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Albert Camus - the Outsider

Essay by   •  December 8, 2015  •  Book/Movie Report  •  324 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,177 Views

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„Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know.” With this two sentences Albert Camus opens his new novel in 1942. Originally named L'Etranger, this novel is translated as “The Stranger” or “The Outsider”.  It narrates about an ordinary clerk named Meursault who lives in Algeria, his lack of emotional responses, and murder trial. Is his crime warranted or is he just another murder who deserves death punishment?

Meursault got a telegram informing him of his mother’s death. He wasn’t overly shocked, as his mother was old and lived in a workhouse. Afterwards, Meursault continued to live his life like nothing happened. Instead of mourning, day after the funeral, he decided to go for a swim and in movies with his new lover Marie. When she asked him if he loves her, Meursault responded cold and told her that love is relative and it doesn’t mean anything. He never lied and that eventually got him into more trouble than he could ever imagine. The second half of the novel follows Meursault who was trapped in a web of chance events magnified by his own failure to behave as expected by society.  He is a “stranger” and an “outsider” in a world where he doesn’t want to display false emotions just because it is expected.

Camus’ style is unique and distinctive. He uses interior monologue and stream of consciousness to describe Meursault and his state of mind. He represents a product of modern lifestyle: aimless, purposeless, materialistic. I like this novel because you can easily relate it with the present. The sense of absurd and recluse way of living with lack of emotions is what we are, unfortunately, facing today.

I would recommend this novel to older teens and up. “The Stranger” is a perfect example of a book that is making you reconsider life and its completion. This novel has underlying message of the irony in life and that makes it very interesting and reflective.



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