Reading a book is similar to watching a movie. There’s a plot, characters, a conflict. But the difference between the two is simple. When reading a book, the reader creates the visualizations in their mind. This gives the reader freedom to form their own versions of the book. The same can be said of the well-written novel The Stranger by Albert Camus.
The author Camus was born in French ruled Algeria in 1913 to poor parents. At the age of twenty-five, Camus moved to Paris where he experienced the corruption of Hitler’s Nazi Germany during WWII. Because of these conditions, Camus had strong philosophical views. He believed life had no rationality or meaning. This influenced many of his works including The Stranger, The Plague, and The Fall.
The Stranger is regarded as a fiction novel. It was first published in 1942 in French. Main themes that are evident throughout the novel include murder, the irrationality of human order, and the significance of the material world. The Stranger takes place a village in 1940s Algeria in the summertime.
The main character in the book is named Meursault, the narrator. He is a honest and detached young man. His mother, Madam Meursault, is deceased during the events of the book. She was living in an elderly home when she died of old age. Meursault’s lady friend, Marie Cardona, a simple and carefree woman who is satisfied with her un-romantic relationship with Meursault. Meursault’s neighbor, Raymond Sintes, can be described as violent, self-absorbed, pimp. Raymond is basically Meursault’s partner in crime and contributes to Meursault’s crime. Minor characters include Céleste, an owner of a restaurant in which Meursault frequently visits; Salamano, another neighbor of Meursault who abuses his dog; and the Chaplain, a priest who counsels convicted people in jail. He helps Meursault to confess his true feelings.
The Stranger tells the story of Meursault, beginning with Meursault traveling to the funeral of his deceased mother. After aiding in his neighbor Raymond’s schemes, he eventually murders an Arabian man in cold blood. Meursault is convicted and sentenced to death for his crime. Throughout his trial and before his execution, Meursault comes to terms with his philosophical views of the meaning of life.
I enjoyed reading The Stranger because the story discusses the corruption of what society considers normal. Because of the way Meursault responded to situations in his life, people assumed he was a terrible person who did not care about anything. Meursault was punished for acting differently from society’s expectations. I agree that the world is corrupt, and society should not decide what can be considered acceptable.
In conclusion, I believe The Stranger is a work of art. I would recommend this book for anyone to read. People who would enjoy this book include teens and adults who feel misunderstood and people who enjoy dark novels. The Stranger describes the philosophical outlook of the author Camus, a great French writer of his time.