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The Stranger` by Albert Camus Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 March 2017

The Stranger` by Albert Camus

About the book:

The Stranger is a work of fiction written by Albert Camus in 1946. It is a novel that is both haunting and a demanding masterpiece of writing. Even though this book narrates an imaginary tale, it depicts actual concepts and notions of present philosophy far better than previous most renowned philosophical writers. The tale itself is quite uncomplicated yet the insights into the protagonist’s thoughts and sentiments are what make this novel outstanding, this literature is no doubt of a unique class.


Meursault, who is a youthful Algerian, troubles with a kind of pointless disinterest becomes mixed up in the insignificant plots of a local pimp and bizarrely ends up committing a murder. After Meursault is arrested and eventually brought to trial, it becomes clear that his crime is not much the debating defensible murder he has committed as it is his poor character. The proceedings of the trial seem to be ridiculous, a breakdown of minor trivialities.

For instance, the two supposedly derogatory facts about Meursault seemed to be not emotionally affected by his mother’s death as he would attend a screening of a comic film the evening after his mother’s funeral. Therefore the ultimate sentence the jury prescribes is both absurd and inevitable. Meursault remains mysterious, a nonentity perhaps, being irrefutable, unemotional and detached from his sensations, till the conclusion of the story. Meursault’s conflict with “the gentle indifference of the world” continues to be as convincing as it was when the author initially narrated it.


‘The Stranger’ is a tale set in Algeria, in which Meursault is present at his mother’s funeral where to his acknowledgement; he does not convey any sentiments of sadness. Some days prior to the funeral, Meursault had assisted Raymond Sintes, a neighbor, murdering an Arab mistress. Later, when both of them are confronted by the Arab mistress’s brothers on the beach, Meursault fires a bullet at one of them and then shoots the already deceased Arab four additional times. “And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness” (Camus, p. 59).

At the trial proceedings, the prosecuting lawyers try to prove with Meursault’s mother’s funeral in mind that he is desensitized and detached from his emotions, therefore being incompetent of the feeling of remorse of his actions and posing a threat to the people around him. Ultimately, Meursault is sentenced to death and while waiting in his cell to be executed, a chaplain pays him a visit and motivates Meursault to turn to God during his last moments. Yet, Meursault states he only has some modest time left and wishes to not throw it away on God. He as a substitute opens himself “to the gentle indifference of the world . . . so like a brother, really” (Camus, pp. 122-23).

Although this novel narrates tale of fiction, it comprises a powerful character of Camus’s philosophical concept of irrationality. Camus writes in his essays that individual survival and human lives in all-purpose have no coherent meaning or classification. Nonetheless, people try to make rational configuration and purposes of life to satisfy there believes and deject the notion Camus speaks of. Camus uses the term “absurdity” to emphasize on humanity’s point less effort to savage rational explanations where none subsist.

The principles of “absurdity” are present throughout the novel, even if Camus does not openly state the idea of absurdity in ‘The Stranger’. It is evident throughout the tale that Meursault acquires no rational guidelines in the external world in which he lives nor the internal world of his feelings and thoughts. He has no definite or lucid reason for his activities; his decisions o kill the Arab or marry Marie are examples of such actions.

However, society tries to engineer or force explanations based on reason to describe Muesault’s irrational behavior. As the concept of events and actions taking place in the universe for no logical reason disorders and terrorizes the society which is built on the principles of logical explanations. The trial progression in Part 2 of the book symbolizes the way society tries to establish a meaningful order into the trial.

Both the prosecutors and defendants, Meursault’s lawyer, try to bring in commonsensical, motive and the theory of cause and effect to explain the crime Meursault committed. Nevertheless, these proceedings serve no purpose in explaining the crime and rather dole out attempts to resolve the terrorizing concept that the universe and its functions are illogical. The whole trial is an example of how humankind attempts to make sense of the universe which has no reason, meaning or logic by impressing point less calculative methods.

Work Cited:


Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Vintage, United States.  ISBN-10: 0679720200 (1989) Pp 59, 122-123

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