The novel begins with the death of Muralist’s mother. When attending the e funeral, he does not request to see the body of his mother, though he is intrigued about the e effects of heat and humidity have on the rate of a body’s decay. Let is clear that he is almost totally unaffected by the death of his mother as nothing changes in his life. Her death had little to no is munificence to him. When hearing his neighbor weep over his lost dog (which had died) he thinks of his mother but is unaware of the association he has made. Instead of dwelling on the matter he chooses to go to bed.
When he is on the beach with Raymond and Manson and they confront two Arabs that Muralist starts to think about the insignificance of action and of human exes thence. He has a gun and it occurs to him that he could shoot or not shoot and the outcome would be the same. The loss of life would have no significance effect on life as a whole and the Univac errs itself is apparently indifferent to everything. Muralist implicitly denies the existence of God and thus denies mortality, as well as the “external” meaning of life and death.
Numerous t kills one of the Arabs in a moment of confusion, partially out of selfness, but does not erg ret it even though it means going to prison and, ultimately, being executed. He has this fatalistic fee ling that ‘What’s done is done,” and later explains that he has never regretted anything because SE he has always been too absorbed by the present moment or by the immediate future to dwell on the past. In sense, Muralist is always aware of the meaninglessness of all endeavor RSI in the face of death. He has no ambition to advance socioeconomics, he is indifferent ABA out being friends with Raymond and about marrying Marie.
This awareness is somehow never intense enough to involve selfsameness. That is, he never reflects on the meaning of death for h until he is in orison awaiting his own execution. The “meaning’ of another’s death is quite different from the “meaning” of one’s own death. With the former, one no longer see that peers n again, with the latter, ones very consciousness. As far as We know, just ends as a television picture ends when the set is Swiss etched off. Death marks all things equal, and equally absurd, death itself is absurd in the sense that reason or the rational mind cannot deal with it.
It is a foregone conclusion, yet it remains an unrealized possibility until some indeterminate future time. The “meaning” of is not ratio anal but, again, is existential. It’s implications are to be found not in the actuality of one’s life, the e finality of each moment. Before his trial, Muralist passes the time by sleeping, by reading over an d over the newspaper story about the (unrelated) murder of Czech, and by recreating a mental picture of his room at home in complete detail, down to the scratches in the furniture.
In HTH s connection, it must be admitted that he is externally very sensitive and aware, despite his la KC of egalitarianism and emotional response. This is evidence by his detailed d ascriptions. Natural beauty such as the beach, the glistening water, the shade, the reed music, Swiss mining, making love to Marie, and the evening hour he liked so much are examples of his seen activity to the natural beauty. He even stated that if forced to live in a hollow tree trunk, he would be content to watch the sky, passing birds, and the clouds.
After Muralist’s trial (which he is sentenced to be executed), he no longer drowns himself in his memories or passes the time in the frivolous ways he was accustomed to spend Sundays at home. For a while his mind is consumed with thoughts of escape. Muralist c Anton reconcile the contingency of his sentence (Why guilt? Why sentenced by a French court rata ere than a Chinese en? Why the verdict was read at eight pm rather than at five? Etc. ) with the m canonical certainty of the process that leads inevitably to his death.
Eventually Muralist gives u upon finding a loophole out of it. Muralist finds his mind returning to the fear that dawn w loud bring the guards who would lead him to his end, or to the hope that his appear will be g ranted. TO try to distract himself from these thoughts, Muralist forces himself to study the sky or to listen to the beating of his heartbeat. The changing light reminds him of the p assign of time towards dawn, and Muralist can not imagine his heart ever stopping. In dew Ling on the chance for an appeal, he considered the possibility of denial and thus of execution.
M result must face the fact of his death whether it comes now or later. One he really, honestly ad mitts death’s inevitability, he allows himself to consider the chance of a successful appeal, t 0 be set free to live perhaps more years before dying. Muralist now begins to see the value of e ACH moment of the life before death. The meaning value, significance of life is only seen in light o f death, yet most people miss it through the denial of death. The hope of longer life brings Me Sault great joy.
Perhaps to end the maddening uncertainty and thus intensify his awareness s of death’s inevitability as a gesture of helplessness, Muralist turns down his right to AP peal. Afterward the prison chaplain insists on speaking with him. Muralist admits his fear but De nines despair and has no interest in the chaplain’s belief of an afterlife. He flies into rage, finally , at the chaplain’s persistence, for he realizes that the chaplain has not assessed the human con edition, if he has, the chaplain’s certainties have no meaning for Muralist and have not the real VA I.e. of,say, a strand f women’s hair.