The Stranger demanded of Camus the creation of a style at once literary and profoundly popular, an artistic sleight of hand that would make the complexities of a. Albert Camus ❖ THE STRANGER. THE. Stranger. By ALBERT CAMUS. Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert. VINTAGE BOOKS. A Division of Random. ALBERT CAMUS'STHE STRANGER Lewis WarshSERIES COORDINATOR Murray Bromberg Principal, Wang High School of Queens.
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Albert Camus ™ THE STRANGER. THE. Stranger By ALBERT CAMUS Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert. VINTAGE BOOKS A Division of Random. ALBERT CAMUS. THE OUTSIDER. Translated by Joseph Laredie. Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from the home. Albert Camus ♢ THE STRANGER THE Stranger By ALBERT CAMUS Translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert VINTAGE BOOKS A Division of Random.
Due to suffering many people very practical. Her funeral was not a decisive moment and Meursault They lost the hope of living than exist.
But it also But Meursault is worried about seemed no more. He fall. Then I can spend the night there, keeping the usual vigil enjoys the benefits of the life, he drinks, smokes, entertains but beside the body, and be back here by tomorrow evening. I have not seriously. He spends all his earnings with no purpose.
Still, I had an idea he Meursault claims that nothing in life matters from birth to looked annoyed, and I said, without thinking: A baffling The characteristic of Meursault is located exclusively within and fragmentary account of a segment of the life of the small- himself, in his own heart and mind. When the Arabs attacked, time clerk from Algiers.
Reflecting on raised the question: The is innocent. He is indifferent towards meaning in existence. Meursault rejects the God and the high power.
He believes in him and opposes the existence of God. Meursault reflects the nothingness of the God and reject the religion. According to him human existence as a pain, where sin, guilt, and anxiety all contribute to his belief. Marie is the only reason Meursaukt fas regret for his crimes. Camus argues that the only certain thing in life is the inevitability for humans, because humans will eventually face the death.
All lives are equally meaningless. A baffling The characteristic of Meursault is located exclusively within and fragmentary account of a segment of the life of the small- himself, in his own heart and mind. When the Arabs attacked, time clerk from Algiers. The is innocent. He is indifferent towards meaning in existence. Meursault rejects the God and the high power. He believes in him and opposes the existence of God. Meursault reflects the nothingness of the God and reject the religion. According to him human existence as a pain, where sin, guilt, and anxiety all contribute to his belief.
Marie is the only reason Meursaukt fas regret for his crimes. Camus argues that the only certain thing in life is the inevitability for humans, because humans will eventually face the death. All lives are equally meaningless. Meursault gradually moves towards this realization throughout the novel. Meursault realizes that, just he is indifferent to much of the universe, so the universe is different to him. The prosecutor paints a picture of a man incapable of the most basic human feeling, one who is a danger to society.
Back in his cell, Meursault thinks about death and about escape. He does not want to see the prison chaplain, but the chaplain visits him anyway and attempts to have him acknowledge his guilt and also the possibility of an afterlife. Meursault flies into a rage and attacks the chaplain in the only outburst of feeling he displays in the book. His last wish is that a large, hostile crowd attend his execution. Physical sensations of sun and wind and physical activities such as swimming or running mean a great deal to him.
Larger experiences in his life- the death of his mother, a chance for marriage, and a change in job- mean relatively little. We learn almost nothing about his past, though he is a curiously candid person, speaking of experiences in the present that most of us, if we felt them, might keep silent about. He has a detached attitude toward other people.
This annoys most people, but some are attracted to him because of his silence and his habit of not offering judgments. The central event in his life, at least as far as it influences others, is killing an Arab.
His most intense experience, however, is his attack on a chaplain while in prison. Many readers see Meursault as a hero and as a martyr for the truth.
He refuses to disguise his feelings and by doing so threatens society. For instance, when Raymond is beating an Arab girl, Meursault refuses to send for the police because he dislikes them. His feelings take precedence over the immediate danger to the girl. Meursault is a complex- in some ways contradictory- character, and one of the most rewarding challenges of reading The Stranger is trying to figure out his personality.
At the trial, he tries to defend Meursault. He is more sympathetic toward Meursault than the warden and sits with Meursault during the all-night vigil by the coffin. He offers Meursault coffee in what seems a kind act. He generally expresses ordinary sentiments and tries to make Meursault feel guilty for leaving his mother in a home. She, like Meursault, is devoted to sensual pleasures. But her values are rooted in traditional standards, and she wants what most people are said to want: Salamano loses the dog during the course of the story and turns to Meursault for advice and comfort.
But his code of honor is as important to him as religion is to the chaplain or the magistrate. Conversely, if someone does him a favor- as Meursault does, by writing a letter to his girlfriend- that person will be his pal.
He takes part in the first scuffle with the Arabs but essentially has a minor role in the story. At the trial, he attempts to create a favorable picture of Meursault. The magistrate is an authority figure who believes in God and wants criminals to believe and to repent their crimes.
During their first interview, Meursault views the magistrate as an amiable and kindly person. At a later interview, however, the magistrate becomes perturbed and excited when Meursault refuses to answer his questions about the murder.
Meursault is fascinated by the skill with which the prosecutor twists information to create his case. For Meursault, the chaplain is just the last in a long line of people who have tried to foist their ideas on him. His insistence that Meursault express some belief in God leads to an attack by Meursault.
The city is described as bathed in sunlight so intense at times that it makes Meursault feel dizzy; it is surrounded by white-hot beaches and endless expanses of sky and water.
The street where Meursault lived was modeled after the Rue de Lyon- the main artery of Belcourt, the Algerian suburb where Camus grew up. Algiers is a city of crowded apartment buildings, where the neighbors and shopkeepers all know one another. The streets are lined with bars and restaurants.
Arabs, Europeans, and pieds-noirs- people of European descent born, as Camus himself was, in Algeria- live side by side, but not without tensions and conflicts. The story should be seen against this background of racial mix and unrest. More than the city, even, the natural climate of North Africa forms a powerful backdrop to events and shifts of mood- the sun, the heat, the vastness of space and sky have much influence.
Most people, Camus is saying, accept the day-today events that make up existence without asking themselves: Why am I doing this? The only answer, he says, is that nothing we do has any long-lasting meaning.
We die, the universe goes on.
Nothing fundamental has changed. Later in his life Camus changed his thinking to add that within this framework, our actions can still be important because we can affect the lives of other persons. We must behave as if life has meaning. Images of sun, water, earth, and sky give pleasure to fleeting moments of our lives. But they can turn dangerous and destructive. The natural forces do not have empathy for us or care. They are neither good nor evil; they are simply there, and they go on being there long after we are gone.
To accept this philosophy is to live in a world without God. Meursault can accept this and lives with the sensations, both pleasurable and painful, of sun and wind, of caresses, of smells and sights. Yet his incapacity to look beyond the sensation of the moment leads him into a pattern of action that changes his relationship to all these sensations, and in prison he is deprived of all that has made his life enjoyable.
Society has developed patterns of behavior for given moments in our lives, whether or not we have the requisite feelings. Meursault could have lied about his feelings at any time and made his ordeal easier.
This attitude leaves him open to the charge that he has no basis to deter him from wrong action; it also leaves him without conventional hope. He loved her the way people love their mothers.
He says to Marie that he does not really love her but will marry her if she wants. Love, Camus is saying, and its institutionalized symbol, marriage, have been created by society and have nothing to do with how people really feel. Some readers argue that Meursault is incapable of loving anyone, while others claim that Camus is attempting to define love as the physical pleasure one experiences with another person.
There are several kinds of love in this book. Are these relationships involved with negative as well as positive feelings? Some readers feel that Meursault refuses to accept the possibility of feeling love because he recognizes the pain involved in such a relationship.
Camus poses the question whether or not a relationship that involves pain as well as pleasure is worth the trouble. Do you feel that this is an accurate interpretation of love? During the trial scene in Part Two, everyone participates in some sort of game, except Meursault.
He is just a spectator at his trial. We first meet the idea of justice in Part One, as Raymond seeks revenge on his girlfriend for being unfaithful to him. And again, when the Arabs attack Raymond, it is to punish him for beating her up. But during the trial, no one makes any real effort to discover why Meursault has acted the way he did.
The fact is that Meursault has killed a man with apparent ease and without remorse. Is the prosecutor right? Is Meursault a dangerous man and is justice served in this trial?
He drifts without thought into minor activities- his affair with Marie, his friendship with Raymond, his comforting of Salamano. He finds it easier to say yes than no. Yet, when pushed, he will not lie about his motives, even though to say what is expected of him would clearly make people more sympathetic to his ordeal.
As you read, keep in mind these questions: What is the purpose of acting when you know you will die? How committed are you to your own ideals and to what extent would you defend your feelings and beliefs? In order to do this, he has created recognizable characters and placed them in realistic situations. The clarity of style is the perfect instrument to convey the thoughts of the narrator Meursault , who is attempting to find order and understanding in a confused and confusing world.
Others compare his vocabulary to that of a child. Notice, also, the brevity of most of the sentences- which are also childlike- and the absence of complicated grammatical constructions.
Camus describes objects and people but makes no attempt to analyze them. His attention is always fixed on the concrete nature of things. He uses words cautiously as if he were somehow suspicious of abstract terms. Note the conversations between Meursault and Marie about marriage and the exchange between Meursault and the chaplain about God. Notice the scene where Meursault kills the Arab. Natural images- the sun, sea, and wind- appear in different guises at different times.
As you read, pick out other words and phrases that appear regularly and try to figure out their significance. The Stranger was originally written in French. The widely read American edition, translated by Stuart Gilbert, is faithful for the most part to the tone of the first-person narrator.
Be aware, however, that the translator makes many changes in the original text. For example, in the nursing home scene in the opening chap- ter, Meursault asks the doorkeeper if he would turn off one of the lamps in the mortuary. His mind wanders in the middle of conversations. Only rarely does he make value judgments or express opinions about what he or the other characters are doing. At the trial, in Part Two, you learn what the other characters think of Meursault.
Some readers think the book would have been more successful if it had been told in the third person by an omniscient narrator.
He begins an affair with Marie and drifts into a relationship with his neighbor, Raymond Sintes. Then he commits the murder that will result in a sentence of death.
Part Two picks up directly following the murder and ends eleven months later. We see Meursault in his prison cell and during his trial, and are introduced to the various functionaries of the state: Meursault compares his life in prison with his former life, and we watch how his attitudes evolve.
Does he change? Or does he simply become crystalized in his old pattern? Are there other possibilities? The two parts of The Stranger can be seen as forming a kind of duality. In Part One, Meursault walks through the world largely unaware of the effect of his actions on others; in Part Two he is conscious of every aspect of his experience, both past and present.
Camus was, however, very concerned with some of the same questions as philosophers. Since he did not state his ideas systematically and unambiguously, it is difficult to summarize them, and there have been conflicting interpretations of his outlook. People want, and need, a basis for their lives and values, but the world offers them none, Camus believed. Nonreligious in a traditional sense, Camus, like many others, was cast adrift, feeling that life had no significance as well as no meaning.
Life for him has little meaning on a deeper level, and he is not concerned about making value judgments or assessing right and wrong. Yet at the end of The Stranger, Meursault draws some order out of life. Through this feeling of solidarity, Meursault seems to gain strength, and seems to come to terms, at least partially, with the absurdity of life. The Stranger is written in the first person. All the events in the story are seen or experienced from the point of view of one person, Meursault, What we know about the events in the novel and about the other characters is based on his interpretation.
In the opening scenes, notice how Meursault emphasizes the external aspects of his environment, and how little you learn about his inner feelings and thoughts. Eventually, he dozes off. Meursault has the feeling, in the course of their conversation, that the warden blames him for sending his mother to the home.
The doorkeeper appears and begins to unscrew the lid of the coffin so that Meursault can view his mother one last time. Meursault stops him. At first Meursault feels uneasy in the presence of the doorkeeper. To ease the tension, he strikes up a conversation.
His conversation with the doorkeeper could be taking place anywhere- they might be two strangers meeting in an elevator or on a train. As night falls, the doorkeeper offers to bring Meursault a mug of cafe au lait- coffee with milk.
Meursault accepts the offer, and the two men continue their vigil beside the coffin. What reasons could you attribute to such an attitude? In preparation for the customary all-night vigil, the doorkeeper arranges a number of chairs around the coffin.
Pay close attention to the way Camus interweaves and emphasizes certain details, most notably the image of light- both natural sunlight and electric light. You will find many more references to light throughout the story. Do you have the impression they are trying to make him feel guilty? They nod their heads and suck their toothless gums. One of the old women at the vigil weeps, and the doorkeeper tells Meursault that his mother had been her closest friend.
As the night progresses, Meursault grows tired and becomes aware of a pain in his legs. At dawn, all the old people shake hands with Meursault and leave. Yet he has a hard time staying interested in anything for very long.
His mind seems to work like an instant camera; after he takes the picture, however, he throws it away. To him, no one picture is much more important or carries much more weight than any other. Meursault experiences the funeral as a series of physical sensations. He smells the hot leather and the horse dung from the hearse and feels exhausted as a result of staying awake most of the night. He has a bad headache and can barely drag himself along to the cemetery. As you read the novel, see how Camus conveys his philosophy in terms of human testimony, experience, and description- not analysis.
But he was true to his own feelings. Why do you think he did? At the pool near the harbor he meets Marie Cardona, a former typist in his office. Meursault and Marie swim together, frolicking happily in the water like children. Meursault and Marie doze off on a raft, his head upon her lap.
As you read, note all the ways in which Camus uses the image of water. You might compare the water imagery to the images of sunlight which also occur frequently throughout the book.
Ask yourself how you would have reacted if you were Marie. Many people in Western cultures observe a period of mourning after a close relative has passed away or wear black as a sign that someone close to them has died. Perhaps that is why Marie is not deeply affected by the news of the death.
That evening, Marie and Meursault go to the movies to see a comedy starring the French actor Fernandel. On Sunday morning, Meursault awakens to find Marie gone.
Is it because he prefers the regimented life of the work week to the freedom of the weekend, when he must make his own choices about what to do? After lunch, he wanders restlessly around his apartment. You get the feeling that Meursault is just killing time, waiting for Monday and the routine of going to work. His meeting with Marie at the pool was purely accidental.
Whatever encounters he has with people take place by chance. As you read, ask yourself what makes Meursault different or stand out from other people. He spends most of the day on the balcony of his apartment.
From that vantage point, he observes a family going for their Sunday walk, the local teenagers on their way to the movies, the tobacconist across the street sitting outside his shop. Most people would probably be bored with this routine, but Meursault seems content just to exist. Sunday or Monday, life or death- it seems to be all the same.
He believed that the weariness that resulted from the acts of a mechanical life- a life that continued, unchanging, from week to week- was the condition necessary to give birth to the feeling of absurdity in an individual.
But you are told that the simple physical act of washing his hands during the day gives him pleasure. Then he returns to his apartment for a nap and later goes back to the office.
This is his daily routine. Why do you think Camus spends so little time describing what Meursault does at work? Others feel that the ritual of going to work is more important to Camus than the work itself.
After work Meursault walks home along the harbor, feeling the coolness of the evening air on his face. On the steps of his apartment he meets an elderly man, Salamano, who lives with his dog on the same floor as Meursault. The man and the dog have lived together for eight years. But Salamano regularly beats the dog, and the dog, in turn, irritates his master, by pulling on the leash when they walk down the street.
Before reaching his apartment, Meursault greets another neighbor, Raymond Sintes, who invites him into his room for dinner. Though he tells people he works in a warehouse, he is reputed to be a pimp. Camus named several characters in The Stranger after members of his own family. Some readers think that the similarities in the names seem to indicate that Camus wanted to call attention to the autobiographical elements in the novel and to indicate that much of the book was inspired by his childhood experiences.
But why Salamano beats his dog or Raymond beats his girlfriend is a mystery to him. Does this interpretation contradict his antisocial behavior at the nursing home? Others feel that Meursault is just drifting, as always, from one chance encounter to another. As you read, ask yourself why Meursault feels and acts the way he does. Do you think of him as an honest person?
Or is he just acting selfishly? He has done this, disregarding the possible consequences, especially to the girl. Meursault and his coworker, Emmanuel, have seen two movies, but we are not told the names of the movies.
Why do you think Meursault tells you about the roller towel at work, yet neglects to give details about other aspects of his life? On Saturday, Marie and Meursault go to the beach. Her physical presence stirs him out of his normal lethargy. He takes pleasure in just being with her, staring at her, enjoying her beauty and sensuality. At the beach they swim together on their backs.
The next morning Marie asks Meursault whether he loves her. Or maybe his spontaneity and impulsiveness, and his unwillingness to conform, are what appeal to her most. A moment of tenderness between Meursault and Marie is shattered by the sounds of a violent quarrel between Raymond and his girlfriend. This is another of the rare instances in which Meursault expresses an opinion.
Some readers feel his dislike of the police indicates a dislike of authority in general. Others think that the reference to the police is a way of foreshadowing events in the second part of the novel.
Another tenant in the building arrives with a policeman. Raymond, a cigarette dangling between his lips, finally opens the door. The policeman orders Raymond to take the cigarette out of his mouth. After a glance at Meursault for approval? Raymond defiantly continues smoking, and the policeman smacks him in the face. In his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, written about the same time as The Stranger, Camus posed the question whether to commit suicide when one is faced with the utter indifference of the universe.
To the anti-hero, suicide is not a solution. Instead, the anti-hero accepts his state of being, concentrating on experiencing the pleasures of the moment. After she goes, Meursault takes a nap. You should note other places in the novel when Meursault sleeps after upsetting scenes or circumstances.
Had Meursault, Raymond wants to know, expected him to defend himself against the policeman? The two men go drinking in a cafe. Raymond proposes that they visit a brothel, but Meursault declines.
On their way home they meet Salamano, who is frantically looking for his dog. Raymond tries to reassure Salamano by telling anecdotes about dogs that have returned to their masters, but Salamano is afraid that the police will find and destroy the dog.
Meursault says that Salamano should inquire at the pound where stray dogs are taken: At the idea of paying money in exchange for his dog, Salamano flies into a rage and begins cursing the lost animal.
Salamano with his dog, Raymond with his girlfriend. Both men are controlled by their emotions. His self-control impresses people like Raymond and Salamano.
Why do you think the visit from Salamano makes Meursault think of his mother? Does Meursault, at this moment, want to be like everyone else? He assures Meursault that Marie can come along as well. Raymond also says that he thinks some Arabs, including the brother of his girlfriend, are following him.
He asks Meursault to be on the lookout for any Arabs hanging around the house. If he were to move to Paris, they argue, he would truly be a stranger, out of place, forced to focus on the minute details of merely surviving.
The irony of this interpretation lies in the fact that Meursault already acts as if he were a foreigner, unaware of the customs of the world in which he presently exists, a world where a display of emotion at the death of your mother is expected of you, and where lack of ambition- turning down a bet- ter job- is frowned upon.
When Meursault returns to his desk, he gives us a brief glimpse of his past. For example, when he was 17, he suffered a bout of tuberculosis. Just as Meursault had to give up his studies, so Camus was forced to abandon his dreams of becoming a teacher.
Marie visits Meursault that evening and asks him to marry her. But his answer does hurt her and makes her wonder whether she really loves Meursault. Yet nothing Meursault says bothers Marie for very long. Sensing that marriage is important to her, Meursault agrees to marry her whenever she wants. He tells her about the possibility of moving to Paris, and we learn that he once lived there. In a book such as The Stranger, where the language a character uses is important in order to understand motivation, one must take into consideration such changes in the text.
As you may have noticed, Meursault observes the people around him with great clarity and with an almost photographic precision, as if each person were a specimen under a lens.
Once this woman joins Meursault, she takes no notice of him; but he watches her intently.
The way she moves reminds Meursault of a robot. Readers have interpreted the function of the robot-woman in the novel in a number of ways.
Some feel that she epitomizes a machinelike, antihuman aspect of the world- rigid, inflexible, out of touch with the rhythms of the universe. At the door of his house Meursault meets Salamano, who tells him that the dog is definitely lost. Meursault invites Salamano into his apartment and suggests that he find another dog to replace the lost one. Uncertainty surrounds virtually all the relationships in The Stranger.