In the story “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, the belief that the themes of loss and retrieval are at the core of Mersault’s mythology, and that they illumine the notion of exile to which he returns so often is widely discussed. I however do not believe that either one of those themes has anything to do with the Mersault and the exile to which he returns to so often, rather I believe that Mersault’s own attitude is the reason for the exile he experiences in the story.
The first theme that is said to play a role in Mersault’s exile is the theme of loss. Though Mersault does lose his mother in the beginning of the story, it does not affect how he acts throughout the rest of the story and he continues on like nothing ever even happened. “Then there was the church and the villagers on the sidewalks, the red geraniums on the graves in the cemetery, Perez fainting, the blood red earth spilling over Maman’s casket, the white flesh of the roots mixed in with it, more people, voices, the village, waiting in front of a café, the incessant drone of the motor, and my joy when the bus entered the nest of lights that was Algiers and I knew I was going to go to bed and sleep for twelve hours.” The Stranger page 18. Normally when someone’s mother dies, you are filled with grief and sadness and you cannot help but to think about how much you miss her and love her. In this quote, Mersault shows no type of sad emotion whatsoever. He seems to be completely unmoved and unchanged emotionally by the death of his mother. Not only does he not show any emotion at his mother’s funeral, the very next day he meets with his mistress Marie Cardona and spends the day with her going swimming, seeing a movie, and spending the night at his house with her. Both of these examples clearly show that Mersault is unmoved by the death of his mother and it plays no role whatsoever in the exile that he encounters throughout the story....
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