Themes Of The Stranger Essay

1834 words - 8 pages

Is there any logical meaning of living? Is life worth living? These are the main questions that Albert Camus attempts to answer throughout the novel The Stranger. Albert Camus is a French-born Algerian who lived through the conflict between the French and the Algerians in the mid 20th century which later erupted into a formal war. Camus won nobel prizes for his writing, which delineates many philosophical ideas. Meursault, the main protagonist of the novel, lives life as a physical being and shows little to no emotions towards events that are happening around him. Camus's ideas that are presented in this novel not only reflect his absurdist and existentialist views, but furthermore it also ...view middle of the document...

” (Camus 46) In this scene, Meursault couldn’t stand when he was facing the sun and feel the pain. As a solution, he took a step forward even though he knew that it wouldn’t help him to get rid of the sun light. It wasn’t intentional, the situation just compelled him to take the step. This is what Camus describes as an absurdity. Another example for this is: ”The utter pointlessness of whatever I was doing there seized me by the throat, and all I wanted was to get it over with and get back to my cell and sleep." (Camus 100) This is a quote of Meursault, while he was in the trial and doesn’t take the trial seriously. He didn’t have any desire to win the case and survive. This shows the absurdity inside Meursault himself. Lastly, in the ending part of the book, there is a quote saying: “As if that blind rage has washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, I that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much life myself – so like a brother, really – I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.” (Camus 119)
Throughout The Stranger, the physical world affects Meursault more than his emotions, logic, and morals, and also foreshadows upcoming events. Throughout the book we realize that he lets the sun influence his very manner. During his mothers funeral he shows no sympathy or emotion, he just relentlessly lists details about the physical world. Later on in the book, on the hot sandy beach, the sun causes him again not to feel any emotions about death, this foreshadows his murder. He was asked by the prosecutor in the court why he killed the man on the beach and he said, “Fumbling a little with my words and realizing how ridiculous I sounded, I butted out that it was because of the sun.” (Camus 98) We can see how it foreshadows events in the stories, and how the physical world influences him deeply. “I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings.” (Camus 63). Physical needs consistently exceed emotions in the books importance, he allows the physical world to get in the way of his emotions, just like a robot. This connects to how there is no higher power in the world, we just live to live as physical beings, it portrays existentialism.
To put it concretely, the physical world in The Stranger, it shows that the physical aspects affect Meursault’s actions rather than his emotional and logical thoughts on seeing the world. In the book, there are motifs which show how the physical world has affected the book. These motifs used in the book is closely related to the Meursault’s feelings and actions. As we read through the book, the temperature, colors, and other kinds of adjectives were pointed out a lot which show the...

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