Essay PreviewMore ↓
In Albert Camus’ absurdist novel, The Stranger, Meursault’s detachment from society and his killing of the Arab reveal moral and ethical implications for him and his society. As is common in many absurdist novels, Camus discusses the estrangement - and later development - of an individual in a benign and indifferent universe, one in which conformity prevails. Camus not only satirizes the conformity of society, but religion and the legal system as well. By writing in the first person (from the standpoint of Meursault), he draws in the reader, making the evils of society more prevalent.
The conflict is established at the end of Part I, when Meursault kills an Arab; an action not uncommon in Algiers during this period of social unrest (the 1930’s). He does not do it intentionally, but rather because of the intensity of the moment and the blinding sunlight reflecting off of the Arab’s blade. The fact that Meursault kills an Arab is of little importance in this novel. The jury and the general population despise him because he is different, not because of the murder. Even Meursault’s lawyer predicts that the punishment will be minimal. Throughout the entire trial, the prosecution stresses Meursault’s lifestyle and his indifference to everything. They bring up his mother’s funeral and say that he showed no signs of emotion. To make things worse, he went to a Fernandel comedy and had sex with Marie on the very next day. The prosecutor once states, “...all I see is a monster.”
It is true that Meursault was different from the rest of society. However, he changes throughout the trial and eventually becomes an existentialist hero. This is because he finds meaning in life. It is ironic, though, that he learns to appreciate life after his is effectively over. His apathetic approach to life is made clear from the first page: “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know.” This foreshadows his approach to everything else in the book. His indifference to Maman’s death contrast’s significantly to Salamano’s distress at losing his dog. Many of the characters in this book also function to highlight his qualities through contrast.
At the end of the book, after coming to a realization, Meursault does not want to die and for the first time, he shows emotion. He shakes and screams at the chaplain and says, “It was the first time in my life I wanted to kiss a man,” when Celeste speaks up for him at the trial.
How to Cite this Page
"The Stranger by Albert Camus - Man or Monster?." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Nov 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Empathy makes us human yet not all humans are emphatic, In Albert Camus’ The Stranger a suspiciously apathetic man named Meursault comes to light as a criminal. However Meursault perpetrated a crime of passion, is that not absurd for a negligent man. In a simple view of Meursault life and philosophies the remission of human feelings is evident, and slightly frightening. In the stranger most of the events in the main characters life require an emotional effect, the death of his mother, the engagement to a beautiful woman who loved him deeply, befriending a criminal, and most shockingly the act of homicide.... [tags: Albert Camus, The Stranger ]
1022 words (2.9 pages)
- “Between my straw mattress and the bed planks, I had actually found an old scrap of newspaper, yellow and transparent, half-stuck to the canvas. On it was a news story, the first part of which was missing, but which must have taken place in Czechoslovakia. A man had left a Czech village to seek his fortune. Twenty-five years later, and now rich, he had returned with a wife and a child. His mother was running a hotel with his sister in the village where he’d been born. In order to surprise them, he had left his wife and child at another hotel and gone to see his mother, who didn’t recognize him when he walked in.... [tags: The Stranger, Albert Camus]
1096 words (3.1 pages)
- In The Stranger, Albert Camus characterizes Meursault as a man who focuses on smaller aspects of his life rather than the big picture in order to create an inverted moral standard which makes Meursault an outsider in his own life. Meursault finds lying far more terrible than murder, yet he doesn’t judge people based on their previous actions. He helps a man commit an act of violence against a woman, and though he is an accomplice, he feels no guilt. However, Meursault pushes his emotions away, displacing them into a focus on smaller, more physical aspects of his life, such as noises and the weather.... [tags: The Stranger, Albert Camus]
989 words (2.8 pages)
- In a world where there is no purpose, many worry about following others and fitting the profile of what others want. In the novel The Stranger, written by Albert Camus in 1942, Meursault battles with this very lifestyle. Meursault is a common man who recently lost his mother, he then shows no sadness on the surface. Meursault starts off scared of what others think of him. As he tries to find his purpose in a world where there is not one, he realizes he must stray from the group. Through the development of Meursault, Camus demonstrates the philosophy of absurdism to show how true faith allows people to find purpose.... [tags: Meaning of life, Absurdism, Albert Camus, Anxiety]
2028 words (5.8 pages)
- Albert Camus’s work of fiction, The Stranger, explores the life of a French man known as Meursault after his mother dies of old age. Meursault does not feel grief for his mothers death as he believes that doing so is pointless since he, as well as Camus himself, is an atheist and an existentialist. As such, he doesn’t concern himself with traditional emotions and beliefs and is instead only concerned with the physical world around him and his physical interactions with it. This is best exemplified when comparing the novels opening paragraph, “Maman died today.... [tags: Albert Camus, Stranger, Grief, Existentialism, ]
707 words (2 pages)
- Everyone will die. Meursault’s awareness of death contributes to his nonchalant attitude toward every death he witness or must endure in The Stranger. Death fails to upset Meursault. In The Stranger, Albert Camus emphasizes mortality in order to expose the ignorance humanity has towards the inevitable or unknown end. Camus’s emphasis on time accentuates Meursault’s indifference. This indifference reveals that death occurs inevitably, regardless of time. The first thought that the audience reads, “Maman died today.... [tags: The Stranger, Albert Camus]
970 words (2.8 pages)
- The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is the story of Meursault, a man who cares not for the future, nor the past. He lives without meaning, without rationality, without emotions. On one fateful day at the beach, Meursault shoots and kills an Arab, leading to a chain of events that causes his death. Throughout the judicial process, Albert Camus criticizes the society he lives in and the values it holds. The Stranger is the definitive work on Camus' own thoughts, and the basis of title as the Professor of the Absurd.... [tags: Albert Camus]
1540 words (4.4 pages)
- Albert Camus, born in 1913 was a mastermind in writing French literature. He influenced the minds of a great deal of people by giving the world significant literature including books as The Stranger, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, A happy death and many more. The one that I will be discussing in this paper is the book named, “The Stranger”. The story started with Meursault’s mother’s death. It was a fascinating start with a crucial piece of information with a good attempt of engaging audience.... [tags: Albert Camus, The Stranger, Character]
1200 words (3.4 pages)
- The Stranger, by Albert Camus, begins with Meursault receiving a telegram informing him of his mother's death. He attends the funeral and shows no remorse during it, but he complains about how hot it is. After returning, he goes on a date with Marie Cardona, a former co-worker, and has a sexual relationship with her. The day after he encounters an alleged pimp, Raymond Sintes. Raymond asks Meursault to write a letter to lure his mistress back so he can torment her after he found out she was cheating on him.... [tags: Albert Camus Stranger Analysis]
1619 words (4.6 pages)
- Many people often base their opinions on a person by judging his whole life in general and his attitude towards life without caring about who the person really is deep down inside. This unfair reasoning can occur in the courtroom when people are put on trial and the judge and the jury must delve into the life of the accused and determine if he is a hazard to society. Occasionally, the judge and jury are too concerned with the accused’s past that they become too biased and give an unfair conviction and sentencing.... [tags: Albert Camus Stranger]
974 words (2.8 pages)
Camus again discusses society’s values when talking about the crowds flocking to the executions. This also emphasizes conformity and the alienation of people who are different. At the end of the book, Meursault hopes that a lot of people come to his execution with their burning hatred. At least then they will have found some meaning in life.