Albert Camus novel, The First Man, shows how one man, Jacques Comedy, who's father died while he was an infant, and is forced to grow up in a poverty stricken part of Algiers with his mother, grandmother, brother and uncle in a small two bedroom apartment. Has come to an understanding of love, death, poverty, and life. The following passages are some of Camus best examples of how Jacques has come to this understanding, as well as some of Camus own opinions on these and other matters. This first passage is a conversation between Jacques and his friend Malan it tells us about Jacques opinion on life and death.
At sixty-five, every year is a stay of execution, Malan said. I would like to die in peace, and dying frightens me. I have accomplished nothing. There are people who vindicate the world, who help others live just by their presence.
Yes, and they die, Malan said. They were silent, and the wind blew a little harder around the house. (Camus 35-36). In this passage Jacques has come to the understanding that all me die, whether they accomplish great things or not. As long as you live a good life there is no use in regretting the life you live, because even if you do not change the lives of thousands, you will at least touch one other person. In this next passage Jacques has comes to a realization about his mother.
Yes, said Jacques. He was going to say: You re very beautiful, and he stopped himself. He had always thought that of his mother and had never dared to tell her so. It was not that he feared being rebuffed nor that he doubted such a compliment would please her. But it would have meant breaching the invisible barrier behind which for all his life he had seen her take shelter- (Camus 58).
In this passage Jacques has come to realize what it is that he loves most about his mother. It is the fact that he does not need to tell her that he loves her, because he knows that she does not doubt his love for her, and her love for him. In this passage Camus gives us insight into his opinion of war, and each day hundreds of new orphans, Arab and French, awakened in every corner of Algeria, sons and daughters without fathers who would now have to learn to live without guidance and without heritage. (70).
This passage shows us Camus total disdain for war. What right does anyone have to force children to grow up not knowing where they come from or who they are. It also shows the hipocracy of war where countries fight to preserve their heritage, but at the same time they destroy it by killing those who would carry it on. In this next passage Camus tells us about poverty.
Few indeed are those who continue to be openhanded after they have acquired the means for it. Such as these are princes among men, before whole one must bow down. (117). In this passage Camus is saying that most people are only willing to give when they have nothing to offer, because they have nothing to lose. It is rare to find a pres on who has come from little or no beginnings, who now has everything and is still willing to give with no thought of accepting anything in return.