The Topic of Defiance of Societal Rules in The Stranger Through Absurdism

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All societies have societal norms and rules that citizens are expected to follow. Those who don’t, are either labeled as defiant or as a non conformist. One who defies societal rules doesn’t necessarily disobey deliberately, but rather because one’s own beliefs don't parallel. In the novel The Stranger by Albert Camus there is a prevalence of characters breaking societal rules, but as a result these characters face the consequences. Albert Camus connects these actions to the overarching themes of the books in order to convey his message more effectively. To what extent does the topic of defiance of societal rules in The Stranger convey the theme of Absurdism in the novel? The sub-themes of femininity, individuality, and isolation connect to the overarching theme of absurdism as an acceptable way to live life.

Albert Camus conveys the idea of Absurdism throughout the novel through the main characters. The Stranger is written from the perspective of Meursault, a young male with an absurdist mind-set. From the beginning of the novel his indifference to life and detachment to relationships are presented from the first page. The novel begins with the death of his mother. For any normal spawn of society, a significant event such as this would be tragic and have a grand impact on the individual. But this doesn’t exactly apply to Meursault. Because of his general indifference to life, no negative emotions are elicited directly from the death of his mother. Rather, Meursault remains content, not phased by his own mother’s death. In fact after his mother’s funeral he would “swim the next day – with a woman” (Camus, 14) and ends up bringing her home with him. The subsequent action of going to the beach with a woman display his lack of n...

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...cts to what the characters believe to be morally correct. And as a result they feel that they actions they and the way they life is an acceptable one. Neither Mearsult nor Raymond suggest that their actions aret proper. Although, Raymond does sees his actions as justifiable when in actuality they aren’t. On the other hand Meursault never once suggest that what he has done is defiant, until he is accused as a criminal and tried in court. Albert Camus utilizes the sub-themes of isolation, femininity and individuality to provide the reader with a better understanding of the message. This is seen through the expressions and emotions that the characters feel after particular actions, regardless of the fact that the crossed many societal rules that were placed.

Works Cited

Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Trans. Matthew Ward. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988. Boo

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