Throughout,both, Gimpel the Fool by IsaacBashevis Singer and Albert Camus’s TheStranger, they both have a psychological and sociological approach to bothwritings. Albert Camus and Isaac Bashevis Singer both associate philosophical imagery,the contradicting impression of God and the social construct in both writings.In the following, is an analysis of both these authors’ methods and their meansof containing the social behavior and religious aspect within their writing.AlbertCamus’s intention in The Stranger is to explore his approach in his writing. Heraises the issue of society and how living in a world without clarity andjudgement can be cruel and punishing. His work suggests that living in thisworld trying to find happiness is a waste of effort and he indirectly attemptsto illustrate the idea that it is not ethical to worry about the emotionalappeal of everything in life.
Albert Camus expresses the ideas of absurdism,existentialism, the absence of God, psychology, nothingness and sociology.Camus focuses on the idea of existentialism through psychology and sociology.Meursault’s behavior and decision-making process is not based on deep analysisof situations or with specific objectives; they are just based as a response tohis physical discomfort. He consciously and intentionally murders a person tosatisfy his physical needs of satisfaction and avoidance of discomfort.
Hisdecision making process is so simple, even when asked if he needs an attorney,he could not understand why someone who killed a person would need that. In hissimplistic view, if one kills a person, that person faces the societal agreedupon penalties. Meursault’s character is one that does not show any emotion,life, or love. He never shows his emotions past a physical level which isevident with his relationship with Marie as well. Marie tries to evoke emotionsof love from Meursault but is constantly argued with his interpretation of whatlove is and its meaning to him. He specifically tells Marie that “devotion isnothing more than self-delusion”.
IsaacBashevis Singer’s writes about a man who believes everything he is told becauseof his faith in God. Judaism’s stories philosophically brings the storytogether as Gimpel’s thoughts and action are justified through the religion.The religious imagery he brings to the writing gives the reader clues inunderstanding Gimpel as a character. Singer chooses to focus on the nature ofreality because he cannot understand why he is treated like a fool. Throughoutthis all, Gimpel- just like Mersault—is aware of how everybody is treating him,but in this case Gimpel keeps on falling for tricks so he is considered to befoolish by society. Not only is he gullible, but his faith in God makes himbelieve the impossible, which makes him look even more ridiculous. In thiscase, he seems to be happy with being tricked.
The main difference between thetwo writings would have to be the mood of the writing. The Stranger seems to benegative and Gimpel and the Fool is positive. The Stranger ends in death as heaccuses a priest of “living like a dead man”.
He challenges the socialconstruct before his own death– he refuses to “waste any last minute on God”.Notice the difference between Mersault and Gimpel and their idea of God. Mersaultand Gimpel are both deceived within their home and although Mersault is aware,Gimpel is not aware that the whole town is against him—even his wife, whocheats on him. When Gimpel realizes, his life takes a turn as he starts todream of the devil and becomes introverted.Gimpel’sbelief in God gave him a positive aspect in life.
Although the world wasagainst him because of his innocence, he was very intelligent and he never sufferedthrough his purity. Gimpel showed everybody that God is on his side even whenthe rest of the world is not. However, Mersault’s position was different;society was against him because he was a “Stranger” to them. Mersault wasemotionless, unfaithful, and introverted causing the world to see him differently.When death approaches Mersault, he attempts to be faithful in order to somehowavoid death, but instead a false illusion of hope prior to death tortures himeven more. After speaking with the Chaplain, he then peacefully accepts deathwhen he understands that he is The Stranger.
Gimpel the Fool, being an outcast causeshim to be successfully awarded in his life, but Mersault as an outsider causeshim to be beheaded.