The Stranger By Albert Camus Research Paper

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Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger is the tale of a young man Meursault whose indifference to societal norms leads him to public scrutiny. In The Stranger, Meursault encounters death from various angles: once through his mother’s death, once as a murderer, and lastly once as a person awaiting execution. Death serves as the catalyst to Meursault’s understanding of life. Through Meursault’s various encounters with death, Camus illustrates death as the inescapable equalizer that life meaningless. As Camus depicts it, death is, in both the common and philosophical sense, absurd. Meursault, however, is indifferent to death, as he realizes its absurd nature. He does not even see the significance of his own mother’s death, nonchalantly remarking …show more content…

Maman, an old woman who already went through the full course of life, dies. Salamano’s small raggy dog dies. The Arab, a bit vengeful and violent, dies. Meursault, an apathetic murderer, will die. Meursault committed a senseless murder. Meursault’s murder of the man was neither premeditated nor did it have a real motive. Even after Meursault kills the man, he “fired four more times at the motionless body” (Camus 58), with no reason to do so. And both the absurd murderer and his victim meet the same fate: death. Death is by nature inescapable. Camus asserts, through Meursault’s thoughts, that death was the only certain aspect of life: “I was sure about me, about everything, surer than he could ever be, sure about me, sure of my life and sure of the death I had waiting for me” (Camus 120). As he faces execution, Meursault finally recognizes the significance of death. He, for the first time in the story, sees the importance of something other than a physical sensation. He wonders to himself, “How had I not seen that there was nothing more important than an execution, and that when you come right down to it, it was the only thing a man could truly be interested in?” (Camus 110) Meursault finally reaches the absurdist view on death that Camus conveys. Death is ironically the only event of significance in life because it is the certain …show more content…

Meursault especially mulls on this thought during his imprisonment. He realizes how lives are simply meaningless, knowing that “it doesn’t matter whether you die at thirty or at seventy, since in either case other other men and women go on living—and for thousands of years” (Camus 114). Because no single life is important enough to stop the rest of the other lives on earth, no single life matters. Another part of Meursault’s revelation is that nothing he did in life mattered: “I had lived my life one way and I could just as well have lived it another. I had done this and I hadn’t done another. And so? It was as if I had waited all this time for this moment and for the first light of this dawn to be vindicated. Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why. So did he. Throughout the whole absurd life I’d lived, a dark wind had been rising toward me from somewhere deep in my future, across years that were still to come, and as it passed, this wind leveled whatever was offered to me at the time, in years no more real than the ones I was living.” (Camus

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