The Outsider Essay

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Other people’s stories don’t generally interest me as a writer.

Instead, I’m after a deeper kind of observation–the kind that then I can unleash in my imagination.

But out of the ruins emerged a writer and thinker who, some fifty-five years and 170 books later, has produced a polymathic body of work unparalleled in post-war English literature.

In 1966 he completed his important ‘Outsider Cycle’ with Works of non-fiction were generally accompanied by novels—each entertaining in its own right, but also blatantly making use of various genres in order to put his philosophical ideas into practice.

By the age of fourteen he had compiled a multi-volume work of essays covering all aspects of science entitled made him consider himself to be “Shaw’s natural successor.” After a succession of menial jobs, he spent some time wandering around Europe, and finally returned to Leicester in 1951.

There he married his first wife, Betty, and moved to London, where a son was born.

Nose pressed to the glass, the observer in me is interested in human nature. It isn’t a conscious thing, so much as an impression, a kind of music. Why couldn’t I be an insider, instead of just pretending to be one? It’s sometimes lonely, to stand on the outside, watching.

And in order to feel these things, to be porous and open and aware enough, I have to remain just slightly on the outside. As a young woman, I wondered what the hell was wrong with me. But I think most of us would say that it isn’t a choice, really.

In The Outsider he tells the story of an emotionless and immoral character, Meursault, and how he deals with the norms of the society and the judgmental people around him.

The story takes place in Algiers, where Meursault receives a telegram informing him that his mother had passed out and that he needed to attend the funeral, in which he did not show any emotion.


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