Word Count: 1092The Outsider, written by Albert Camus, and The Trial, written by FranzKafka, are two books that have been critically acclaimed since the timethat they were published. There are critics that claim that TheOutsider is a dull book, and is not even a read-worthy book. Otherpeople claim that it shows us how society actually acts upon people whodo not want to be like the rest of society. The Trial falls under thesame kind of criticism; but both books, although written by differentwriters in a different epoque, fall under the same kind of genre:Imprisoned Lives.
In both The Outsider and The Trial there are manypeople who influence the protagonists in a positive and in a negativeway, but none of those characters are as important as the priest. Thepriest, being of the same profession in both books and trying toaccomplish the same kind of tasks, have a totally different effect onthe two protagonists. In The Outsider the priest changes the wholeattitude that Meursault has to life, whereas in The Trial the priesttells Joseph K.
how his life actually is.
“Why do you refuse to see me?” This question was asked by the priestand was meant for Meursault. Normally, if a person is convicted todeath, he will see a priest before the sentence is executed. Meursaultdid not do that. He profusely refused to see the priest and why shouldhe? He “did not believe in god.” Meursault did not care, as he did notcare if his mother died, or if someone proposed marriage to him. Thisof course went totally against the rules and ethics of society, whichcannot permit such kind of behaviour. But why does Camus characterizeMeursault like that? Why did he create such kind of an outsider tosociety? Camus created such an outsider because he wanted to showpeople how life actually is. Society does not accept people who do notbend the truth a little and lie. Society wants to make life as easy ascan be, making up lies so that everything can run smoothly because truthcan hurt sometimes, and Camus knows that. Camus implements the priestnot just as another character in the novel, but as a person who wants totell Meursault how society expects him to behave. Meursault did notwant to know how he has to act to make the society happy, as a matter offact, the priest was “beginning to annoy” him. Meursault was not evenfollowing what the priest said but rather gazed out of the cell into thesky. Camus wants to show us actually how uninterested Meursault is in thepriest. But all this is about to change because Camus adds anunexpected twist. The priest mentions how even the hardest of criminalsstare at something at one point in their life and imagine a divine facein it. Meursault did not see the face of Jesus Christ in it, but he sawthe face of Marie, the girl who proposed the marriage to him. But thiswas the turning life in Meursaults life. All of a sudden he starts tocare about things and take some interest in things, and that explainsthe outrage he suddenly got against the priest. Meursault knows that hehis going to die, and he cannot accept that. His whole attitude all ofa sudden changed. Camus shows us that a person cannot go againstsociety and that society and the majority, be it good or bad, willalways win.
Kafkas priest however was different. He did not tell to change JosephK.s life but rather told Joseph K. how his life is and how unjustsociety actually is. The setting that Kafka creates is prettyphenomenal.The cathedral is dark and gloomy, only lighted by some oillamps which have a small illumination radius. “It is a rainy day”,which gives it an even more sad and depressing feeling. As time passesby, the inside of the cathedral gets darker and darker, which creates asort 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 willbe no sermon right now. It is rainy, a weekday and nobody showed up atthe church. But that is the illusion Kafka wants to create. The priestis not there to preach, he is there to talk to Joseph K. During thetalk the priest has with Joseph K., Kafka uses the analogy with thedoorman. But why did Kafka use this? Kafka used this analogy because he wantedto show us how unjust and corrupt the court and justice system actuallyis. Yes, the government states that the law is there so everybody canbenefit from it; “justice is there for everybody” and that anybody canaccess it with no difficulty. But later Kafka writes that everything isaccessible to man, except the law. “The law is closed to him”, whichmeans there will be no justice because the law cannot be accessed, andwithout the law there cannot be any justice. Through this scene Kafkaalso foreshadows that Joseph K. has been played the fool, and that thecourt is actually unjust and that he was convicted unjustly. Now,Joseph K. did not know this. He thought that everything was well, andthat his appeal has already been processed and that he would be free ina few days. But that is why Kafka put in the priest, so that he canclarify to Joseph K. how and in what situation the life of Joseph K.
Both books make profound impact on the readers; some reject the novelsand regard them as absolute trash because they do not want to acceptthat society actually is how the two authors, Albert Camus and FranzKafka, portray them to be. They both carry a lot of hidden messages andmeanings and how the authors actually feel about the society they livein. 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 manypersons, perhaps even a whole society. Many critics have criticizedthese books, trying to bring down their popularity because theythemselves have been a part of the corrupt and unjust society and theydo not want to admit that they belong to one of these societies. Thesebooks portray the truth of what kind of world we live in today and thatwe should think about ourselves and what our ethics in life actuallyare.
Cite this The Priest(Kafka Vs Camus)
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