Wednesday, 28 February 2018

10/52: The Stranger


This is the third book post in a row. I am currently making a new quilt tutorial that is coming out this week. I have been reading every evening now and I like to post my thoughts about what I have read quite quickly after finishing a book. It keeps thoughts fresh. Even though I make notes I think I lose something if I have too many days between writing and finishing the journey with the story. 

By the way. This week Vero True Social began to trend and I joined in.  It has no annoying advertisements to spoil the feed and I love it. I mean how many times you actually want to see that same hair trimmer,  unfitting lingerie or so called healthy lifestyle ad in a day? Not to mention  Fifty Shades of Grey trailer that I have seen like at least fifty times my face going a shade darker every time I get a glimpse of it. Vero has still problems because of the huge demand but so far I have felt it could be the answer to our dreams. Creative people of all kind could actually interact and see each other's work and good quality content. We put so much time to make posts, share ideas and thoughts so that it has been pity to see how it all disappears to a huge pile of junk. Vero offers a wonderful way to share links to blog posts, show what you are reading, what films you have enjoyed watching and so on. All things meaningful to us. It actually allows us to see what the people whose thoughts we are interested in are sharing. I hope that this utopia come true lasts for long :) And lets connect on Vero, I am there with my own name Sannu Vaarala. It would be so nice to have more inspiring people to follow. For the past two days that I have been using Vero it has been amazing to actually have a feed full of interior inspiration, books and crafts without any interruptions. *Edit 1.3.2018 I am already thinking about deleting my Vero account. So disappointed. I hoped this dream would have lasted longer. It has a great idea to connect creatives. But now that I have seen today's news about the background of the company I feel critical about being on Vero. I will continue to follow the discussion and see how it evolves.

Well then lets get to the actual theme of the day, Albert Camus' The Stranger. This book completed my first ten books for the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge! To see all books that I have read go to my lifestyle page and there is a list of Reading Notes with books discussed mentioned with links to the posts.



10/52 Albert Camus: L'├ętranger (1942). I read this book in Finnish, it has been translated 1947 as Sivullinen. The name in English is The Stranger. Camus' novel is about a young man who floats from situation to another without much paying attention to the direction of his own life. As a result he happens to kill a man. One of the main questions the book arises is whether passivity is a conscious decision or not. Every decision we make has it's consequences. When we don't make decisions but accept what is brought in front of us are we actually making a choice? 

Following might contain some spoilers! It is difficult to say if the main character is unlucky or responsible for the things that happen to him. When he attends to his mother's funeral it is hard to say if he is shocked and feels quilt about abandoning his mother and therefore incapable of showing emotions. What comes to his relationships there is some sort of randomness. When his girlfriend Marie asks if they should marry it doesn't rise any strong emotions in his mind. He accepts it because it has no relevance to him who he is actually marrying. When his friend, who has a questionable background, asks main character to help him he accepts it too without hesitation. This brings up the moral issue. In big and small decisions the main character doesn't seem to evaluate his options but loosely accepts every proposal.  He doesn't ask further questions from his friend but backs him up and becomes part of criminal actions that harm other people. This way it cannot be said that he is a victim when the unfortunate situation happens. It really made me wonder the role of conscious decision. Can one say that he answers to his friend's need for help because he wants to help this friend? It would be understandable to help a good friend and be a bit blind to the moral issues. In this case he assist a crime that cannot be explained to be morally right in any way. And he knows what he does but he does't seem to care, he just matter of factly helps his friend who happened to ask for help. He doesn't examine what is actually asked and to what it can lead.

When I was reading this novel it felt that the main character didn't take life seriously like most people do. Usually we want something from life and make an effort to guide our life to a direction we want it to go. I tried to reason his acts and wondered is his mother's death was the reason that made him so incapable to attach life and dream something from it. We don't know the main character before the funeral so we can only guess if he has been the same for his whole life. He seems to accept everything that is happening to him. Like it is predestinated and all he can do is to learn to live with it.

How we choose to act and how we make our appearance reflects to how we are seen in the eyes of others. Some social norms, like showing empathy and strong emotions in certain situations, shows to our fellow humans that we work according to same human logic and are capable of feelings and reactions. When main character is questioned from the killing people try to see how he feels and reacts. He continues the same way of behavior. He stays an outsider in his life without any passion to direct his life or make conscious decisions. On the trial he begins to feel he is not listened or allowed to show his capability to empathy and feelings. Maybe he only then realizes his own role in his life. That he should have been taking more part to what happens and how people see him. In the trial prosecutor paints more to him that there is making him more of a emotionless villain than he is. Somehow I felt that the main character had left an empty canvas for aggressive prosecutor to paint, by being passive and lazy to take part in his life. 

Because he didn't show to people around him what was going on in his mind they could only guess. It is for the reader to decide whether they guessed right or wrong. If it is possible because the main character gives so little of himself to the reader. I am now left to ponder if he was a victim of a trial system that left him without proper hearing. Stranger in his own case.  Maybe he was misunderstood and had still going through his mother's death that had left him blank. Or if he was passive by choice, too lazy to evaluate the moral of his acts, and therefore fully responsible for the acts that he was part of. Because if he was a stranger in his own life, not paying any attention to what he was asked to participate,  he might actually be dangerous. 

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