The Stranger By Albert Camus Essay

The Stranger By Albert Camus Essay

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Albert Camus is a skillful writer noted for showing aspects of culture and society through the depiction of his characters. In The Stranger, Camus illustrates the existentialism culture and how that comes into play in the life of the protagonist Meursault. The Stranger, as suggested by the title, is a novel revolving around the protagonist, Meursault, who is a stranger to the French-Algerian society as he challenges its values. Camus vividly portrays Meursault’s journey through the use of imagery, irony, and symbolism. In The Stranger, Albert Camus uses the minor character, Raymond Sintes, to illustrate the contrasting nature of Meursault and how his friendship with Raymond leads to his downfall.
Camus introduces Raymond Sintes in chapter 3 of part 1 of The Stranger. When Camus says that Raymond “lives off women” and is a “warehouse guard” (28), he sets forth the idea that Raymond is a womanizer, but also respectable because of his credible job. Through the use of visual imagery, Camus explores the questionable upper class nature of Raymond. “He’s a little on the short side, with broad shoulders and a nose like a boxer’s. He always dresses sharp” (28). Camus’ choice of diction suggests favourable aspects of Raymond: “Broad” expressing Raymond’s masculinity; “Nose like a boxer’s” showing how he is strong and determined; and “Sharp” connoting wealth, respectability, intelligence, and maturity. Camus creates an image of a man who is worthy of following. The first impression Raymond makes on Meursault leads to their friendship.
Throughout the novel, it is evident that Raymond and Meursault have contrasting perspectives. For instance, in the following scene Raymond asks Meursault’s opinion about Salamano, “‘if that isn’t pitiful!’ He...


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...Raymond shows loyalty towards Meursault. He says that the Arabs hated him and Meursault was there by chance. This scene is important because it shows how everything that occurred was indirectly caused by Raymond and Meursault’s friendship under the pretense of “chance.”
In Camus’ The Stranger, the use of the minor character Raymond helps illustrate the absurd nature of Meursault. Through imagery, dialogue, and irony, the novel investigates the moral decisions Meursault makes under Raymond’s influence. The constant tactical bribery and other forms of manipulation steer Meursault’s writing of the letter that leads to him killing the Arab and ultimately receiving the death penalty. Camus uses Raymond to highlight the cultural and societal values. In addition, through Raymond’s help, Meursault ends up in jail where he finally realizes the theme that life is meaningless.

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