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A stranger is seen in today’s society as a detrimental asset to the world. They are seen as dangerous, shady, and no good. Albert Camus wrote The Stranger, telling a story of a man who lived his life different than most people do. Webster dictionary defines a stranger as, “one who does not belong to or is kept from the activities of a group.” Meursault himself was an outcast to the world because he didn’t feel the same as others in the novel. Does this make him a bad person? I believe not, but he is in fact a stranger to the characters in the novel. The title, The Stranger, is appropriate due to the way it can be translated in French and other reasons. It suggests the themes of The Stranger as well. One meaning of the title of the novel, The Stranger, is that if you live a life different than what society accepts, then you are a stranger; an outcast, and will be punished by the rest of society. In other words, the title means that Meursault is a stranger to society. Nothing discussed in Meursault's trial had anything to do with the murder. It was all focused on the way he acted about the murder and how different his feelings were than what they thought they should be. This was used to prove that people, who share different views than society, are in fact a “stranger” and are judged by their character over their actions. In addition, the majority of the society were Christian people and held strong Christian morals. They believed that if you lived your life wrong then you were going to hell, and if you lived life as a good person you were going to heaven. They believed since Meursault did not believe these things, then he must be an atheist. No one understood how his mind worked and his feelings; therefore he was seen as a stranger. He fit the definition of a stranger perfectly because his feelings stood out from the rest of the community’s feelings, and his views were different from society. He says, ““He stated that I had no place in a society whose most fundamental rules I ignored and that I could not appeal to the same human heart whose elementary response I knew nothing of”(102). The society wasn’t giving him a fair chance, and they were trying to dispose of him as quickly as possible by sending him to the guillotine.

The title can also be seen as Meursault is a stranger to himself. He never truly had a personal connection to anyone; therefore he never built true relationships with anyone. He never showed remorse of the killing of the Arab, and his trial never pulled any meaning from him as well. He often argues with himself of how he feels towards the end of the novel when he has time to think about memories in the cell. Being a stranger to himself leads to his final meaning of who he is, which is a stranger to life. At the end of the novel, he finally grasps an understanding on what he believes as the true meaning of life. He was able to do so because as he was approaching death, his existentialistic views brought him to see that death is inevitable. Before, when his mother passed and he murdered the Arab, he was a stranger to his feelings. When he thought about what was about to play out in his life however, he accepted it. The understanding of this allowed Meursault to be at peace with himself and finally he broke through the “stranger” stereotype and found who he was with himself.

The novel’s theme of existentialism is also shown through the title of the novel. Existentialism is defined as, “a philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.” The word stranger is defined as, “One who is unaccustomed to or unacquainted with something specified.” Being isolated and being unacquainted with something run hand in hand. The title alone of the novel suggests that it will be about someone who is new to a community and...
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