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The Stranger Essay, Research Paper

Camus entitled his novel The Stranger because his protagonist actually was a stranger to

both his associates and his surroundings. Monsieur Meursault was never really known by

anyone. Nobody ever knew what really made Meursault tick and nobody ever really

knew what motivated him. Meursault was a wanderer throughout his life. Meursault was

also a stranger because he did not understand other people?s motivations either.

Meursault formed relationships easily enough and interacted with others. But, it

was obvious that Meursault interacted in these relationships the way other people

expected him to. For example, when Meursault invited Salamano into his house, he

eventually became bored with Salamano. ?He was getting on my nerves a little, but I

didn?t have anything to do and I didn?t feel sleepy. Just for something to say, I asked him

about his dog? (Camus, 44). This and other thoughts reveal quite a bit about Meursault.

Meursault is brutally honest with himself. He is, however, polite. Despite not

really wanting to talk with Salamano, Meursault asks him about his lost dog. The

conversation continues and Meursault reveals another thought that tells the reader he is

talking only to please Salamano: ?I said he (the dog) was well bred and Salamano looked

pleased? (Camus, 45). Here, the reader sees that Meursault notices that he is doing well

in the conversation and he takes note of it.

Meursault is also very distant from everyone he meets and interacts with. He was

distant at his mother?s funeral and he was distant with Marie and he was distant with the

police both times he was questioned. At Maman?s funeral, Meursault paid more attention

to his surroundings, the nurse with the bandaged face, the bright sunlight and the

caretaker than he did his mother?s body. He did not even enter a time of mourning.

Meursault did not want to look at his mother or have the casket opened. Instead, he drank

coffee and smoked cigarettes. This proves Meursault?s distance from his mother.

Meursault also is distant with the woman who eventually should become his fiancee. He

enjoys Marie?s company. But, it seems like her enjoys her as a woman rather than as an

individual. Marie?s breasts seem to be Meursault favorite part about her.

Meursault is also distant when dealing with the police. It appears as if he is

watching himself deal with other people while outside of his own body. He reports the

lawyers? and judge?s questioning matter of factly and stoically. One passage that involves

the courtroom and the variety of people in it, shows how alone Meursault really was: ?I

noticed then that everyone was waving and exchanging greetings and talking, as if they

were in a club where people are glad to find themselves among others from the same

world? (Camus, 84). Unfortunately for Meursault, nearly everyone is in a club that he is

not a member of. Meursault is in his own exclusive club of which he is the only member.

In the very last sentence of The Stranger, Meursault embraces his aloneness: ?For

everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a

large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with dries of

hate? (Camus, 123). This is after Meursault thinks about his imprisonment and how

being imprisoned is so much different from being a free man.

After reading The Stranger, a reader can see that the stranger in this novel is

Meursault himself. He is almost totally alone in the world without any true friends. He is

only an observer and a stranger to everyone.

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