Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To sort articles by Rankā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can specify Rank as the sort order when searching (it’s the default) which will put the articles which best matched your search on the top, and the complete results in descending relevance to your search. This feature is useful for finding the most important articles on a specific topic.

You can also change the sort order of results by selecting rank at the top of the search results pane after you perform a search. Note that rank order after a search only ranks up to 1000 maximum results that were returned; specifying rank in the search dialog ranks all possibilities before choosing the final 1000 (or less) to return.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Makari, G.J. (1988). The Last Four Shots: Problems of Intention and Camus' The Stranger. Am. Imago, 45(4):359-374.

(1988). American Imago, 45(4):359-374

The Last Four Shots: Problems of Intention and Camus' The Stranger

George J. Makari, M.D.

The psychoanalysis of characters in a modern literary work is a perilous project. The 20th century literary artist immersed in Freudian precepts of mind and motivation often strikes some compromise between self-consciously portraying psychology in Freudian terms and giving flesh to his own intrapsychic struggles. In addition the author's conscious intention may be to subvert, defensively displace, or tautologically assert that which the psychoanalytic critic is in search of. The psychoanalyst must be wary of the modern virtuoso artificer. However this restraint, it seems to me, may be suspended in the case of textual mysteries; anomalies where both character and author stand befuddled before their own project.

Such a mystery lies at the heart of Albert Camus' The Stranger. The central act and central scotoma of the novel is Meursault's murder of the Arab. This act led Edmund Wilson to declare the work inexplicable. Camus' biographer called the portrayal of this event “the most puzzling pages Camus ever wrote” (McCarthy, p. 155). Why does Meursault kill? Why the Arab? Why does he fire four shots into a body already made lifeless by a first round?


In terse bits of prose Meursault introduces himself to the reader:

Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.