Crime and Punishment vs. The Stranger Essay

Crime and Punishment vs. The Stranger Essay

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Throughout the novels Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Stranger by Albert Camus, sun, heat, and light play a significant role in the development and understanding of the novel and the characters in it. Upon the initial reading of The Stranger, the reader may have a general acknowledgment of a relationship between the novel’s protagonist, Mersault, and the sun and heat, either proceeding or following one of the novels significant events. What is harder to understand on the first read, is the reason why this is important and what it means. On the opposite side of the field is Crime and Punishment. The imagery relating to weather and heat have an obvious connotation and importance, as they generally appear before an important event, but the aspect of the novels setting has a different importance. As author Thomas Foster declares in his reading guide How to Read Literature Like a Professor, “weather is never just weather. It’s never just rain. And that goes for snow, sun, warmth, cold and probably sleet,” (75). Regarding these two novels, sun and heat are never just sun and heat, but hold a particular implication that some readers are able to disregard. Whereas The Stranger’s BLANK concerning the sun and its incredible heat can be tied to Meursault’s impaired judgment, the sun in Crime and Punishment can be connected to Raskolnikov’s gradual downfall into insanity, weakening his judgment and reducing his patience.
Because the sun plays a crucial and symbolic role in both Crime and Punishment and The Stranger, the significance and relationship within each of the protagonists in the novel is partially similar. Within both novels, during heat spells, both characters become incredibly confuse and frazzled. Often their...


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... going [. . .] All he knew, all he felt was that everything must be changed “one way or another,” he repeated with desperate and immovable self-confidence and determination” (156 – 157). This quote references the idea that if Raskolnikov and his obsessive willpower were to be left unchecked, he would eventually be driven to insanity. This is the difference that separates the two protagonists and their relationships with the sun.
Devoid of the important similarity of sun and heat imagery, the reader lacks crucial information in regards to the analysis and characterization of the protagonists in Crime and Punishment and The Stranger. While both of the main characters are greatly affected by heat and environment, Raskolnikov’s uncertain and easily pressured personality and Meursault’s hatred of love is what enhances the differences between the two protagonists.

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