Light and Heat Imagery in The Stranger by Albert Camus

1418 Words6 Pages
11/14/2013
Word Count: 1,365
Light and Heat Imagery in The Stanger by Albert Camus, and Its Effects on the Murder and Existentialism in the Novel In The Stranger by Albert Camus, the murder committed by Meursault is questionably done with no reason. Although the entirety of the second part is spent in society’s attempts to find a cause, Meursault has a durable existential mentality that proves that even he knows that there is no true reason for the crime. Through the use of light and heat imagery and diction in The Stranger, Albert Camus comments on the duality of society trying to find a cause for the murder and Meursault defying this because of his existential mentality. These elements heighten Meursault’s negative outlook on life by
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When Meursault first speaks with his lawyer, he asked Meursault to say that he had held back his “natural feelings. “[Meursault] said, ‘No, because it’s not true.’ [The lawyer] gave [him] a strange look, as if he found [him] slightly disgusting” (65). Here, we see someone looking for causation, and Meursault being blunt about how there truly is not a cause for the murder. As the trial commences, the only thing Meursault notices it how “the trial opened with the sun glaring outside”, and that “despite the blinds, the sun filtered through in places and the air was already stifling” (82, 83). Both of these descriptions use diction that is very similar to the diction used to describe the heat and light on the day of the murder. This can lead to the conclusion that the only possible cause for the murder that could be justifiable for society is the heat, how oppressive it is, and how it ultimately led to his final murder of the Arab. To juxtapose Meursault’s acceptance, Albert Camus subtly uses light imagery to tie in the prosecutor’s case against Meursault to finally try and find a cause for the crime. When he is giving his speech about Meursault’s crime being “premeditated,” he says, “’First, in the blinding clarity of the facts, and second, in the dim light cast by the mind of this criminal soul” (99). These allusions to light imagery connect the prosecutor’s case to the cause being the
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