LITERATURE, QUOTES, SPIRITUALITY

Macabre Humour in Camus’ The Outsider Brings Unexpected, Genuine Laughter

I re-began a book I’ve been meaning to read for some time: The Outsider by Albert Camus.

It has made me laugh at times, though I’m not sure I should be laughing. Though the voice of the book, the main character Meursault, speaks with such emotional detachment from his surroundings, his lines occasionally come off as deadpan.

Life at home for Meursault:

So I fried some eggs, and ate them off the pan. I did without bread as there wasn’t any left, and I couldn’t be bothered going down to buy it.

Meursault’s neighbour (& dog) are introduced:

…I almost bumped into old Salamano, who lived on the same floor as I. As usual, he had his dog with him. For eight years the two had been inseparable. Salamano’s spaniel is an ugly brute, afflicted with some skin disease… Perhaps through living in one small room, cooped up with his dog, Salamano has come to resemble it… But, oddly enough, though so much alike, they detest each other.

Meursault displays his romantic side to his girlfriend:

Marie came that evening and asked me if I’d marry her. I said I didn’t mind; if she was keen on it, we’d get married.
Then she asked me again if I loved her. I replied, much as before, that her question meant nothing or next to nothing – but I supposed I didn’t.
‘If that’s how you feel,’ she said, ‘why marry me?’
I explained that it had no importance really but, if it would give her pleasure, we could get married right away. I pointed out that anyhow the suggestion came from her; as for me, I’d merely said ‘Yes.’
Then she remarked that marriage was a serious matter.
To which I answered: ‘No.’

Then she said she wondered if she really loved me or not. I, of course, couldn’t enlighten her to that. And, after another silence, she murmured something about my being ‘a queer fellow.’ ‘And I dare say that’s why I love you,’ she added. ‘But maybe that’s why one day I’ll come to hate you.’
To which I had nothing to say, so I said nothing.

Looking forward to more clever, pessimistic humour in this little glimpse into an outsider’s life…

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One thought on “Macabre Humour in Camus’ The Outsider Brings Unexpected, Genuine Laughter

  1. Pingback: 2011 Wrap Up: Paying Tribute To A Monumental Year | THE MOMENT

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