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Redemption In David Adams Richards' "Mercy Among The Children" And Albert Camus' "The Outsider"

2942 words - 12 pages

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Redemption in David Adams Richards Mercy among the Children and Albert CamusThe OutsiderThe essential meaning of human redemption is to free oneself from sin and to find goodness in one's own nature. The novels, Mercy among the Children by David Adams Richards and The Outsider by Albert Camus, both explore the notion of human redemption. Sydney Henderson, the protagonist of Mercy among the Children, dedicates his life to the faith in God in hope of salvation. While Meursault, the main character of The Outsider, seeks redemption in an individual indifference to society and a belief that human life is worthless. Both Sydney Henderson and Meursault are redeemed when the truth ...view middle of the document...

And finding it so much like myself, in fact so fraternal, I realized that I'd been happy, and that I was still happy" (117). At the end, Meursault acknowledges this indifference of the universe and for the first time he feels like he is a member of society since they both share the common quality of indifference. Meursault finally accepts the idea that he is going to die because he realizes that people who condemn him are just like him.Meursault is also redeemed in the eyes of a reader. The reader admires Meursault's character due to his absolute integrity. He never denies his true nature, nor does he try to conform to the views of society, "He announced that I [Meursault ] had no place in a society whose most fundamental rules I ignored…" (99). In fact, society condemns Meursault for being brutally honest. Every time the court gives Meursault a chance to admit his faults and wrongs, he refuses to lie about his remorse, "…rather than true regret, I felt a kind of annoyance" (69). Unlike most of the people in our society, Meursault is never afraid to tell the truth or express his exact feelings. Meursault remains bona fide to his ultimate beliefs till the day he dies, because it is the only truth in life that he knows is real, "I [Meursault] might seem to be empty-handed. But I was sure of myself, sure of everything, surer than he [chaplain] was, sure of my life and sure of the death that was coming to me. Yes, that was all I had. But at least it was a truth which I had hold of just as it had hold of me" (115). In conclusion, the reader feels sympathy and admiration for Meursault because he daringly dies for the truth.On the contrary to Meursault's atheistic indifference, Sydney's salvation begins with his sacred covenant with God. At the age of twelve, he gets into a fight and pushes a boy from the top of the roof. Thinking that he is dead, Sydney Henderson makes a pact swearing to God that if he lets the boy live, he "would never raise his hand or voice to another soul". From that point on, Sydney always lives up to his vow and acts according to the agreement. His nature is admirable due to the moral quality of this pact, because this quality is utterly good and highly honorable trait of a man. However, people often take advantage of Sydney due to his righteousness and discriminate against his kindness, "…a grown man [Sydney] who was mocked by the community for being odd, and was considered strange" (Richards 102). Because Sydney Henderson is ethical person, he is considered strange by his community. Nevertheless, Sydney endures this terrible abuse with a belief that God will justify his life, "…we still have faith in God that everything will turn out" (103). His resolute faith is where Sydney finds his salvation.Sydney Henderson comes from exceptionally poor family. He lives in a shack in Arron Brook, New Brunswick with his wife, Elly, and three children, Lyle, Autumn Lynn, and Percy. Even though Sydney is...

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