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"The Stranger" World Literature Reading Essay

1918 words - 8 pages

The Stranger World Literature Reading1. Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Trans. Matthew Ward. New York: Random House, Inc., 1989.2. Albert Camus wrote The Stranger. He was born on November 7, 1913, in Algeria, and he died on January 4, 1940, in an automobile accident. His itinerant agricultural laboring father died in World War II in the Battle of Marne. His illiterate charwoman mother soon suffered from a stroke after her husband's death, permanently impairing her speech. While growing up, Camus suffered from tuberculosis ending his athletics participation. A lycée scholarship gave him the opportunity to study from 1924 to 1932. He held various jobs working for places such as the weather bureau and automobile accessory firm. He lived in a house with his mother, brother, maternal grandmother, and paralyzed uncle. Poverty and illness plagued Camus and appeared in The Stranger. Camus became a political journalist writing in an anti-colonialist newspaper and for the anti-German resistance movement. Later, he edited the Combat, an important underground newspaper. During World War II while in Paris, he developed and coined his philosophy of "the absurd" life having no true meaning. A large influence on him and his writing was World War II with Hitler and the Nazis slaughtering millions of people during the war. Numerous aspects of Camus's life drove his writing toward the morbid.3. The main character in The Stranger is Meursault. Meursault shows no emotional connection to the world around him. He is a solitary figure. In the beginning of the novel, his mother dies, and he shows no remorse. He does not want to view his mother's dead body and smokes in front of her body. The environment around Meursault affects him the most. Often times he escapes from the real world because of the heat, and his personal comfort fully encompasses his mind. He repeatedly reacts before he thinks.Meursault does not seem to be a realistic character because of his irrational extreme of apathy. Even the first line displays Meursault's apathy when he proclaims, "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know" (Camus 3). Throughout the novel situations surrounding Meursault reveal his obvious nature. His reactions to his environment reoccur frequently, which correspond with his lack of attention to emotional situations.4. The main setting of the novel transpires in Algeria before World War II around 1942. The main portion of the novel takes place in the city, on the beach and finally in prison. The streets of the city seemed barren except "... the shopkeepers and the cats" and "...the waiter ... sweeping up the sawdust in the deserted restaurant inside" (Camus 22). The lack of the contiguous activity and monotony of the environment generate the assumption that the novel happens in a poor city. The setting of the novel affects the characters by placing gloom upon their lives. The characters never...

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