The Stranger by Albert Camus

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The story of The Stranger by Albert Camus is quite simple. Monsieur Meursault is a simple man, leading a simple, useless life until he makes some new friends and finds himself with someone else’s blood on his hands and his life on the line. Through Meursault’s reaction to his own impending death, Camus portrays the meaninglessness of human life. We meet Meursault when he has just learned of his mother’s death. His employer is silently annoyed, “but he wasn’t too happy about it” (Camus part 1; 3) that Meursault has requested two days off in order for the funeral and necessary traveling time. He has no regard for the loss of Meursault’s mother or the emotional impact it may have on Meursault. He is merely concerned with how this unforeseen circumstance will temporarily slow down office productivity. The news of his mother’s death should have some kind of emotional effect on Meursault, but he seems to not be phased at all, as if he had instead just learned that it was going to rain later in the day. He is reversed and rather quiet throughout the vigil and the funeral. Does not once shed a tear or present the emotion of grief or sadness. To him, life means at some point in time, death. It’s only natural and quite inevitable. He knew this was going to happen, whether sooner or later and logically there is no reason for it to upset him. Meursault seems to have no emotional reaction toward anything in fact. Meursault’s relationship with Marie Cardona, for instance, is

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