An Analysis of Chapter One of the Stranger

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The stranger Chapter one commentary
Meng Hua

In chapter one of the stranger Camus have used special techniques and skills to portrait Meursault’s inner character without direct reference. Camus has achieved this using different diction, sentence structure, metaphors, contrasts and other types of literature techniques. Each line is carefully done so that readers can quickly grasp the unique character of “the stranger”. At the beginning of chapter one Meursault immediately reveals himself to be indifferent towards emotion and interaction with others. Instead of grieving at the news of his mother’s death he shows to be cold, harsh and detached. We can see this immediately from the first line “mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.” This shows that Meursault’s primary concern is which exact date did his mother died instead of any emotional feelings. The fact that he shows no emotional response makes him an stranger to the society. Also with his lack of emotion he is difficult to categorize, neither happy nor unhappy about his mother’s death; he is plainly different. Camus has also used the contrast of Meursault’s feelings towards nature and society to highlight his “strangeness”. Meursault takes particular interest in the nature surrounding him whereas showing little emotion in the funeral. We can see this by the way Meursault is able to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery just before the funeral despite the sad event. Similarly during the funeral procession Meursault feels no grief or sadness instead he finds the heat of the day unbearable. Through this we can see that though Meursault tends to ignore the emotional, social and personal parts of situations, he shows intense care when it comes to the realm of physical and practical. Showing Meursault’s plain, coarse and practical personality, foreshadowing his honesty when explaining his crime in the court. Meursault’s emotionless thoughts and reactions for the funeral is also shown...
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