The Stranger

Topics: Murder, Prison, Meaning of life Pages: 5 (1253 words) Published: March 5, 2014
AP English


Title: The Stranger
Author: Albert Camus
Date of Publication: 1942

Biographical Information about the Author

Born November 7, 1913
Died on January 4, 1960
He was also a journalist and philosopher.
He won a Nobel Prize.

Genre (indicate special characteristics, if applicable)

Fictional crime drama
Philosophical novel

Point of View/Narrator
Cultural/Social/Historical Context
First Person
Narrator: Meursault
Much of Meursault’s life is similar to that of Camus’ life. They were both born in the same region of Africa and in the same country.

Brief Plot Summary (just the highlights—indicate major turning points and climax)

The novel immediately starts off with Meursault receiving word that his mother died. He seems pretty indifferent as he goes through asking off work and attending the funeral. When he returns home from the funeral, he pretty much goes straight back into normal life as if nothing was different. He enters a relationship with Marie and befriends his neighborhood pimp, Raymond. Throughout, he remains detached from reality around him, being indifferent to the fact that his girlfriend is in love with him. His apathy (somehow) results in his engagement to Marie and they (along with Raymond) go on vacation to the beach. While at the beach, Meursault shoots and killed an Arab man who was the brother of Raymond's mistress. After his arrest, Meursault's attorney seems disgusted at his detachment and indifferentness to the murder in addition to his mother's death. When Meursault meets with the magistrate, the magistrate claims that Meursault is the antichrist. Meursault easily adapts to life in prison, hardly even noticing what he was missing from before. Eventually, he is sentenced to death. He freaks out on the chaplain and finally accepts that he will die and life holds no greater meaning. He finally feels happy (which is something)

Significant Passages
Quotation/Summary (include pg. #)
Significance (relation to theme, turning point for plot or character, show meaning of title, change in technique/effect, etc.)

“Since we're all going to die, it's obvious that when and how don't matter.”
"I would rather not have upset him, but I couldn't see any reason to change my life. Looking back on it, I wasn't unhappy. When I was a student, I had lots of ambitions like that. But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered."

I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn’t dissatisfied with mine here at all.

"It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed."

“Mostly, I could tell, I made him feel uncomfortable. He didn't understand me, and he was sort of holding it against me. I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else. But really there wasn't much point, and I gave up the idea out of laziness.”

“I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored”

This passage can act as a turning point for Meursault. Now that he’s in jail and it’s obvious he’s not going to win his case, he realizes that no matter what happens in life, once you die nothing else is going to matter. Just because someone is more righteous doesn’t mean their death will be any different than someone like Meursault. This shows that Meursault once was an actual human being that fit into society. He had dreams and goals and obviously something had to happen that made him not care anymore.

Again, Meursault is finding acceptance in his life....
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