In The Stranger, events happen by chance. Unwittingly, the protagonist, Meursault, becomes involved in his friend’s conflict, shoots and kills his friend’s rival. During the trial, the public decides to focus on Meursault’s character rather than attending to the specific details of the case. Because Meursault didn’t weep at his mother’s funeral, they conclude that his personality is cold and callous. As a result, he is sentenced to death. Throughout these events, Meursault assumes the role of an outsider. The French title of the book is also sometimes translated as “The Outsider.” He watches events unfold with cold indifference. In his last moments, he calmly accepts his fate and transcends life and death.
Author : Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a renowned French-Algerian philosopher, author, and journalist. Camus was a leading figure in the philosophical school of thought known as Absurdism, and was associated with existentialism. He is often compared to his existentialist compatriot, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. Though, throughout his lifetime, he firmly denied his philosophical identity. Although Camus’ works vividly portray the absurd nature of life, they do not descend into despair and express dejection. Against the contradictory absurdities of modern experience, Camus’ works promote resistance, upholding truth and justice instead of hopelessness. The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, and the play Caligula are among his most celebrated works, collectively known as the Absurdist Trilogy.
Overview | Chapter 1
Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book The Stranger. This novel describes an accidental occurrence. How a nobody, living a mundane and monotonous life, becomes involved in a murder leading eventually to his execution.
The existentialist philosopher Albert Camus wrote The Stranger when he was twenty-six years old. When it was published, the novel was soon a huge success. It laid the foundation for Camus’ renowned writing career.
Within a few years of its publication, The Stranger had received widespread acclaim in the literary world. Reviewing the novel, critic Marcel Arland concludes, “We recognize… in The Stranger: a genuine writer.” Another critic, Henri Hell, wrote, “With The Stranger, Camus ranks at the apex of the contemporary novel.” In his book Writing Degree Zero, Roland Barthes credits The Stranger as creating a revolutionary “transparent form of speech” that would change our understanding of literature and even of reality.”
The story describes Meursault’s wrongful conviction. However, unlike in a typical miscarriage of justice, this protagonist is not completely innocent, nor has he been framed. In fact, he expresses his guilt and openly admits to the murder. Nonetheless, others at the scene of the crime are well aware of the fact that he committed this offence in a state of confusion. As this case unfolds, the judicial process becomes increasingly complex, and the trial lasts almost a year. Ultimately, in Meursault’s case, the verdict passed is that there is nothing human about him and his crime was premeditated.
If you find this outcome absurd, or perhaps consider it strange that such a ridiculous verdict could be reached under the supposedly advanced legal systems of modern times, this would be just what Camus intended. Why didn’t Meursault actively fight against it? Let us take a closer look at this story.
In this bookey, we will introduce Camus’ book in three parts:
Part One makes a simple summary of the story and explains how Meursault becomes embroiled in a court case;
In Part Two, we will analyze the character of Meursault, and explain why he is a stranger and what leads to his final execution.
Lastly, Part Three examines the novel’s message from a creative standpoint and examines Camus’ protagonist from his personal perspective.