The Stranger And The Guest Essay

2025 words - 8 pages

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 society. This village in the plateau is where he was born; the region is “cruel to live in, even without men – who didn’t help matters anyway” (Guest 304). Although he lives in these harsh conditions, the land is all he knows. Everything else is foreign and unfamiliar to him. He is happy to be away from society and its influence. “The solitude and the silence had been hard for him on these wastelands peopled only by stones” (Guest 308). The stones symbolize the solitude from men and society as a whole because the inanimate stones are Daru’s only companions. He is surrounded by the stones and the quiet landscape, free from the hate and judgment by society. The stones represent Daru’s physical and mental remoteness from society. Daru is unwilling to conform to the laws of society. Later in the story Daru observes, “For days, still, the unchanging sky would shed its dry light in the solitary expanse where nothing had any connection with man” (Guest 306). Daru is physically isolated from society, but through this, he has freedom since the physical in the universe is indifferent to Daru’s actions and decisions. The natural landscape alienates him from communication with mankind which pleases him because he does not care to be...

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