Analysis Of The Strangers Look On Life And Death In 'The Stranger'

Satisfactory Essays
Caitlin Conboy
Mr. Silvey
English 4
13 August 2014
p. 6
The Strangers Look on Life and Death
Albert Camus's novel The Stranger is a per fect example of work describing violent acts witnessed by a person telling their story who seems to be completely unaffected by their cruelty. The novel begins with death - "Mamman died today" (3) - and ends with the death of Meursault, the main character. This novel has numerous bloody acts: the premeditated abuse of an ex-girlfriend, cruelty towards a pet dog, a street fight, and a disagreement that ultimately ends with a murder. The Stranger presents a startling look at what it means to be a human, to live, and to have the ability to take another's life. Camus's examples of violence in his novel show the true personality of his characters regarding both death and life.
Camus conveys the view that human existence is without order, and his work criticizes a culture that seeks to find meaning in a meaningless world. Camus reveals two contrasting views of human life: societies and Meursault's. People always attempt to find the reasoning behind questions that merely cannot be answered. In the microcosmic courtroom of Meursault's trial, for example, the jurors and the lawyers continually focus on why Meursault killed the Arab, and why he is so indifferent about his mother's death. "Why?" the judge asks , "You must tell me-why?" (68) Knowing that he can give no right answer, Meursault makes up a crazy explanation to throw off the questioners: "it was because of the sun" (103). If society represents the quest for what is "normal" and "correct", then Meursault stands for the absurd. Meursault is differ...

... middle of paper ...

... and colors: "the fiery air" (58), "dazzling red glare" (56), and "blazing red sand" (53). Camus uses color to take away from the bad emotions and losses of violence and instead distracts us with physical traits. In the end, the audience becomes more engaged with why Meursault does the things he does.
The Stranger tackles huge issues regarding the value of human existence. Camus's use of violence shows his characters’ true colors and looks at life/self-worth. His book helps to look at life differently, how some do, instead of the ideal purposeful and valuable. Yes, this is a disturbing work that spares no costs to deliver a raw and unexpected example of what Camus termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."

[1] Albert Camus, The Stranger, trans. Stuart Gilbert (New York: Vintage Books, 1954). Page numbers refer to a later paperback edition.
Get Access