The Stranger by Albert Camus

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Summary
  1. Camus describes an almost surreal story about Meursault, a young, detached and amoral man who lives in Algeria. Meursault did not cry at his mother’s funeral, killed a man he hardly knew and does not believe in God but he does not believe that these facts should cause a man despair.
Key Takeaways
  1. Meursault lived in such a detached manner since he believed there was no meaning to life and this mirrors some of Camus’ own feelings. After WWII, many people felt this way after witnessing some of the most horrendous acts of violence ever to occur
  2. This novel is often associated with Camus’ philosophical notion of absurdity – that human lives and existence have no meaning or order. The idea that things happen for no reason or things have no meaning is scary and difficult for society to accept and this is why Meursault was seen as so threatening as to be given the death penalty
What I got out of it
  1. A very short and interesting read which offers a very unique point of view. This novel reveals an absurdist viewpoint through Meursault’s eyes – a belief  where life is meaningless and irrational. He reacts to situation with such detachment it becomes almost eerie.

Read The Stranger

  • He then asked if a “change of life,” as he called it, didn’t appeal to me, and I answered that one never changed his way of life; one life was good as another, and my present one suited me quite well
  • She asked me again [Marie] if I loved her. I replied, much as before, that her question meant nothing or next to nothing – but I supposed I didn’t…she murmured something about me being a “queer fellow.” “And I daresay that’s why i love you,” she added. “But maybe that’s why one day I’ll come to hate you.”
  • I could see that I got on his nerves; he couldn’t make me out, and, naturally enough, this irritated him
  • So I learned that even after a single day’s experience of the outside world a man could easily live a hundred years in prison. He’d have laid up enough memories never to be bored. Obviously, on one way, this was a compensation
  • The narrator is a very quiet and simple guy but through extenuating circumstances ends up killing an Arab man and the next part of the book deals with his time in prison and reflecting on the prosecution process. Things seem to be going alright until the jury declares that he shall be decapitated
  • The narrator was a supremely logical, if not robotic man. One who didn’t waste his breath, didn’t understand/believe in love and thought that there’s no idea to which one doesn’t get acclimatized in time

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