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En cours de terminale (A2) nous sommes en train lire L'Etranger de Camus. J'ai l'habitude de lire La Peste avec mes élèves de terminale car j'y trouve plus de sujets à discuter, mais L'Etranger est habituellement considéré comme le chef d'oeuvre de Camus. On comprend bien pourquoi. Le style est à la fois original expérimental. Le fond représente une des plus célèbres contestations de la foi chrétienne. C'est un livre qui associe une simplicité de style à une profondeur de sujet.

Mais, cette fois, en lisant les premiers chapitres, nous y trouvons beaucoup d'humour aussi. Les réactions impassibles de Meursault peuvent choquer certains, mais nous y trouvons de quoi rire. Nous venons de lire l'épisode où le vieux Salamano a perdu son chien, celui qu'il traite de "Salaud, charogne" et qu'il châtie sans pitié. En fait, Salamano adore son chien et il est complètement désemparé par sa disparition. Le lecteur est ému par la tristesse de Salamano, mais, son histoire racontée, au début du paragraphe suivant Meursault bâille! Meursault est un homme qui sait écouter, mais ne sait pas écouter. Il entend, mais il ne juge jamais et il ne comprend que vaguement le vrai sens des événements. Il voit le monde du petit bout de la lorgnette, comme on dit.

On peut facilement trouver du plaisir à la façon dont il répond à la demande de mariage de sa petite amie, Marie. Meursault ne peut pas dire qu'il l'aime, mais il veut bien l'épouser, si elle le veut. Quand elle lui demande s'il l'aime, il répond qu'il ne comprend pas la question, mais sûrement pas! C'est Mr Spock ou Mr Data de Star Trek, et ces personnages font rire grâce à leur froideur.

Bref, les élèves semblent bien apprécier le texte, mais le plus difficile viendra dans la deuxième partie.


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