The Stranger

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The Stranger: Essay Topic 1
Albert Camus's The Stranger takes place in a society confined with social standards that dictate who everyone is supposed to be and how they're supposed to act. In the middle of this society, Camus introduces the character of Meursault, who is anything but ordinary. Meursault's nonconformist personality causes him to be alienated from the world. However, he isolates himself more with his attitude about not caring about anyone but himself. Throughout the novel, The Stranger, Meursault reveals his selfish character through his actions and by placing his interests over the interests of others and ultimately deserves the death sentence.

Meursault lives his life for his own pleasure. He does what he wants, when he wants and does not think about anyone else. Meursault does not dwell on anyone else's feelings but his own. At his own mother's funeral, Meursault finds a way to make the day all about himself. Instead of mourning the loss of his mother, Meursault continues to think about himself. “The woman kept on crying…I wished I didn’t have to listen to her anymore” (Camus 10). Instead of understanding the woman's feelings on this sad day, Meursault talks about his annoyance with her and her crying, not showing any grief for his mother himself. Meursault's inability to understand another's feelings shows that he only cares about himself and shows how selfish he really is.

In The Stranger, a major turning point is when Meursault shoots and murders an Arab. “I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of the beach where I’d been happy” (Camus 59). Meursault says this line right after killing a man. Instead of thinking about the life that he had just taken, Meursault thoughts go to how his day is now ruined. This shows how Meursault only cares about himself. He does not care about the crime that he just committed, he cares more about his day being ruined. Meursault is clearly selfish and cares more...
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