The Stranger in Review

Campbell Toth, Writer

Published in 1940, The Stranger by Albert Camus is a polarizing absurdist piece of literature
that I fully enjoyed. All parts of the story, even the ones considered boring by others, kept me
fully enthralled.
The novel starts off with a man, named Meursault, heading to his mothers funeral after being
informed of her death by the old person’s home in which she resided. This funeral, like many
other things in life, brings him no emotion.
This apathetic nature is what leads to discomfort in many readers as they find Meursault’s
apathy annoying. However, this apathetic nature that Meursault maintains is what allows his
character to develop.
Meursault’s character development throughout the novel is one of the best developments I’ve
read. It’s not unrealistic as Meursault still holds his belief of the meaningless of the world, but he
simply finds new meaning in the meaningless of the world.
Meursault, in his development, comes to the conclusion that just as he is indifferent to the world
around him, the world is also indifferent to him. Through this conclusion, Meursault finds a
sense of freedom in this indifference and no longer feels as locked down as he did before.
Most peoples’ gripes with this novel come from the lack of action in the first half of the book as
much of this portion of the book deals with Meursault’s life. However, this in depth look at
Meursault’s psyche during menial tasks in his normal life is interesting if you compare your own
emotions to his.
After that, a scene in which Meursault murders a man only named as “the Arab” occurs. Many
readers of The Stranger name this portion of the book as the true start of the novel as it is
where the action starts. However, if you cannot appreciate the genius of the beginning of the
book you cannot truly appreciate the book.
All of the setup that occurs in the beginning of the book is necessary to understand the actions
of Meursault. Without understanding the mentality of Meursault, the murder takes on a whole
new meaning. This new meaning would completely change the meaning of the novel itself.
The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is an amazing novel which all people should read in order to
enrich their minds.