Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Comparison of How Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in the Outsider Have Used Moral Issues to Develop Their Works Essay Example
Comparison of How Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in the Outsider Have Used Moral Issues to Develop Their Works Essay Comparison of how Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in The Outsider have used moral issues to develop their works It is debatable whether morality is a code of conduct that is considered right by society or whether it is a code unilaterally decided upon by an individual. When we consider morality as a tool used by both Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in The Outsider, this debate holds immense relevance. Wonderful Fool, heavily influenced by Christian doctrine, addresses the degeneration of Japanese society and the way moral issues are presented in the novel reflects this. In Wonderful Fool Shusaku Endo looks upon morality as the value system defined by the Bible, where Jesus Christ is regarded as the epitome of true goodness. In his portrayal of the main character he draws upon examples from ChristÃ¢â¬â¢s life to recreate a character whose morality is nearly flawless. The Outsider as a philosophical social commentary uses moral issues to demonstrate the absurdity of existence. Camus chooses to present morality as the code of conduct that an individual chooses to uphold regardless of the views of society or religion. He creates a character that lives according to his own Ã¢â¬Å"moralityÃ¢â¬ . We will write a custom essay sample on Comparison of How Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in the Outsider Have Used Moral Issues to Develop Their Works specifically for you for only $16.38 $13.9/page Order now We will write a custom essay sample on Comparison of How Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in the Outsider Have Used Moral Issues to Develop Their Works specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer We will write a custom essay sample on Comparison of How Shusaku Endo in Wonderful Fool and Albert Camus in the Outsider Have Used Moral Issues to Develop Their Works specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer Although supposed by most readers to be amoral, this character, Meursault appears to be true to his personal convictions of objectivism. MeursaultÃ¢â¬â¢s commitment to objectivity makes him moral in my opinion. Coined post-Camus, moral objectivism in this context refers to objectivity being used to guide oneÃ¢â¬â¢s actions as opposed to subjective emotions or traditions. Both writers utilize characterization to present moral issues concerning honesty, consistency and non-conformity in a manner that supports their respective viewpoints. In both texts characterization is frequently used as a vehicle through which morality is presented. In Shusaku EndoÃ¢â¬â¢s novel Gaston is presented as a clumsy Ã¢â¬Ëhorse-likeÃ¢â¬â¢ (Endo 43) Frenchman who is incongruous with the modern slick Japanese city of Tokyo. This Ã¢â¬ËfoolÃ¢â¬â¢ who descended from greatness (Napoleon) is very much like Jesus who is also an unwelcome descendant of a ruler (King David). Gaston, like Jesus, is not physically attractive . Both were rejected by people in society, especially the fashionable, rich or powerful. Jesus was rejected at Nazareth his hometown. People scoffed, Ã¢â¬Å"HeÃ¢â¬â¢s just a carpenter, the son of MaryÃ¢â¬ (Mark 6:3), whilst Gaston is constantly referred to as the Ã¢â¬Å"foreigner,Ã¢â¬ never integrating into Tokyo. His rejection is best characterised by Tomoe. Ã¢â¬Å"Ã¢â¬â¢hope you are satisfiedÃ¢â¬ ¦bringing that fool into our home,Ã¢â¬â¢ she said with deep resentmentÃ¢â¬ (Endo 51). She did not welcome his presence in her house. Gaston makes companions of the lowliest members of society: prostitutes, murderers, and stray dogs. In this way he resembles Christ who befriended the outcasts of his society, such as lepers and prostitutes. He demonstrates selflessness and patience as he attempts to befriend a thug that was beating him up. Ã¢â¬Å"No matter what trickÃ¢â¬ ¦he was of such a temperament that he could not hate his persecutorsÃ¢â¬ (Endo 83). This demonstrates a parallel with Christ who forgave those who taunted him on the cross. His self-sacrificing, unconditional Ã¢â¬Ëchildlike faithÃ¢â¬â¢ (Psalm 116:6) in the goodness of people bears a strong resemblance to Jesus and this presents him to the reader as being morally good. Shusaku Endo uses GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s character as a foil, against which he shows the individualistic nature of Japanese society. Endo conveys his disapproval of this societal trait by painting a positive picture of GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s selflessness against the gloom of Japanese hedonism. Gaston is seen by the reader as being altruistic and therefore the reader is led to feel that Japan is self-seeking because of the harsh contrast between his magnanimity and the cityÃ¢â¬â¢s self-absorbed nature. This contrast is created through other characterÃ¢â¬â¢s response to Gaston as well as the scenes in which GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s tale is told. The other characters in the novel respond to GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s actions with disdain. For instance, when Ã¢â¬Å"Gaston took food from his own plate and threw it to the dogÃ¢â¬ ¦Tomoe and Matchan looked away in disgustÃ¢â¬ (Endo 51). His simple act of kindness disgusted them. This contrast between the ideal (embodied by Gaston) and reality (of the character Japanese society) demonstrates Shusaku EndoÃ¢â¬â¢s disapproval of the judgemental society that Japan had become. Contrast is further evident in the following examples: the scene at Ã¢â¬Å"Hilltop HotelÃ¢â¬ (a brothel), the incident at Sanya where Ã¢â¬Å"even the policeÃ¢â¬ ¦close their eyes to prostitutionÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"extortion, theft and other such crimes flourishÃ¢â¬ (Endo 115). By playing out GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s story in these places, which are hedonistic, dark and cruel, GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s kindness and compassion is even more apparent as he unwittingly helps the prostitute in need. The writer places Gaston in the company of a murderer, Endo, Ã¢â¬Å"who was able to kill a man in cold bloodÃ¢â¬ (Endo 118). Endo (the character) embodies the Japanese in a way that suggests they are self-serving as he acts without regard for Gaston trying to satisfy his own needs. Despite EndoÃ¢â¬â¢s aggression GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s response to Endo is one of concern for him as opposed to worry for himself. This relationship further emphasises the idea of the Japanese being too egotistical by contrasting EndoÃ¢â¬â¢s selfishness with GastonÃ¢â¬â¢s unselfishness. Albert Camus has a similar approach in his choice of characteristics for his principle character. Meursault, as the title implies, is an outsider and apathetically goes about life. Meursault appears not to concern himself with the conventions of his society. When his mother died MeursaultÃ¢â¬â¢s response was one of indifference as he concerned himself more with the date and logistics than acknowledging the gravity of her death. Ã¢â¬Å"Mother died today. Or maybe yesterdayÃ¢â¬ ¦IÃ¢â¬â¢ll come back tomorrowÃ¢â¬ (Camus 9). However he is not completely indifferent; truth is of great importance to him. Like Gaston he never wavers from his belief system, upholding objectivity without compromise. He is honest and true as a result. By the end of the text when Meursault is offered an alternative to execution in exchange for his faith in God he refuses. Ã¢â¬ Ã¢â¬ ¦with GodÃ¢â¬â¢s help he would do something for meÃ¢â¬ (Camus 67) Ã¢â¬ ¦ [he asked] me if I believed in God. I said noÃ¢â¬ (Camus 68). He sees no need for a lawyer, Ã¢â¬Å"I could answer for myselfÃ¢â¬ (Camus 66). His unwillingness to compromise or immersion in his Ã¢â¬ËsimpleÃ¢â¬â¢ belief system turns Meursault almost into a martyr, dying for his belief. MeursaultÃ¢â¬â¢s commitment to honesty to himself overrides the instinctive response of self-preservation. He is a non-conformist and does not understand society. This emphasizes how this judgmental society imposes its own belief system on individuals, requiring assimilation. Meursault, like Gaston, is consistent in his conduct, not lying once in the text, making him moral in his own mind. Similar to Shusaku Endo, Camus uses the contrast of the ideal characterised by Meursault to highlight a fault in the society he presents. MeursaultÃ¢â¬â¢s objectivity demonstrates, through juxtaposition, the absurdity of our society. He comments on how murder is murder, thus it makes no difference if a man is shot once or four times, or if a man is killed by a stranger or his own son. During the trial his lawyer asks, Ã¢â¬Å"Is he being accused of burying his mother or of killing a man? Ã¢â¬ (Camus 93). This question showing how the court or society was judging him based on Ã¢â¬Å"exposing the dark workings of this criminal soulÃ¢â¬ (Camus 96), as opposed to the arbitrary shooting. The murder was not malicious. He only killed the man as a response to Ã¢â¬Å"a red hot blade gnawing at [his] eyelashesÃ¢â¬ (Camus 60). Although Meursault speaks the truth he is judged by a system which does not recognise his moral code. This system views murder as immoral regardless of the intention, whilst Meursault sees no shame in his action as it wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t borne from malice. In effect he is convicted for not conforming. In the Afterword Camus says Ã¢â¬Å"the hero of the book is condemned because he doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t play the gameÃ¢â¬ (Camus 118). Meursault pulled the trigger out of tension from the heat and was not out of revenge or hatred towards the Arab. If morality is an individualÃ¢â¬â¢s set code of conduct, independent of society, a societyÃ¢â¬â¢s morals could then be called Ã¢â¬ËethicsÃ¢â¬â¢. Camus creates a character that is moral as he is true to his own beliefs, whilst at the same time the character is unethical. It was the skill involved in playing a characterÃ¢â¬â¢s private beliefs against those of a society that made me enjoy these texts. In each text, a characterÃ¢â¬â¢s personality conflicts with a societyÃ¢â¬â¢s personality and to me this was a most effective way of exploring the societyÃ¢â¬â¢s flaws. Both writers utilize characterization to present moral issues concerning honesty, consistency and non-conformity in a manner that supports their respective viewpoints. As these characters show the ideal, society is painted as being imperfect. Through characterisation both writers present the flawed world and a consistent character to the reader. The reader then chooses which is right and which is wrong based on the biased information given by the writer. This then means the reader identifies the society as flawed and the writer has fulfilled his purpose and conveyed his message. Word Count: 1,497 words Bibliography Camus, Albert. The Outsider. English Translation: Joseph Laredo. Penguin Books Ltd, London; 1983. Endo, Shusaku. Wonderful Fool. English Translation: Francis Mathy. Peter Owen Publishers, London; 2002.
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