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The Stranger Book Review

1191 words - 5 pages

There aren't many things in this world that bother me that I do twice; simple things of course, such as watching a specific movie, going to a particular club, or reading a particularly disheartening book. That is why I was surprised in myself for picking up "an old classic" which I read in high school two years ago. Shamefully though, during my second read I found myself actually understanding the underlying statement on life being made by the author.

        I must admit that during and after my first read of The Stranger in 11th grade I was disgusted in the fact that a teacher (whom I particularly liked) had just forced me to read such a worthless book that I (nor any of my buddies) could not understand its value. It was depressing, it completely lacked a plot, and it was obviously written by an apathetic Frenchman. Of course, as one may imagine, a couple weeks of discussion on existentialism followed, unwelcome I'd say. After reading this book I was so disgusted with this new concept that I did not even allow myself to try to understand it.

        Two years of mental maturation later, I understand. I understand the absurd. How absurd! Hence, it is now that I will give you Majid Vasigh's second edition literary evaluation of this book, saving you the relative childishness of the first. I will first start with a briefing on Albert Camus himself, then a quick synopsis of the so-called plot, semi-concluding with the ideas of existentialism and the absurd. After which I will conclude with my twisted perception and opinion of the two aforementioned schools of thought: our lives are absurd and that what we do during our existence will pale in comparison to our nothingness after death

        Throughout all his works and philosophies, we must remember that Albert Camus is not a religious man. He believes there is no God. And in my opinion, for good reason. This is a man whose father was killed during World War I. His mother who was deaf, and who according to Camus was rather "boring and joyless," raised him. They were poor and probably unhappy in the symbolic and physical heat of French North Africa. It is easy for one who has nothing and whose father was taken from him and whose mother was deaf and poor to believe in the inexistence of God. Why would God make someone's life so miserable? But Albert's early years were just as tough as his middle years, where he was constantly in poverty and between jobs until he finally got married, began teaching, and began writing his masterpieces"”one of which is The Stranger (Christian 116).

        The Stranger opens with two often quoted and easily interpretable lines uttered by the main character and narrator, Mersault: "Maman died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure," (Camus 1). This is just a taste of the rest to come. Mersault is shipping clerk who considers everything insignificant. He is indifferent to any and all choices he is asked to make and is content on...

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