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The Stranger - Book Review

Essay by review  •  August 24, 2010  •  Book/Movie Report  •  741 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,265 Views

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In The Stranger, Albert Camus

portrays Meursault, the book\'s narrator and main character,

as aloof, detached, and unemotional. He does not think

much about events or their consequences, nor does he

express much feeling in relationships or during emotional

times. He displays an impassiveness throughout the book in

his reactions to the people and events described in the book.

After his mother\'s death he sheds no tears; seems to show

no emotions. He displays limited feelings for his girlfriend,

Marie Cardona, and shows no remorse at all for killing an

Arab. His reactions to life and to people distances him from

his emotions, positive or negative, and from intimate

relationships with others, thus he is called by the book\'s title,

\"the stranger\". While this behavior can be seen as a negative

trait, there is a young woman who seems to want to have a

relationship with Meursault and a neighbor who wants

friendship. He seems content to be indifferent, possibly

protected from pain by his indifference. Meursault rarely

shows any feeling when in situations which would, for most

people, elicit strong emotions. Throughout the vigil, watching

over his mother\'s dead body, and at her funeral, he never

cries. He is, further, depicted enjoying a cup of coffee with

milk during the vigil, and having a smoke with a caretaker at

the nursing home in which his mother died. The following

day, after his mother\'s funeral, he goes to the beach and

meets a former colleague named Marie Cardona. They

swim, go to a movie, and then spend the night together.

Later in their relationship, Marie asks Meursault if he wants

to marry her. He responds that it doesn\'t matter to him, and

if she wants to get married, he would agree. She then asks

him if he loves her. To that question he responds that he

probably doesn\'t, and explains that marriage really isn\'t such

a serious thing and doesn\'t require love. This reaction is fairly

typical of Meursault as portrayed in the book. He appears

to be casual and indifferent about life events. Nothing seems

to be very significant to him. Later on in the book, after he

kills an Arab, not once does he show any remorse or guilt

for what he did. Did he really feel nothing? Camus seems to

indicate that Meursault is almost oblivious and totally

unruffled and untouched by events and people around him.

He is unwilling to lie, during his trial, about killing the Arab.

His reluctance to get involved in defending himself results in

a verdict of death by guillotine. Had Meursault been

engaged in his defense, explaining his actions, he might have

been set free. Meursault\'s unresponsive behavior, distant

from any apparent emotions, is probably reinforced by the

despair which he sees open and feeling individuals

experience. He observes, for example, Raymond cheated on

and hurt by a girlfriend, and sees his other neighbor,

Salamano, very depressed when he loses a dear companion,

his dog. Meursault\'s

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