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The Stranger-Manifestation of the Absurdity of Life

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The Stranger-Manifestation of the Absurdity of Life

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  • Jan. 2006
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How does Meursault manifest the belief that much of life is absurd?

In the stranger, Albert Camus makes his existential disposition quite apparent through his protagonist, Meursault. Meursault describes social situations and his emotions with short, concise, direct sentences leading the reader to believe that he does not care much for life outside the physical aspects. This lack of emotion is countered by descriptive details and great care for Meursault's physical condition.

Right out of the gate, we see that Meursault is "not all there". His first words to the reader are, "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know." These words are tossed about with such a casual tone, it seems as though Meursault is talking about something much less important. He goes into more detail about the bus he is going to take and the reasons for this decision, than he does his mother's death. To Meursault, it almost seems like an inconvenience for his mother to have died. He describes how he had to call off work and how his boss was upset at him, how he went to eat and how everyone felt sorry for him and because of this, he had to run so he did not miss the bus. He elaborates in great detail the steps he takes to get to his mother, though only mentions his mourning as a way to make his boss "cool down". Another prime example of Meursault's "pointless" point of view is his description of Thomas Perez during the funeral march. He describes such a minute thing as Thomas Perez's physical ailment with such detail that it seems that it would serve some philosophical purpose. Many authors describe nature or physical happenings and connect them to human nature, but Camus, on the other hand, merely brings them about in a mildly ironic way. He builds this great focus on one man's condition only for it to end just as it started, with a man and his handicap. Even in something that would seem to bring joy or caring, Meursault wrings out all emotion leaving only the...