"The Stranger" by Albert Camus: Research Paper

Essay by mxpx8990High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2006

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Imagine a man so absurd, yet so in tune with himself that he does not go through the motions of life for anyone. This man has been brought to life in The Stranger by Albert Camus. The story takes place in a costal town of Algeria. The main character is named Meursault. He is an ordinary office clerk with no real aspirations of progress, love, or greatness. He does not have any false emotions and does not do anything to please people. He did not even cry or feel bad at his own mother's funeral because that is not the way that he felt. He would rather complain about not having a fresh towel to dry his hands with than realize the importance in the fact that he received a promotion to a job in Paris. This lack of fake feelings should lead to a more honest life, but it ultimately causes his downfall.

Meursault is also an absurd character. Some of his actions and beliefs are so strange that the reader is almost forced in to not liking him. Camus uses the character of Meursault to illustrate the absurdness, yet affirm the value of life.

The trouble Meursault gets in shows how absurd he really is. The absurdity of life can then be seen juxtaposed to his predicament. "According to standards by which he had conducted his life, there is no basis for his arrest. He had based his actions on complete indifference to everything except physical sensations; and projecting this philosophy to the extreme, he saw no difference between firing and not firing the shots into the body of the Arab" (Rhein 35). At the beginning of the second half of the novel Meursault is put on trial for shooting an Arab man to death for...