Throughout the novels Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Stranger by Albert Camus, sun, heat, and light play a significant role in the development and understanding of the novel and the characters in it. Upon the initial reading of The Stranger, the reader may have a general acknowledgment of a relationship between the novel’s protagonist, Mersault, and the sun and heat, either proceeding or following one of the novels significant events. What is harder to understand on the first read, is the reason why this is important and what it means. On the opposite side of the field is Crime and Punishment. The imagery relating to weather and heat have an obvious connotation and importance, as they generally appear before an important event, but the aspect of the novels setting has a different importance. As author Thomas Foster declares in his reading guide How to Read Literature Like a Professor, “weather is never just weather. It’s never just rain. And that goes for snow, sun, warmth, cold and probably sleet,” (75). Regarding these two novels, sun and heat are never just sun and heat, but hold a particular implication that some readers are able to disregard. Whereas The Stranger’s BLANK concerning the sun and its incredible heat can be tied to Meursault’s impaired judgment, the sun in Crime and Punishment can be connected to Raskolnikov’s gradual downfall into insanity, weakening his judgment and reducing his patience.
Because the sun plays a crucial and symbolic role in both Crime and Punishment and The Stranger, the significance and relationship within each of the protagonists in the novel is partially similar. Within both novels, during heat spells, both characters become incredibly confuse and frazzled. Often their judgment is clouded, and because of this, they tend to act upon emotions that they generally would not. One of the most noteworthy and climactic event in The Stranger is when Meursault meets the Arab on the beach.
“The Arab drew his knife and held it up to me in the sun. The light shot off the steel and it was like a long flashing blade cutting at my forehead. At the same instant the sweat in my eyebrows dripped down over my eyelids all at once and covered them with a warm, thick film. My eyes were blinded behind the curtain of tears and salt. All I could feel were the cymbals of sunlight crashing on my forehead and, indistinctly, the dazzling spear flying up from the knife in front of me. The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes. That’s when everything began to reel. The sea carried up a thick, fiery breath. It seemed to me as if the sky split open from one end to the other to rain down fire. My whole being tensed and I squeeze my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave.” (Camus 59)
The sun plays an incredibly significant role in this paragraph, for it is the instigator and beginning of the conflict. Because of this heat, Meursault’s judgment is clouded and he makes a rash...