Our attitudes and view of the world can change as our life situations change. Our experiences shape who we are as people. In ‘The Outsider’ by Graeme Lay, we see how language features are successfully used to analyse the attitudes of Karl and Justine.This essay will analyse how the use of contrast, omniscient narration, and similes allows the readers to understand the complicated relationship and attitudes of Justine and Karl.
The use of contrast between Justine and Karl is an effective technique in The Outsider. This is used to present Graeme Lay’s main message that obsession can lead to disaster. When the audience is introduced to one of the main characters, Justine “...staring pensively through the glass window at the street beyond. Tuesday morning and even less happening than usual.”- We get the impression that her life is boring and without excitement. However, this soon changes upon the arrival of Karl, a foreigner, who “had seen a lot of waves in the past three years. California, Hawaii, Mexico, Peru.” It is made clear from the very beginning that Karl is a drifter- someone who travels from one place to another. Drifters also have a reputation for taking actions without considering the consequences. This difference in personalities is an important contrast, as the audience understands the sense of naivety and innocence that are the foundation for Justine’s love for Karl. Through this contrast, the attitude of Karl is revealed in the fact that he is self-centered and does not want to stick around for a long time and ultimately feels no responsibility when he leaves Justine stranded and pregnant.