Essay on The Insignificance of Women in Camus’ The Stranger

Essay on The Insignificance of Women in Camus’ The Stranger

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In The Stranger, Camus portrays women as unnecessary beings created purely to serve materialistically and satisfy males through the lack of a deep, meaningful, relationship between Meursault and females. Throughout the text, the main character, Meursault, creates closer, more meaningful relationships with other minor characters in the story. However, in his interactions with females in this book, Meursault’s thoughts and actions center on himself and his physical desires, observations, and feelings, rather than devoting his attention to the actual female. Living in Algiers in the 1960s, Meursault originates from a post-modernist time of the decline in emotion. Meursault simply defies the social expectations and societal ‘rules’, as post-modernists viewed the world. Rather than living as one gear in the ‘machine’ of society, Meursault defies this unwritten law in the lackluster relationships between he and other females, as well as his seemingly blissful eye to society itself. In The Stranger, males, not females, truly bring out the side of Meursault that has the capacity for compassion and a general, mutual feeling relationship. For example, Marie and Meursault’s relationship only demonstrate Meursault’s lack of an emotional appetite for her. Also, with the death of Maman, Meursault remains virtually unchanged in his thoughts and desires.
Throughout the text, Meursault uses Marie simply as a means to an end to satisfy his own ambitions, without very much regard to her own inner feelings and aspirations. “That evening Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said it didn’t make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to. Then she wanted to know if I loved her. I answered the same way I had t...


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...things, the purpose of women remains purely materialistic: to serve and satisfy others and Meursault’s superficial relationships represent this. While Marie truly loved and longed to be with Meursault after their meeting, Meursault did not share the same romantic aura. While he did want a woman’s presence, Meursault did not love Marie past that, just a woman. Not only that, but Maman, while she is a cornerstone in Meursault’s life due to her passing and role during the trial as well, she herself lacks purpose, other than dying. Each one of these points lead us to Camus’ portrayal of women as ultimately unnecessary in the book and only aid in assisting as the catalysts which push the male roles and the main character Meursault, further along throughout the story.



Works Cited

Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Trans. Matthew Ward. New York: Vintage International, 1988.

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