Hi. This is my supplement essay for Brown. I haven't spend that much time on it, so I wanted to know if the "influence" is clear to the reader. Any suggestion appreciated! =)
"So class, after we have read the first three chapters, we can already see that Meursault is a character that does not express his feelings and is completely indifferent to the society he is living in."
"Dude, he is just like you."
My friend snickered while sitting next to me in English class. He said those words in a completely light manner (and I responded with a chuckle), but those words struck me hard and continued to ring inside my head even as my teacher carried on with his lecture.
The book that we were reading for class was The Stranger by Albert Camus. It is a novel that describes how the protagonist, Meursault, is treated by society as "one of the different kind" due to his peculiar nature. He does not shed a single tear when he hears that his mother has died, he does not feel guilty after murdering a man, and he hardly interacts with other people, and even if he does, he does so in a cold, austere manner. He also simply goes along with what other people say without sharing his own opinion.
I admit that I have an introvertive nature, and perhaps that was why my friend next to me in English class last year joked how I was similar to Meursault, but honestly though, before I give the wrong impression, I am not a recluse. Meursault is an extreme case, a character fabricated by the existentialist mind of Camus, whereas I am a normal person who enjoys a social life. I do voice out my opinions when I need to, but at times my introvertive nature holds me back from doing so. I wanted my classmates to know that I do interact a lot. However, my friend's words corroborated the fact that people were still interpreting me as a quiet student. I did not want people to think of me that way. Every English class was going to be uneasy for me, because the novel The Stranger and Meursault were going to constantly remind me of my timidity. I had to do something quick...
"So class, what would you say is the likely theme of this novel?"
I thrust my hand in the air without even realizing. I could sense everyone was looking at me, surprised. I was the center of attention all of a sudden.
"Well, I guess what Camus is trying to convey to the reader is that..."
With the dead silence acting as a cue, I went on to answer the question eloquently. Actually, my voice did. My mind went on to cherish that moment when I shattered my classmates' typical image of me as a silent kid. I proved that I could speak up in class and shed my bashfulness. As I walked out of the room after the bell rang, I was determined to prove this fact to everyone else. Never was I going to be compared to Meursault again, even as a joke.
Be careful... Camus is not an existentialist. Yes, his ideas are associated with the same movement as Sartre's, but Camus stated explicitly that he was not an existentialist.
You should reverse the order of these two sentences:
"Dude, he is just like you."
My friend snickered while sitting next to me in English class.
You did this twice: So class... ---Let's replace the second one with a different expression that means the same thing.
"Well, I guess what Camus is trying to convey to the reader is that..."---Why did you not reveal what you said about it? What you said about it can be what drives forward the meaning of this essay. It does not need to be what you actually said, but for the purpose of the essay it is important to paraphrase it and word it in a way that is like the climax of the whole essay.