompany it, through the eyes of his protagonist Meursault. Meursault leads a life of simplicity. His day to day regime consists of him making choices that solely benefit his happiness, such as eating when he is hungry, going out with his girlfriend Marie when he desires to or traveling to the beach if the situation calls for it. To Meursault, life is about "all or nothing" as if you can live a cautious life, afraid of the opinions others may have of you and be dishonest to yourself or lead a life that is individualistic, only focusing on the happiness you have and hoping others feel the same way. Meursault believes that there is "no way out" (Camus 17) of the life you are accountable for but there is a way of living it to your best ability.

Growing up is about facing and acquiring these personal truths such as Camus did. When we reach the point where responsibility of our well being relies solely on us, we make the choice as to how to approach this responsibilty and decide what, in the end, is best for us and those around us. For us, making this choice is not always a two- way street, black and white decision. We acknowledge the challenges we might face from the path we take but when there comes the time where the choice must be made and the life lived, we choose the type of person we want to be who best fits our honest self. Meursault faced this decision, in the book he dapples on the memory of his life in college where he was ambitous. When reflecting on his life and the happiness it held he realizes, "I wasn't unhappy. When I was a student I had lots of ambitions" (41). His honesty of acknowledging what his life was and what it is now is important. He chose to live a life where amibition was neglected and concise living was encouraged. To some, this is a life filled with boredom and mundance existence. Yet to Meursault, it is a life that produced satisfaction, which in reality is what truly matters. Reaching the brink of maturity calls for us to ponder the question, with whatever road you take to who you will become, will it bring happiness in your life or regret? Meursault may have lived a life that did not consist of exuberant happiness but in the end resulted in a feeling of contentment and gratefulness. The phrase "I wasn't unhappy" is the sole statement we must utilize when growing and progressing into the best versions of ourselves we can be. However, one must consider if honesty does in fact entitle the idea that we are growing up and if it does, does it yield to a life of self content?