The Stranger By Albert Camus: Character Analysis

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In The Stranger by Albert Camus, the main character, Meursault, struggles to conform to the societal norms that are expected of him due to him being an absurdist. Absurdism is based on the idea that the universe has no order or meaning and that humanity’s search for meaning to the universe is fundamentally futile. As an absurdist, Meursault views society’s standards and rules as unnecessary and pointless and because of this belief, he does not grieve after losing his mother because he feels it to be unnecessary. His lack of grief, however, contrasts with his neighbor, Salamano’s, intense grief after losing his dog on the street despite having a poor and relationship with his dog. Salamano’s grief represents the societal norms of grieving, and…show more content…
While discussing his dog’s fate with Meursault, Salamano becomes the very emotional saying, “They won’t really take him from me, will they, Monsieur Meursault? Surely they wouldn’t do a thing like that. If they do—I don’t know what will become of me.” (Camus 39). Salamano’s dialogue in this quote demonstrates the idea that one of his loved ones would soon be taken from him and is a standard response that any person would make despite the impression that he gives that he hates the dog. His response demonstrates the societal belief that when losing someone close to you, you should experience grief. However, his panic and sadness contrast with Meursault’s calm demeanor when discussing his mother’s departure to the home with the funeral director. Camus describes the interaction saying, “Then he asked if the parting hadn’t caused me distress. I explained that neither Mother nor I expected much of one another—or, for that matter, of anybody else; so both of us had got used to the new conditions easily enough.” (Camus 88). Using the dialogue between the funeral director and Meursault, Camus demonstrates that Meursault does not feel any distress at his mother leaving because he did not even have…show more content…
While discussing what Salamano should do after he loses his dog, Meursault suggests to Salamano that he should just get a new dog. Salamano responds very contrary to this suggestion arguing that getting a new do would be pointless because “he’d become used to this one, and it wouldn’t be the same thing” (Camus 44). Salamano’s loving tone in this quote demonstrates that his dog is unique to him, and therefore no other dog could replace it. This belief corresponds with society’s standard that love means appreciating someone or something uniquely for who or what they are. Meursault challenges this standard when asked by the prosecutor if he loved his mother. Camus describes the scene saying, “He began by asking bluntly if I’d loved my mother. ‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘the same as anyone.’” (Camus 67). Meursault uses an indifferent tone when speaking about his mother as he does not differentiate his love for his mother from anyone else and does not believe that he loved her in a unique way like Salamano loved his dog. To Meursault, his mother is replaceable because he loves her the same as any other person due to being an absurdist. This contrast with Salamano’s attitude towards getting another dog because he feels as though it is impossible for him to love another dog like he loved his previous one. Camus develops Meursault as an
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