The Sun Motif in "The Stranger" by Albert Camus.

Essay by ddarlingxnikkiiHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2006

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The sun becomes one of the most important motifs in Albert Camus' "The Stranger". The imagery Camus uses when describing the sun sets the stage for the climax of Mersault's murder of the Arab. More than anything the sun is depicted as a distraction to Mersault. It causes him to do things he would not normally do and clouds his judgement, causing him to commit a serious crime which will cause his own death. The sun is in a way a representation of the constraints society places upon Mersault. The effect the sun has on Mersault that results in death is a parallel to the effect of society on Mersault, which also results in death.

In the pages leading up to the murder of the Arab, the sun is the driving force of Mersault's actions. "The sun glinted off Raymond's gun" (56) when Mersault took it from him on the beach.

"We stood there motionless, as if everything had closed in around us" (56). This gives the reader a sense of foreboding and the first glimpse that the sun will play an important part, along with the gun, in the rest of the chapter. The sun and its heat cause Mersault to decide to continue walking on the beach rather than ascend the steps of the bungalow. Though he says the sun was "making it hard for me to go on" (57), Mersault continues walking on the beach towards the spring, where he anticipates being able to cool off.

The murder scene itself is rich in solar imagery and the sun is depicted as the cause of the murder. "It was the same sun, the same light still shining on the same sand as before" (58). This quote suggests that the tension that existed...