Saturday, October 26, 2019
deatharms Comparison of Death in Farewell to Arms and The Outsider (Th
Death in Farewell to Arms and The OutsiderÃ Ã Ã Hemingway once said that "all stories...end in death." Certainly, each living person's "story" ends that way. The interrelationship of a narrative to a life, of the "boundary situation" of an ending, is of vital importance to the existence of these two fictional narratives, A Farewell to Arms and The Outsider. Death plays an important, one might say necessary, part in both novels, too: Frederic Henry is, of course, in war and witness to death many times, wounded himself, and loses Catherine; Meursault's story begins with his mother's death, he later kills an Arab, and then is himself tried and sentenced to death. In fact, the defining death-confrontations (Frederic's loss of Catherine, Meursault's death sentence) transform the characters into narrators; that is to say, the stories are told because of the confrontations with death. We must recognize that the fictive characters are attempting to provide or create an order or meaning where it appears there is none. Or, there are pre-exi sting versions, meta-narratives, which prove inadequate or unsatisfying, and which must be replaced by the narrative each character produces. Meursault responds directly and violently to the priest who represents one such meta-narrative for Meursault's life. In the crescendo of the final scene of that novel when Meursault confronts the priest and finally re- leases the pent up anger and frustration repressed for so long, he does experience an epiphany: As if this great outburst of anger had purged all of my ills, killed all my hopes, I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world. And finding it so much... ...s of The Myth of Sisyphus in The Outsider, and particularly to the discussion of the search for truth. In the Myth Camus goes through an inventory of accepted sources for truth and finds them all lacking: first he tries religion, but surprisingly it is too relative, for which god is god; second he tries science, but finds that it offers not precision but metaphor (the world is like...); third he tries logic, but finds that paradoxically it leads to contradiction (for if "all statements are true" is true then "no statements are true" must be one of the true statements). He is left with the "I" - not the Cartesian "I" - but the Humean "I" (a bundle of perceptions) as the foundation for a meaning system. That changing, evolving, non-static "I" is at the heart of both of these works. Works Cited: Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Simon, 1957.