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Seray Yılmaz

ASIU 102

Final Paper

June 4, 2018

Representation of the Other in The Stranger and The Meursault Investigation

within the Context of the Postcolonial Approach

        The postcolonial approach, which is based on otherness and resistance, is a critical approach to literary works produced in countries with colonies of another country and the representation of the citizens of these countries in the cultural and colonial context. Postcolonial writers focus on issues such as independence, immigration, national identity, as well as how the colonizing countries changed colonized countries’ languages, images, and customs. In both The Stranger and The Meursault Investigation, we can see traces of the postcolonial approach. The other, dehumanized and silenced, and the relationship between colonizer and colonised will be examined in this paper. I will use the postcolonial approach in my analysis of The Stranger and The Meursault Investigation to argue that how colonialism affects the colonized countries: country loss, alienation, hierarchical order, linguistic degeneration, fragmentation of families and national identity losses.

The colonized nation, and seen as the other in both books are the Arabs. In the Stranger, throughout the novel, male Algerians, in particular, are defined as “a group of Arabs” (Camus, 40) and are characterized by their ethnic identities rather than being characterized by names and individual characteristics by the French colonial country. We cannot even learn the name of the killed Arab throughout the novel. This is not only the loss of land, but how the Arabs lost their names and individual identities over time. The Meursault Investigation's narrator, Harun, criticizes Camus's point of view, which is unilateral, ignoring the other, reducing the other to an object, at this point. Harun volunteers to speak on behalf of the others. According to him, the protagonist of Camus, Meursault, is one who has realized the meaninglessness of life, questioned nothing, pursued his momentary wishes, and coincidentally lives his life. Having been uncomfortable with this indifferent, Harun rewrites the story of the Arab people, which are ignored in Camus' novel, and his family. He gives his brother a name, Musa, and he frequently repeats this name in the novel for people to scratch their memories. Kamel Daoud refers to the novel of Camus. He conveys, in a sarcastic way, the power and the arrogance that implemented on East, which is seen as the other, of the dominant society (West) by using light and dark images: Have you seen the way he writes? He’s writing about a gunshot, and he makes it sound like poetry! His world is clean, clear, exact, honed by morning sunlight, enhanced with fragrances and horizons. The only shadow is cast by “The Arabs,” blurred, incongruous objects left over from “days gone by,” like ghosts, with no language except the sound of a flute. I tell myself he must have been fed up with wandering around in circles in a country that wanted nothing to do with him, whether dead or alive. The murder he committed seems like the act of a disappointed lover unable to possess the land he loves. How he must have suffered, poor man! To be the child of a place that never gave you birth…” (Daoud, 2). The narrator, who refers to Western philosophy and philosophy of enlightenment, examines and defines itself from the point of view of other people and cultures: “He was Musa to us, his family, his neighbors, but it was enough for him to venture a few meters into the French part of the city, a single glance from one of them was enough, to make him lose everything, starting with his name, which went floating off into some blind spot in the landscape. (Daoud, 61) Two different times can be mentioned in the novel: the past time (colonial period) which is consist of memories of Harun, who was a child in the Camus's novel and whose brother was killed by a French man, and the present time (after Algerian independence) which is reflecting the change of country, that is, the present Algerian. The writer rewrites the post-colonial viewpoint of Algeria to France and the French, from an Arab point of view, seventy-two years after Camus, referring to the issue of colonialism that Camus did not include in his work: “What was your hero doing on that beach? And not only that day, but every day, going a long way back! A century, to be frank.” (Daoud, 63) In this sentence the author questions the aims of the colonists. In contrast to Meursault, whose communications between the colonies and the colonizers are quite indifferent, Harun draws attention to the communication and multi-structure between these two different worlds: “Who knows whether Musa had a gun, a philosophy, or a sunstroke? (Daoud, 4) With this sentence, Harun emphasizes that what determines what we are or what we are not is what the other looks to us. Kamel Daoud does what Camus did for Meursault for Musa and Harun; that is, personify them and equip them with simple human values. The author gives the fictional lands, which colonial literature thinks belongs to, its true owners. On the other hand, at the beginning of the novel, the writer specifically avoids calling Meursault by his name, and often describes it as "he" or "murderer" throughout the novel.


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