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The Stranger by Albert Camus


The stranger
Why can’t he just play the game?
Why can’t he just lie about his actions and emotions?

To have a clear understanding about this stranger we must pay attention to what was written by the Author, Camus, in the preface to the American edition of The Stranger:

I summarized The Stranger—a long time ago, with a remark that I admit was highly paradoxical: “In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.” I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game. In this respect, he is foreign to the society in which he lives; he wanders, on the fringe, in the suburbs of private, solitary, sensual life. And this is why some readers have been tempted to look upon him as a piece of social wreckage. A much more accurate idea of the character, at least one much closer to the author’s intentions, will emerge if one asks just how Meursault doesn’t play the game. The reply is a simple one: he refuses to lie. To lie is not only to say more than is true, and, as far as the human heart is concerned, to express more than one feels. This is what we all do, every day, to simplify life. He says what he is, he refuses to hide his feelings, and immediately society feels threatened.”

The main protagonist, the stranger of the tale, is a stranger to himself, as well as society, and the opinions of others, he is carved from an author with nihilistic, individualism, and existentialism
at heart.
We are put in the shoes of this one man, taken into his psychological unravelling of day’s events, on loss of his mother and murder of an Arab, the author has you hooked in the narrative, with lucid prose, in the thick of the ramifications and implications on his self, those of his actions and the factors in play around him.

The author seems In some ways wants the main protagonist viewed as an innocent man, condemned by a guilty people, rebel against the norm but exceeding in certain attributes.
Something more complexed afoot in the narrative, take note of the Sun as a metaphor, also how at different times of the day its connected to certain actions.


“As if my great outburst of anger had purged me of evil, emptied now of all hope, face to face with a night heavy with signs and stars, I abandoned myself to the tender indifference of the world. Feeling it . . . so fraternal at last, I knew I had been happy, and that I was still happy. So that all might be consummated, so that I might feel less alone, all that was left for me to wish was that there should be many specta- tors the day of my execution and that they should greet me with cries of hatred.”

“Smells of the night, earth, and salt air were cooling my temples. The wondrous peace of that sleeping summer flowed through me like a tide. Then, in the dark hour before dawn, sirens blasted. They were announcing departures for a world that now and forever meant nothing to me. For the first time in a long time I thought about Maman. I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she had taken a ‘fiancé’, why she had played at beginning again. Even there, in that home where lives were fading out, evening was a kind of wistful respite. So close to death, Maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all again. Nobody, nobody had the right to cry over her. And I felt ready to live it all again too. As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.”