The Stranger by Albert Camus is a book that shows a lot of understanding of the elements of writing a novel, such as the creation of a central idea that is well represented by characters. Therefore, if you are writing a term paper on The Stranger, it is important to understand its theme, central idea, characters, and motives among other elements in order to be able to analyze it. The following is an analysis of these elements as used in the novel.
The novel circulates on the theme of the meaningless of life as evidenced by the main character. Meursault is represented as a cold-hearted person who only cares about himself. He marries Marie and kills an Arab for no reason. The show of the meaningless of life climaxes when he is convicted to death rejects the word and looks forward to dying and leaving behind the society.
The central idea of the novel is absurdity as it is evidenced by various actions and the manner in which they are treated. The main absurdity is introduced when Meursault mother dies, and he doesn’t feel anything about it. A loving human being would be broken by such a death. As well, Meursault gets married for no reason and looks forward to his execution in relation to the violence displayed against the Arab. His lawyer tries to justify his acts regardless of the fact that they have no reasonable course in real life. These acts are rare to occur in real life because many people understand the meaning of life and care about the society and the human race.
Meursault is presented as a cold-hearted character who is nonconforming and detached. This is evidenced by the fact that he stays calm despite having lost his mother. Therefore, after fighting with the Arab in the beach, the jury is more concerned about Meursault’s reaction towards his mother’s death instead of the crime of violence that he has committed. This shows him as a hater of humankind because anyone would be devastated by the death of their parent.
Also, the author includes other characters to add a reason to Meursault’s life such as his lawyer, judge, girlfriend, and the Arab. The characters contribute to the central idea of showing the meaningless of life. Meursault does not have a concrete reason for getting married, and therefore, this explains the reason as to why he is willing to die and leave the society behind. In a normal setting, any human being would be worried about their wife in the event whereby something is about to happen to them. The violence against the Arab propels the story by showing how life is full of irrational decisions but the judge and lawyer try to explain the reason for such decisions.
One of the motives of the novel is to show the reader that events and other things in life happen for no reason and that human beings should be ready to accept situations the way they are. Despite Meursault’s mother’s death, he still stayed strong and decided to move on with life by getting married. Maybe, the mothers’ death was an event that he could not control and, therefore, the best course of action was to relax and accept the situation by being calm.
As well, the Judge sentenced him to death: something that does not scare Meursault. Instead, he is excited to leave the society and everything in it. This shows that life is not all about the society, but sometimes, it is important to focus on oneself and evaluate what one thinks is best for them. As a result, this would play a substantial role in the comfortability that surrounds a person’s life because worrying about what the world thinks could be traumatizing.
Novel’s Philosophy of Absurdity
The Stranger is an example of absurdity because the things that the main character Meursault goes through a call for a different reaction in real life from what the novel shows. Human beings are known to mourn the loss of a loved one, but the writer shows a character who is not shaken by the mother’s death. As well, while in prison, Meursault knows very well that they are awaiting execution and this should make him more concerned about how his end will be. Instead, he fears nothing and despised the teaching of the chaplain claiming that the word of God is justified to be meaningless and it cannot save him.
In a Christian setting, the truth is that the word can save a soul from sin to eternity. Death is not something to be excited about. However, the writer of The Stranger shows Meursault as a character who is looking forward to his death in order to leave behind the society and everything that comes with it. Therefore, the fact that things or events happen for no apparent reason in life could be seen as a threat to the human race. People cannot simply live in a world whereby they can do what they feel like without reason. It’s absurd that the society tries to explain irrational decisions to prove that they are rational.
The elements of writing used to compile the story of Meursault have brought up a narration that is worth reading and acts as an allegory to today’s life. Without a theme guided by the central idea, the author could not have been able to come up with such strong characters in order to pass the story. As well, the theme and characters have led to the presentation of different motives of the story in regard to the life that people are living. Such a motive is well shown by the absurdity found in almost all scenes of the story.