The Stranger was a fascinating book with a simple plot revolving around an average man. The protagonist and first person narrator was a man by the name of Meursault, a French man with little to no personal feeling about anything. He went about his life like an empty husk, shifting from one place to another. He felt no grief, sadness or even regret after his mother died; he only felt the physical inconvenience of sitting through the funeral and the heat of the sun during the funeral procession to the cemetery. Before and after the funeral, he more or less wandered with no direction. He went to work and performed day to day activities with the same apathetic disregard. He eventually went to a gathering down at the beach where he murdered a man that had been following his friend. He is sent to prison for the murder where he maintains the same detached indifference that he exhibited during the funeral. The lawyers hoped that he would plead self-defense, but he simply related the facts ...view middle of the document...
None of them could figure it out because it was something deep in his soul that even he was unaware of. He simply went through the motions. This is interesting because it’s almost a necessity for people to perform actions based on a conscious thought. Meursault simply did it without considering possible consequences.
The chapter where the magistrate pulls out a silver crucifix and asks Meursault if he believed in God was symbolism to Christianity and also represents the Afterlife, which is what a rational person believes in; however that is not the case with Meursault as he stated “I said that I didn’t believe in God” (Camus 116). The crucifix represents everything that Meursault does not believe in. He rejected it twice, first from the magistrate judge and then from the chaplain.
I also thought that Camus used the sun as the symbolism in this novel; depending on its intensity, the sun either makes Meursault sleepy, angry, happy, or resentful. It seemed to be a recurring thought throughout the story as shown in this example: “The sun was starting to burn my cheeks, and I could feel drops of sweat gathering in my eyebrows” (Camus 58). Camus didn’t provide a background story for Meursault in terms of trauma or something along those lines that explain his apathetic demeanor. The dramatic shift in pace was too sudden considering how slow the book had started off. The murder was totally unexpected and unexplainable.
The book was better than what I initially expected after reading the first chapter. It had my attention through its entirety, especially after the murder. I was eager to continue reading to see what would happen; to see if he would break down and defend himself.
I personally enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to see the world through a set of unbiased eyes. Meursault’s uncompromising lack of emotion allows a very accurate description of all the events throughout the book and reflects the absurdity of Camus’ upbringing and his life. The description of each character introduced that had any meaning to the story was efficient in providing a mental image of the character. The erratic actions of Meursault throughout the story leaves the reader guessing and compels them to read even more to find out what he’s going to do next.