The Stranger and The Guest Essays

The Stranger and The Guest Essays

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French playwright Albert Camus once said, “Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” In The Stranger and The Guest the overarching theme that those who do not conform to typical societal values and do not adequately relate to others are appraised as a threat to society as a whole. In both works the protagonists isolate themselves, and society isolates them because of their non-conforming beliefs.

Both Daru and Meursault are not able to accept the abstract ideals of society, and prefer isolation. For them relating to the physical world is much easier to relate to because it is concrete and definite, rather than the ambiguity of the moral ideals held by society. As a result of this objection to society they become indifferent and detached from societal expectations, intern this allows both protagonists to defy the rules of society, and expunge their innate flaws. In the Guest, Daru constantly observes the landscape, especially the sun and the snow on the rocky, empty plateau. Daru discusses the burning of the sun “the earth shriveled up little by little, literally scorched every stone bursting into dust under one’s foot” (Guest 304). Despite the debilitating drought, followed by unhelpful snow around home, Daru does not complain, but instead observes and respects the landscape for being his only home. Daru does not associate his home with family or friends, rather with the physical qualities of it. The schoolmaster is like “a monk in his remote schoolhouse, nonetheless satisfied with the little he had and with the rough life” (Guest 304). Even though he is isolated and lives in a secluded area, he enjoys the quiet and solitude in which he is liberated from being at a close proximity to s...

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...ecause he believes that society’s laws are flawed.
Meursault and Daru are both considered outsiders of society because they are not able to understand the other characters in the story. This is because each character represents an aspect of society, like Balducci in the Guest, and everyone in the courtroom in The Stranger represents the law and justice system. Camus uses the actions and words of seemingly unimportant characters to allude to the flaws and problems of society. In both works of Camus, the protagonists view the other characters in the story from an outsider view, allowing for a new perspective in which society and its problems can be assessed by the reader. By making the protagonists detached from society, one can truly see the underlying issues within society. That is why the isolation and alienation of Meursault and Daru are crucial in Camus’ works.

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