“The Stranger”

A new kind of hero came to the world when Camus unfolded an existential novel The Stranger in 1942 to the literary scene. It was published in the darkest hour of World War II after France had submitted to Hitler and the British were in a barricade while the Russians were on the defending their supremacy in the world. With such a milieu, Albert’s work and philosophy were used to express a sign of resistance to the German rulers. The Stranger fulfills Camus’ dream and makes an advocate for an existentialist movement that is against absurdity. The novel unveils the theory of absurdism depicting man’s absurdity to hold to other beliefs in an indifferent world. Camus tries to reveal a life filled with sensation and stimulation without burden or punishment. The story revolves around a protagonist called Meursault who views life in a different perspective and believes only in his thoughts. He is a callous man led by nature and does not value moral ethics that everyone would uphold. He gets angry with the scorching effect of the sun and murders an Arab because his attention is on the physical environment.

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In a nut shell, The Stranger is a tale that attempts to persuade a society to view life in a new dimension. The story tends to encourage isolation in a community as depicted by Meursault. The readers are encouraged to see absurdity in a modern world presented through the lifestyle of a single character, Meursault. He fails to take promising opportunities open to him and only chooses to go against the law through his queer behavior. Meursault is quite indifferent because he remains bold even when capital punishment is imposed on him.


The novel is divided into two parts giving details on a man who values absurdity never to be influenced by other opinions. Meursault allows his thoughts to direct him and is drawn into actions of murder something that Camus referred to as the nakedness of man exposed in absurd. Part one of the novel opens with Meursault receiving a telegram that his mother has passed on. He recounts on her death when he says, “Mother died today.” However, he is not resentful and feels compelled to travel home from Algiers for the funeral. At his arrival, Meursault is unemotional and refuses to view the corpse but instead chooses to smoke and drink beside the coffin. He only tells the reader the occurrence of events at the funeral but fails to show his feeling about the death of his mother. After the funeral, Meursault encounters Marie and they begin a relationship immediately. Later on, he assists his friend Raymond Sintes to take revenge on a Moorish woman, his ex-girlfriend for allegations of unfaithfulness. Meursault, Raymond and Marie take a ride to the beach where they meet the brother of Raymond’s ex-girlfriend.

Meursault is arrested finally by the police after shooting the Arab man in what he said was self defense and he did not intend to do it but is eventually placed in custody. Nevertheless, he is not pitiful and still demonstrates the existential attitude in the prison. During the trial session, Meursault is not worried even when the prosecutor concludes that he is cold-hearted and deserves death penalty. He is a man who is not ready to shift goalposts despite the fact that a chaplain comes to convince him to repent. As a result, he is guillotined and the novel ends.


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