The Stranger Within

Cover of "The Outsider (Penguin Modern Cl...

Cover of The Outsider (Penguin Modern Classics)

(This is the same assignment as my previous post, but this is for English A1. The book which this text is based on is The Stranger by Albert Camus. I chose to write a descriptive passage from the perspective of Raymond. The first passage is a scene, were Raymond tells Meursault about his problem with his unfaithful lover, written in with the thoughts of Raymond himself. The second passage is stream of consciousness during Meursault’s execution.)

Passage One:

I just met Meursault in the stairs again. He is an interesting fella, walking around in this little town, silent and mysterious. I have to actually really drag his attention to me to make myself look interesting enough. He is a really smart guy too. That’s why I asked him in for some sausage and wine at my place. I needed his brain for a little favor. He wouldn’t mind.

My hand started to hurt again. As I wrapped it with some bandage I found, he asked what I’d done to it. “I’d been in a fight with some guy who was trying to start trouble,” I tried to say casually. Somehow, he was quite good at leading the conversation the right way. I told him the story of the guy who got his lesson, and tried to slip in some hints toward him, saying I needed his help about something. I don’t even know why I try. These social codes weren’t his strongest point. It had to be asked straight out. Not that he would mind, he never cared for those sorts of things. As I finished my story I continued to the real thing. “As a matter of fact, Meursault, I could actually need your advice on this whole business. You know, because you’re a man, and you know about things, you could help me out! And then we’d be pals, of course.” I assumed he was at least a little normal, not too much of a freak. He had gotten Marie but she wasn’t a beauty queen. I had stopped talking a while ago, but it was still silent. I asked if he actually wanted to be pals. He seemed to be thinking. That was a good sign. He was considering it. “It is fine with me,” he said shortly after. I had him.

The only matter now was how to make him do it correctly. Meursault isn’t the man to question too much, just enough to get the little picture he needed. I liked that about him. Nothing complicated. He followed directions, but wasn’t easy to guide. Other people would have fled when I started talking about how I punished my cheating woman. Meursault, on the other hand, listened until I was finished. Nervous and soar after all the talking, I asked for his opinion on the whole thing. He said something that told me he wasn’t very interested. I had to keep this going. He couldn’t tell if she was cheating on me, or what to do, but did agree that she needed to be punished. Good, now that I had made him come to that conclusion it was simple to ask him. I told him about my brilliant idea and the complications with it. I needed his mind quickly. I couldn’t in a million years write the way that would punish her enough. He was silent after I requested the favor. “Would there be any problems if you did it right now?” I asked, and got a short “no” in reply. He wrote quickly, with nice handwriting. To check that it was OK, he read it out loud for me. He looked at me for a long while. It got very awkward, and I realized he was done. He had to read it again. I was still gone, but I was sure it worked. He wouldn’t have tried to fool me anyway. I told him good night, sure that we were pals.

Passage Two:

Meursault had killed that Arab. That’s odd. I thought he was rational. Maybe he’s faulty. The trial failed him. He shouldn’t have shot that Arab. He’s in prison now. I wonder how it’s like in there. Maybe he’ll like it. It can’t be much difference. He wouldn’t care either. He never cares. He shouldn’t have shot that Arab. He’s odd. Did he enjoy it? Maybe he is that type of man, a born killer. But why would he care? Nothing pisses him off. I’ve never seen him angry. Did the Arab make him angry? He shouldn’t have killed him. Meursault’s going to die. The trial failed him. Execution in public, of all things. He looks odd up there. I can barely see him. He doesn’t mind being up there. Why was he with that Arab? Right, that thing. He shouldn’t have killed him. Everyone’s shouting, I can’t hear what the man is saying. Meursault found me. He looks odd up there. Like he doesn’t fit in. He doesn’t mind thought. Why is he looking at me that way? He doesn’t belong. The other man stopped talking. Something’s going to happen. Right, the execution. Meursault wouldn’t mind. It’s not like he wanted to live. Well, it’s not like he tried to die. Or maybe that’s why he killed that Arab? He was looking for someone to kill. I was his pal, though. He couldn’t kill me. What’s that sound? Oh, the blade wasn’t sharp enough. Too bad. He’s dead now, isn’t he? It’s just hanging there, slowly ripping off. He was a good man. He cared. I’m sure he had his reasons for killing that Arab. It probably was for the best. He looked at me as the head fell into the basket. He looked odd up there. Without a head. Everyone else has got heads. He doesn’t belong. I’m sure he’s somewhere nice. I was a good man, Meursault.

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Galskap i Brev

(As I am currently doing the IB Diploma I have to write a creative piece. This is what I write for Norwegian A1.
The text is based on the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. It is a letter from the madwoman in the attic at Thornfield Hall, Bertha Antoinetta Mason, to a fictional character I have named Maurita. She is a close friend of Bertha, which is why she can write to her about the following.) 

Kjære Maurita,

Jeg skriver til deg i tillit om at disse ord vil forbli mellom oss to alene. Du har vært min gode venninne i mange år, og jeg drister meg til å si at du kjenner meg meget godt. Ta derfor disse ord i betraktning og tenk på dem vel før du skriver tilbake. Min lit til deg er stor og jeg stoler på at dine ord vil hjelpe meg videre i denne vanskelige situasjonen. Jeg beklager for en slik måte å skrive på, men jeg må ta mine foranstaltninger. Det mine neste ord kommer til å ytre, omhandler en sak av ytterst ømfintlighet.

Du husker muligens min kjære mor, Antoinetta, eller hørt snakk som omhandler hennes nåværende natur? Du er muligens ikke overrasket når jeg forteller at min mor ikke befinner seg hos sin døende søster, slik vi har forsøkt å fremstille det. Jeg har hørt ryktene i gatene, det er merkverdig hvordan folks fantasi spinner for å lage en mer spennende versjon. Disse eldre damene som ikke lenger har sine unge sønner å ta vare på, har vel ikke noe bedre å ta seg til. Du får beklage min uforskammethet, men i så mange år har jeg villet utrykke meg om denne sak. Jeg håper du forstår at jeg aldri ville ført deg bak lyset om jeg absolutt ikke hadde noe annet valg. Kjære venninne, du må tro meg når jeg skriver disse ord, så inderlig jeg hadde lyst til å skrive til deg før denne stund, men jeg har blitt forbudt av min velvitende fader. Hvert forsøk har blitt oppdaget og straffet med sterkere midler for hver gang. Temperamentet hans har blitt verre og jeg turte ikke lenger å fortsette disse forsøk. Jeg antar at du har gjettet at dette ikke er en vanlig situasjon, og du har meget rett. Slik det har seg nå føler jeg en plikt til å skrive til deg. Du får beklage min hast, det er mye å fortelle.

Tilbake til min barmhjertige mor. For flere år siden hadde sinnet forlatt henne og hun var ikke til å kjenne igjen. Plutselige angrep anslo synlig uten grunn. Alle gjenstander i hvert rom hun befant seg i ble et våpen i hennes hender. Vi fryktet for våre liv. Det var grusomt, Maurita. Kvinnen som banket i veggene var ikke lenger min kjære mor, og vi fant ingen midler for å bringe henne tilbake. Det gikk måneder før min elskverdige far til slutt stoppet å gå opp til rommet og snakke med henne. Det var intet håp for å hente tilbake sinnet hennes. I løpet av denne tid hadde naboene våres begynt å lytte og spionere på oss. Sannheten om kjære Antoinetta kunne ikke slippe utenfor vårt hus. Av den grunn fant vi det nødvendig å sende henne av gårde. Forklaringen vi satte ut var ikke helt uten sannhet. Fars hustru er hos sin søster, men ingen av dem er døende. Tiden etter hennes avreise var meget rolig i handling, men det var demoner i luften. Du må tro meg når jeg sier dette, Maurita, jeg har tenkt på den tid før kvinnens sinn forlot henne. Stillheten her har gitt meg mye tid til å tenke og jeg er sikker i min sak. Det hele startet med en liten vane min mor hadde lagt til seg. Hun knøt knuter. Hver filt, hver tråd og hver løse snor ble knyttet med utallige knuter. Senere stoppet hun, og byttet over til noe annet. Middagene ble senere enn vanlig, og en ettermiddag hvor jeg studerte henne, la jeg merke til at hun brukte meget lang tid på kuttingen av grønnsakene. Hun studerte knivene, Maurita. Gåsehuden fikk meg ut av kjøkkenet raskt, men jeg glemmer det aldri. Det eskalerte, og endte, som du nå vet, i at hun ikke er gjenkjennbar. Jeg ber deg å ikke miste troen på meg når du leser mine neste ord. Jeg har nylig funnet en stor interesse i kniver. Knutene har jeg alltid holdt på meg, min mor ble irritert hver gang hun så det, det var slik jeg oppdaget at hun også hadde begynt. Hun hadde sluttet å klage. Tilbake til temaet, kniver er fantastiske. Det er noe ved deres skarphet som kutter en i synet bare ved å studere det. Glansen av en velpolert kniv er uvurderlig, Maurita! Nei, hør på meg selv! Vær så snill, å tro meg kjæreste venninne. Jeg tør ikke tenke på hvordan jeg utvikler meg. Redselen øker for hver dag. Far aner lite håp for meg. Kun noen få måneder til det ikke lenger er jeg som vandrer i denne kroppen. Du kan si jeg er meget heldig som oppdaget det så tidlig. Min gode far mener å ha kommet med en løsning. Det er visst en rik omreisende i området, en viss Mr. Rochester fra England. Han er meget ung, og far snakker så lovende om et ekteskap. Tror du han vil akseptere meg? Jeg er klar over hva resten av landsbyen vil ha det til, at jeg er Jamaicas vakreste, men han har vel sett mange nydelig kvinner gjennom sine reiser.

Det er her jeg trenger hjelp av dem, kjære Maurita. Det er ikke riktig. Slik en fin mann burde ikke ende opp med en kropp uten sinn. Tenk om jeg ender opp lik min mor, jeg kommer til å drepe noen! Jeg kan ikke ha det i hodet, vite at jeg er farlig for andre. Vær så snill, min vakreste venninne, jeg ber av dem, hva har du for råd? Kan jeg tillate at den omreisende blir lurt slik i stry? Burde jeg bli hos ham? Jeg orker ikke tenke på det min kropp kan gjøre når sinnet mitt har forlatt meg! Maurita, svar raskt! Tiden renner ut og jeg er redd.

Din kjæreste venninne,

Bertha Antoinetta Mason.