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The Outsider And The Trial


The "Outsider", written by Albert Camus, and " The Trial",
written by Franz Kafka, are two books that have been
critically acclaimed since the time that they were
published. There are critics that claim that " The
Outsider" is a dull book, and is not even a read-worthy
book. Other people claim that it shows us how society
actually acts upon people who do not want to be like the
rest of society. " The Trial" falls under the same kind of
criticism; but both books, although written by different
writers in a different époque, fall under the same kind of
genre: Imprisoned Lives. 
In both " The Outsider" and " The Trial" there are many
people who influence the protagonists in a positive and in
a negative way, but none of those characters are as
important as the priest. The priest, being of the same
profession in both books and trying to accomplish the same
kind of tasks, have a totally different effect on the two
protagonists. In " The Outsider", the priest changes the
whole attitude that Meursault has to life, whereas in " The
Trial", the priest tells Joseph K. how his life actually
is. "Why do you refuse to see me?" This question was asked
by the priest and was meant for Meursault. Normally, if a
person is convicted to death, he will see a priest before
the sentence is executed. Meursault did not do that. He
profusely refused to see the priest and why should he? He
"did not believe in god." Meursault did not care, as he did
not care if his mother died, or if someone proposed
marriage to him. This of course went totally against the
rules and ethics of society, which cannot permit such kind
of behavior. But why does Camús characterize Meursault like
that? Why did he create such kind of an outsider to
society? Camús created such an outsider because he wanted
to show people how life actually is. Society does not
accept people who do not bend the truth a little and lie.
Society wants to make life as easy as can be, making up
lies so that everything can run smoothly because truth can
hurt sometimes, and Camús knows that. Camús implements the
priest not just as another character in the novel, but as a
person who wants to tell Meursault how society expects him
to behave. Meursault did not want to know how he has to act
to make the society happy, as a matter of fact, the priest
was "beginning to annoy" him. Meursault was not even
following what the priest said but rather gazed out of the
cell into the sky.
Camús wants to show us actually how uninterested Meursault
is in the priest. But all this is about to change because
Camús adds an unexpected twist. The priest mentions how
even the hardest of criminals stare at something at one
point in their life and imagine a divine face in it.
Meursault did not see the face of Jesus Christ, but he saw
the face of Marie, the girl to who proposed marriage to
him. But this was the turning life in Meursault's life. All
of a sudden he starts to care about things and take some
interest in things, and that explains the outrage he
suddenly got against the priest. Meursault knows that he
his going to die, and he cannot accept that. His whole
attitude all of a sudden changed. Camús shows us that a
person cannot go against society and that society and the
majority, be it good or bad, will always win. 
Kafka's priest however was different. He did not tell to
change Joseph K.'s life but rather told Joseph K. how his
life is and how unjust society actually is. The setting
that Kafka creates is pretty phenomenal. The cathedral is
dark and gloomy, only lighted by some oil lamps which have
a small illumination radius. "It is a rainy day", which
gives it an even more sad and depressing feeling. As time
passes by, the inside of the cathedral gets darker and
darker, which creates a sort of evil foreshadowing of what
will happen at the end of the book. Then the priest comes
to the altar, which is humorous because there will be no
sermon right now. It is rainy, a weekday and nobody showed
up at the church. But that is the illusion Kafka wants to
create. The priest is not there to preach, he is there to
talk to Joseph K. During the talk the priest has with
Joseph K., Kafka uses the analogy with the doorman.
But why did Kafka use this? Kafka used this analogy because
he wanted to show us how unjust and corrupt the court and
justice system actually is. Yes, the government states that
the law is there so everybody can benefit from it; "justice
is there for everybody" and that anybody can access it with
no difficulty. But later Kafka writes that everything is
accessible to man, except the law. "The law is closed to
him", which means there will be no justice because the law
cannot be accessed, and without the law there cannot be any
justice. Through this scene Kafka also foreshadows that
Joseph K. has been played the fool, and that the court is
actually unjust and that he was convicted unjustly. Now,
Joseph K. did not know this. He thought that everything was
well, and that his appeal has already been processed and
that he would be free in a few days. But that is why Kafka
put in the priest, so that he can clarify to Joseph K. how
and in what situation the life of Joseph K. actually

Both books make profound impact on the readers; some reject
the novels and regard them as absolute trash because they
do not want to accept that society actually is how the two
authors, Albert Camus and Franz Kafka, portray them to be.
They both carry a lot of hidden messages and meanings and
how the authors actually feel about the society they live
in. They criticize society because the society is corrupt
and unjust, and that is what the authors wanted us readers
to find out ourselves because one person alone cannot make
any changes. It has to be many persons, perhaps even a
whole society. Many critics have criticized these books,
trying to bring down their popularity because they
themselves have been a part of the corrupt and unjust
society and they do not want to admit that they belong to
one of these societies. These books portray the truth of
what kind of world we live in today and that we should
think about ourselves and what our ethics in life actually



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