Do we make the moments in our lives or do the moments in our lives make us?
Crime and Punishment and The Stranger are brilliant examples of when a moment can change everything, but they each have different opinions of punishments.
In Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov makes a conscious decision to kill the pawnbroker and in the heat of the moment also kills her innocent sister. But his punishment comes as he over obsesses the crime and cannot escape the guilt he feels for the murder. It is only after he confesses and is punished by society that he feels peace. Raskolnikov defines himself by his action and it is in that self definition that makes me believe that the moment of the second murder made him, and not the other way around. We cannot be sure if he would have been consumed by his guilt if he had not committed the second murder, but if he would have, as I like to hope he would, I would believe that he made the moment that made him.
In The Stranger however, Mersault does not appear to feel any guilt of the murder he committed and when asked to speak for his own defense, Mersault can only say it was because of the heat of the sun. Mersault is one of those characters we don't ever truly understand. We go through a part of his life and yet he is still a stranger to us. With his murder it seems as if he is only effected by the punishment society gives him. He sits in his cell after given the death penalty and wishes for more time. And when he finally comes to terms with his death he only wishes to not be alone at the end. But does that mean that the murder created any change in Mersault? And if it did was it because he acted on the murder or because "it was plausible that he had intent"?
While we barely water ski on the surface of the mind of one of these men and deep-sea into the brain of the other, the question is applicable to both. These men both commit a cruel crime that SHOULD change the way they should perceive the world and themselves, but if they intended to kill does that mean that they made the moment or that the moment made them? That's still the big question