In a four to five page MLA Style essay, using specific scenes from The Stranger, explain how logic and absurdity are at odds with each other. Show, for example, how in the novel, the justice system’s logic is absurd. Cite at least five times from the actual text.
In your discussion, you may want to quote or paraphrase directly from the poem. If you do so, please use MLA format. Also, follow these guidelines to build your arguments.
• Make certain that your thesis states the topic and asserts something specific and significant about it. Underline the thesis, which should be the last sentence in your introductory paragraph.
• Your topic sentences should point backward in that they prove part of the thesis, and they should also point forward in that they are a predictor of what will be discussed in particular paragraphs.
• Check for logical coherence in your paper. Link your ideas together by using themes, transitions, and/or inserting phrases or subordinate clauses when appropriate.
• Your conclusion should drive home the main idea of the essay and summarize key concepts that you want your reader to take away from your essay.
Overview of The Stranger Essay Prompt in this video
ESSAY OUTLINE SAMPLE:
Below is a sample working outline for how to address the essay prompt:
In a four page MLA Style essay, using specific scenes from The Stranger, explain how logic and absurdity are at odds with each other.
Working Thesis: In The Stranger the ideals of love and law are at odds with the reality of truth.
B1: Love for Mother: one is supposed to love and cry when one’s mother dies because society tells one that you are supposed to always feel like a baby when it comes to your mother, yet the reality is that everyone dies. For Mersault he simply sees that crying would serve no purpose and it would not deal with the reality of death. This does not mean he does not love his mother. It just means he will not submit to the system’s tears.
B2: Love for Marie: Love is supposed to be the supreme feeling that gives meaning to your life and to the universe. Marie asks Mersault whether she loves him. He replies no, and also says on other occasions that love doesn’t mean anything. For Marie she imagines that love means marriage and family, children as well. Mersault does not accept this. It does not mean he is heartless, but it means that he will not submit to the logic that love equals eternity. He knows he has but one life and does not want to waste the present moment on an insane idea like forever or happily ever after–which is totally illogical.
B3: Law: Pre-trial: The magistrate and prosecuting attorney want to punish Mersault, not necessarily because he killed an Arab, but they want to punish him because he does not believe in God and they do not understand him, so they impute evil upon him. The law is supposed to be focused only on the case at hand, but note here, they are attacking him personally. The media is also supposed to care about truth, but they admit that the only reason that they are interested in his case is because it is a “slow” time for news, so they are going to make-believe they care about justice, but they actually only care about ratings.
B4: Law: Chance: The law is supposed to be logical. In fact it prides itself on being super logical and just. During the trial both Celeste and Raymond advanced the notion that the only reason that Mersault killed the Arab was because of chance/bad luck. Note he had not intended to kill anyone, nor did he even have a gun until he did a good deed to help out Raymond. The law, however, cannot accept chance as a rationale for why things happen in the universe. The law is so arrogant it believes that everything has a reason or cause and effect. If things did not have a logical order, the law believes that there would be no control in society.
B5: Law: Evil: The law is supposed to be objective, and it creates what it regards is objective human thinking. To them Mersault cannot have killed a man simply because of chance because chance is not intelligent; chance is stupid, and human beings supposedly are not stupid; therefore, Mersault did it for a reason. Mersault tells them his truth–that the sun made him do it. The entire courtroom laughs at him. Humans are too smart and powerful for the stupid sun to make them do anything. Note how absurd and illogical this logic is, for without the sun we could not survive for one second, yet human beings actually believe their minds are more powerful than the sun, which is at least billions of years old. Since the law cannot accept Mersault’s ideas and what he stands for, they impute evil upon him. The law actually believes that Mersault has little goblin devils running through him, so he must be killed, executed. The jury agrees. Mersault is to have his head chopped off for totally illogical legal reasons.