The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Stranger by Albert Camus is a novel that delves into the complexities of human existence and the absurdities of the world we live in. Through the eyes of its protagonist, Meursault, we are taken on a journey of self-discovery and reflection that ultimately leads to a confrontation with the inevitability of death.
The novel opens to the news of Meursault's mother's death. Meursault, emotionally detached and indifferent to the news, attends her funeral with a sense of detachment that puzzles those around him. As the story progresses, we are introduced to Marie, a woman who becomes romantically involved with Meursault, and Raymond, a neighbor who involves Meursault in a violent conflict with a group of Arab men.
The first part of the novel is about Meursault’s mother's death and his subsequent attendance at the funeral. Camus takes his time in building the character of Meursault, painting him as an outsider in society who is emotionally removed from the world around him. Meursault's behavior at his mother's funeral, where he seems uninterested in the proceedings and spends his time observing the people around him, sets the tone for the rest of the novel.
The second part of the novel is about Meursault's budding relationship with Marie and his involvement in a conflict with a group of Arab men. The conflict arises from Raymond's mistreatment of his Arab girlfriend, which leads to a physical altercation with her brother. Meursault is dragged into the conflict, and in a moment of heat and confusion, he kills one of the Arab men. This event sets off a chain reaction that leads to Meursault's arrest and trial.
The third and final part of the novel is about Meursault's trial and eventual sentencing to death. During the trial, Meursault's lack of emotion and indifference to his crime are used against him, and he is ultimately sentenced to death. The trial serves as a commentary on society's need for order and conformity, and how those who fail to meet these expectations are punished.
The murder serves as a metaphor for the absurdity of life, as it symbolizes the random and meaningless nature of existence. Meursault's lack of remorse for his crime, coupled with his detachment from the world around him, highlights the theme of the absurdity of existence. Camus asserts that life is inherently meaningless and devoid of purpose, and that we are all ultimately destined to face the same fate as Meursault.
Overall, The Stranger is a powerful novel that explores the meaning of life and the absurdity of existence. Through Meursault's journey, Camus forces readers to question their own beliefs and values, and to confront the reality of their own mortality. The novel is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers today, and its themes and ideas are as relevant now as they were when the book was first published.