An esaay evaluating and explaining symbolism and rhetoric devices used in the novel The Stranger

Essay by sexybody69High School, 12th gradeA, May 2002

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In Albert Camus' absurdist novel, The Stranger, Meursault's detachment from society and his killing of the Arab reveal moral and ethical implications for him and his society. As is common in many absurdist novels, Camus discusses the estrangement - and later development - of an individual in a benign and indifferent universe, one in which conformity prevails. Camus not only satirizes the conformity of society, but religion and the legal system as well. By writing in the first person (from the standpoint of Meursault), he draws in the reader, making the evils of society more prevalent. The sun, I believe marks Meursalts journey and emotions; both of these ideas affect the characterization and theme of the novel.

At the end of Part I, Meursault kills an Arab; an action not uncommon in Algiers during this period of social unrest (the 1930's). He does not do it intentionally, but rather because of the intensity of the moment and the blinding sunlight reflecting off of the Arab's blade.

The sun at the beach, similar to the sun at his mother's funeral, was beating down on him. Sweat trickled down his face; the scene began to reel as his vision blurred. The sun represents to Meursault emotions, which he cannot deal with. Likewise, he cannot deal with the intense heat, the light reflected off the Arab's knife which seems to stab at him. Meursault's finely tuned senses are being overwhelmed, and the only way to handle the situation is to end it - so he fires the gun. We see the Arab sinking into the sand, as four more bullets lodge inside and disappear. The spell is broken.

The fact that Meursault kills an Arab is of little importance in this novel. The jury and the general population despise...