The Stranger By Camus
Among Camus’ most famous novels, The Stanger (1942) is perhaps the most remarkable. Compared to The Plague (1947) and The Fall (1956), the language of the novel tends to be easier for reader’s perception, as gradually the writer’s manner keeps getting more complex. The Stranger opens us the world void of rational meaning, totally grotesque world of Albert Camus.
A plot of the book centers around the protagonist and storyteller, Meursault. By portraying detached, indifferent, unemotional main character, Camus masterly creates absurd and apathetic entourage. We may witness this Meursault’s lack of emotions throughout all the text: he even cannot remember when his mother passed away and sheds no tears after such dramatic loss. He reacts with no emotions upon a man, who scoffs at a dog, as if this situation is absolutely ordinary. When his sweetheart Marie – the only person sincerely caring about him – reveals her affection to him, he still remains cold and dispassionate. Even the murder of Arab committed by Meursault does not bother him. But this odd trait of the main character is not senseless. In such a way, Camus wants to show us that human life is meaningless and the only salvation is to adhere to an attitude of indifference toward yourself and people around you.
The Stranger illustrates the conflict of society faithful to its moral foundations and an individual bound by them. In case your behavioral patterns somewhat differ from the general model accepted by society which you live in, you will be rejected, ignored and punished by people. Hence, you are a stranger, an outcast, a black sheep, doomed to wander all your lifetime unappreciated by anybody. Meursault absolutely neglects how people treat him: he dispassionately observes the court proceedings, despite his further destiny is currently under consideration. This proves how different the protagonist is in comparison with the society that used to estimate individuals by judging them over their actions. As Nicola Chiaramonte, an Italian social activist and author eloquently said of Meursault: in society that denounces him allegedly on the ground of his objective behavior, this character is the only person, who really judges others objectively (“Albert Camus Thought That Life Is Meaningless”). Insomuch as society shows no willingness to understand Meursault’s nature, in response he disregards such society.
All in all, the main idea of the book, like of all existentialism movement, is that only existence, in itself, differentiates the person from the environment. By total negligence to death, Meursault manages to get rid of the eternal human’s fear to be buried. After being sentenced to death penalty, he clearly realizes that he was no more obliged to conform to society’s standards. The man finally understand: so far, he has not existed in a world of people’s acceptance, but in a world of his own creation.