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When two people look at the same image, it can be seen differently depending on their own experiences. Sensory is based on how people perceive things, their habits, and their outlook on life. Everyone chooses different aspects of a message to focus on whether it is what interests them or what someone considers important. In the novel, The Stranger, Meursault’s perspective as a narrator is questionable sometimes because of the way he views society. His beliefs and morals do not compare in relevance to the general idea of society. For Meursault physical sensations are the most important whether it is in his relationships or his perception of the weather. In this novel, readers are prevented from the knowledge of events when Meursault killed the Arab and when he tells the readers he does not like Sundays. Another example is how Meursault focuses on everything but his mother’s burial. Since he tells the story how he sees it, readers are left to question the reality of how these events happened.

Imagery plays an important role in this novel. One of the most important examples of imagery is heat and light. From Meursault’s point of view, the reason he killed the Arab was due to the heat and light affecting him negatively. The intensity of these physical factors is the thing fueling Meursault’s decisions. He states in the trial that he just tensed up and therefore, he pulled the trigger. Meursault recalls “At the same instant the sweat in my eyebrows dripped over my eyelids all at once and covered them with a warm, thick film. My eyes were blinded behind the curtain of tears and salt… and I squeezed my hand around the revolver” (Camus 59). This shows the reader that Meursault is an unreliable character because the reader isn’t given another viewpoint to interpret the story. He leaves out details that may not be important to him, but important to the readers.

At Maman’s funeral, Meursault focuses on his surroundings rather than his mother’s burial. He focuses on the heat and borrowing appropriate funeral clothing from his friend Samuel. This strikes an impression that Meursault is insensitive or he did not love his mother.

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At the funeral, Meursault immediately reveals himself to be different toward emotion and interaction with others. Meursault portrays the qualities of an unreliable narrator because his attitude toward the world and people blocks the reader’s understanding of the other characters in the book. While he is in the mortuary, following his mother’s death, he notices all the old people sitting across from him. Meursault stated, “For a second, I had the ridiculous feeling that they were there to judge me” (Camus 10). He made no further mention of their motive during that particular situation. Meursault remembers Maman used to say that you can always find something to be happy about. Mentioning this allows readers to question their relationship based on what he described at the beginning of the novel.

Meursault’s narration about what he feels is complicated which shortens the reader’s knowledge of events. He only states what he feels about something or someone when he first experiences it. Meursault does not try to empathize with or understand the other characters around him. He informs the readers that he hates Sunday, but does not mention why. Though Meursault does not explain why he ‘hates Sundays,’ his hatred is connected to his dislike towards Christianity. Even though Meursault lives in a Christian society, the Church does not fit with his image of a Sunday. In the novel, he mentions that there are some things he does not like talking about. This shows the readers that Meursault may have left out certain events in his life, preventing the readers from specific knowledge.

Sensory information is important, but perception does not rely on it alone. Perception is strongly affected by what we have experienced in the past and our expectations of what we might experience in the future. Meursault has two major instances of sensory in the novel, his mother’s funeral and the murder. One more instance is when Meursault informs the readers about his dislike for Sundays. He is a detached character in society who views and describes much of what occurs around him from an outside position. Albert Camus shows the readers that Meursault’s lack of depth and perception is why he uses short, declarative sentences. In this novel, readers are prevented from certain knowledge because of the lack of narration. Meursault is an unreliable narrator because he does not share the events as they happen, but in the way he sees them.

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