The Stranger Essay

The Stranger Essay

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The Stranger

The Stranger exhibits a society that has confined itself with a
specific set of social standards that dictate the manner in which
people are supposed to act. This ideology determines the level of
morality, and how much emphasis should placed on following this
certain "ethical" structure. Albert Camus's main character, Meursault,
is depicted as a nonconformist that is unwilling to play society's
game. Through Meursault's failure to comply with society's values and
conform to the norm, he is rejected and also condemned to death by
society. He is tried for the crime of murder, but is not judged solely
on his actions during the aforementioned crime. He is judged on his
specific actions that society regards as absurd according to its
social standards. Meursault's different outlook on life differentiates
him from the society around him, and as a result, he is deemed a
threat to society's moral standard. He is unwilling to relinquish his
philosophy and subsequently is convicted due to his inability to
conform as society intends.

"Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know." Meursault's
character is unable to physically express emotion regarding any
situation. Even through the first person narrative that Camus employs,
the reader is unable to get a grasp as to Meursault's personal
feelings regarding certain events in the novel. The event of his
mother's death seems to have no effect on Meursault. He is neither
saddened nor overjoyed by the news of his mother's death. During the
funeral, he is unable to show any emotion, and gives the reader no
insight as to what he is thinking or feeling. The fact that he did not
cry and the fact that he did not pay his respects comes back to haunt
Meurs...


... middle of paper ...


...ble and
unknown.

The Stranger reveals the condemnation of man who was unwilling to
conform to the norm of Algerian society. His unconventional philosophy
concerning life made him an outcast and used as a scapegoat for
society's failure to uphold its own moral standard. It is the fear of
Meursault's ideology that condemns him. It is the fear that his
ideology would affect others from conforming to society's standard
that convicts him and sentences him to death. Society had to eradicate
any threat that might hinder conformity. Meursault refuses to become
another robot of society and adhere to the commonalities that occur in
society. Meursault had to live his life according to his ideology not
that of society. Only by realizing the absurdity of life does
Meursault truly live a fulfilled existence. "I felt that I had been
happy and that I was happy again."

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