Essay on the Stranger

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In Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” the “story of an ordinary man who gets drawn into a senseless murder” is told. Taking place in Algeria this man, Meursault, is constantly in a climate of extreme warmth, as are all the inhabitants therein. The sun, the source of light and the cause of this warmth, is thus a vital and normal part of his life. It brings warmth and comfort yet it can also cause pain and sickness. Throughout most of his life Meursault has lived with the conflicting forces of the sun and light, as a friend and foe. However in Chapter 6 these forces become unbalanced and the sun becomes an aggressor causing Meurault physical pain and jolting him into violent action.

Although the sun becomes increasingly aggressive as the novel transpires, in the beginning its forces were balanced causing some good and some bad effects. The most evidence of the sun as a foe is found during Meursault’s mother’s wake and funeral. During the wake Meursault is constantly “blinded” by the bright light. This combined with “the whiteness of the room” “[makes his] eyes hurt.” However, this same light also creates a “glare on the white walls….making [him] drowsy” and allowing him respite from the knowledge of his mother’s death. So, all at once light was good as well as bad for Meursault. Again, during the funeral “with the sun bearing down” the heat was “inhuman and oppressive,” causing Meursault great physical discomfort. Yet, in the same token, the heat is also “making it hard for [Meursault] to …think straight” thereby allowing him an escape from his mother’s death. Not all of the sun’s effects have a flip side however; throughout the novel “the sun [does Meursault] a lot of good,” by warming him and making him feel alive. Thus, although both positive and negative situations come from the...
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