The Stranger Essay

Submitted By CplOreos
Words: 614
Pages: 3

The Stranger by Albert Camus is a french novel that exemplifies the idea of a mad protagonist. Meursault, the so called madman, is a french man living in North Africa whose conflicting existentialist views with both himself and those around him form the basis for the novel. Meursault’s eccentric behavior puts him peculiar situations and sends him spiraling down the path of murder. One of the most difficult social concepts that Meursault has difficulty grasping is the idea of love. Not only in the sense of compassionate love but compassion but comradery as well. For example, early in the novel Meursault begins a very intimate relationship with a young woman named Maria. After only a few days, she confides in her love for him; however, when Meursault is asked if he feels the same, he cannot provide the same for her. Despite is very obvious infatuation and compassionate feelings, Meursault simply cannot see himself to loving anyone through his existentialist philosophy. An example of comradery would be Meursault’s interactions with Raymond his neighbor. Raymond throughout the novel works to gain Meursault as a friend. He speaks with him, invites him over for dinner, and asks for favors as a friend would. Mersualt, however, has little tangible interest in this kind of relationship. When asked if he would like to be “pals” by Raymond he simply agrees since in his mind there is no reason not to. Rather than having his decision based on interactions and thoughts of Raymond he forms his basis on the ideas of absurdness and authenticity.
Additionally Meursault often lacks or exceeds emotion in his social interactions with people. A primary example would be when Meursault kills the Arab, he doesn’t react emotionally. He is very calm and simply returns to the beach house before he is arrested. At the court, Meursault has a lot of trouble focusing and lets his mind wander. He doesn’t fear for his life or the outcome of the trial and often frustrates his lawyer and the magistrate who are trying to help him. Even at his execution, Meursault still lacks much emotion, only wishing that people will meet him with anger and cries of hate.
In Meursault’s world he is seen as insane. His existentialist view that may not be so foreign to some of our modern philosophy was certainly taboo in