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The Stranger

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by

Aidan Nguyen

on 13 June 2014

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Transcript of The Stranger

Narrative Structure - Part One
Syntax - Part Two
Narrative Structure
Part Two
Imagery - Part One
Imagery - Part Two
Syntax - Part One
Tone - Part One
Tone - Part Two
Motifs - Part One
Motifs - Part Two
Characterization - Part One
The Significance of Meursault

Embodies Albert Camus' ideas that Life has no rational meaning.
Anti-Hero
A stranger in the society he grew up in.
Ultimately prosecuted because of his character, not his crime.
Character change: indifferent> appreciation of life
Theme 1 - Part One
Theme 1 - Part Two
Theme 2 - Part One
Theme 2 - Part Two
Symbols - The sun/heat
Symbols - The Courtroom
Existentialism and Absurdism
Part One
Existentialism and Absurdism
Part Two
The Stranger
by Albert Camus

Setting
Setting Significance

Author Background
Part One
Author Background
Part Two
Our society's expectations and code are based on the belief that everything has meaning and reason. When we are faced with a reality in which our lives could be meaningless and our actions futile- we eradicate that reality.
- mother's death
- lack of love
- "it's all the same"
- no reason for murder
- bible/ priest/ prosecuter
- everyone's fear/ reflection
Key Characteristics of Meursault
Detatched from emotions and society
Rejects Social values such as "love" and "guilt"
Appreciates life
A decent man, but with different values.
In the Stranger, through the protagonist Meursault, it is evident that life is meaningless. Life without meaning frees individuals from the burdens of society's standards. Therefore, allowing people the freedom to do anything with their lives by their own standards.
Meursault is a nihilist until the end.
He turns to Absurdism.
Camus refutes the labeling of his book as an "existential" novel.
Absurdism although can be seen as a component of existentialism.
"At one point or another, all normal people have wished their loved ones dead"
Conversation with the magistrate/ Chaplain
"As far as I could see, it didn't have anything to do with me"
"He simply asked ... if I was sorry for what I had done. I thought about it for a minute and said that more than sorry, I felt kind of annoyed"
Execution realization
"I opened myself to the general indifference of the world"
Choppy, short, and very basic
Very few complex sentences; generally only describe the physical world
The few sentences in which he reflects
examples:
"MOTHER died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure" (4).

"The trigger gave ..." (39).
"As I usually do when I want to get rid of someone whose conversation bores me, I pretended to agree" (44).
"Then, what awaited me was a night of easy, dreamless sleep" (61).
"The priest was beginning to bore me, and, resting a shoulder on the wall, just beneath the little skylight, I looked away" (73).
"And I, too, felt ready to start life all over
again. It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the
first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe" (76).
French-Algeria
right before WWII
before independence of Algeria from France
Tension b/t French and Arabs ("moorish")
writing style (syntax/diction): understated, short, concise
tone: indifferent, apathetic, detatched, passive
themes, existentialism, absurdism
I was tired.
The caretaker took me into his room and I was able to clean up a little.
I had some more coffee and milk which was very good.
When I went outside, the sun was up. Above the hills that seperate Marengo from the sea, the sky was streaked with red. And the wind coming over the hlls brought the smell of salt with it. It was going to be a beatiful day. It had been a long time since I'd been out in the country, and
I could feel how much I'd enjoy going for a walk if it hadnt been for Maman.
(pg 12)
He suggested I go to the dining hall for dinner. But I wasn't hungry.
Then he offered to bring me a cup of coffee with milk. I like milk in my coffee, so I said yes
, and he came back a few minutes later with a tray. I drank the coffee. Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because
I didn't know if I could do it with Maman right here. I thought about it; it didn't matter.
I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked. (pg 8)
I hoisted myself up next to her. It was nice, and sort of joking around, I let my head fall back and rest on her stomach. She didn't say anything so I left it there. (pg 20)
....I didn't say anything, because I didn't have anything to add. (pg 42)
That evening Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her.
I said it didn't make any difference to me
and that we could if she wanted to. Then she wanted to know if I loved her. I answered the same way I had the last time,
that it didn't mean anything
but that I probably didn't love her. "So why marry me, then?" she said. I explained to her that it didn't really matter and that if she wanted to, we could get married. Besides, she was the one who was doing the asking and all I was saying was yes. Then she pointed out that marriage was a serious thing.
I said, "No."
(pg 41)
writing style stays clear, plain, distinct, and deliberate
slight shift from part one to part two (still indifferent, but more involved)
simplicity allows for clarity and inight
contributes to themes and philosophies
NONCHALANT
The Weather
The Sun is used extensively to justify his actions as well as moods
During the scene of the murder of the Arab, the weather is mentioned
Colors
"It had occured to me that all I had to do was turn around... But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my back."
"It was this burning, which I couldn't stand anymore that made me move forward.
Meursault tends to emphasize on color while describing the scenery
Whether its the beach, the ocean, the sky, or the sun's rays, the colors associate with different emotions
For example, green represents happiness: "The sky was green; I felt good."
Red, like during the beach scene with the Arab can mean anger, or lust, when Marie wears the red dress
Born November 7, 1913 in Drean, French Algiers
Died at the age of 46 on January 4, 1960 in a car crash in Villeblevin, France
Camus was born to a poor family and his father died when he was an infant. Thus Camus for much of his early years lived in squalor
Albert Camus was eventually accepted into the university of Algiers, but a bout of Tuberculosis in 1930 made him reduce his studies to part time
He opposed the instituition of marriage yet he was married twice, ironically
However, he did have man affairs, public as well as private
In 1957 Albert Camus became the second youngest person to recieve a Nobel prize in literature
Albert Camus was considered to many to be an existentialist, but he did not like being grouped with people such as Sartre
Moreover, Camus was an Absurdist he wrote about the absurdities of the Human Condition. For example, the benign indifference he portrays through Mersault in The Stranger
In fact Camus once summarized the book as "In our society any man who does not weep at hismother's funeral runs the risk of beig sentenced to death"
Camus also spent most of his career combating and rejecting Nilhism. For example"If nothing has meaning you would be right. But there is something that still has a meaning."
First off the novel is narrated by Mearsault, the protagonist.
The narrative is divided into two parts: part one revolves around his mother's death and two is about Mearsault's prison life and his upcoming execution.
Because it is first person what the reader learns about the other characters is entirely Mearsault's perspective of them and their actions.
He is apathetic in most things and at the beginning it is evident through his attitude with his mother's recent death.
Mearsault's narration goes from present to some flashbacks of the past which creates a more realistic account of his story.
With the story split into two the standard story structure is altered, it prolongs the rising action and falling action
The plot through this division demonstrates the forcefulness /uncomfortableness of an average life at the beginning and the chaos in the second part.
The structure serves to give the readers a smooth life like insight of Mearsault's point of view and to back themes such as irrationality and meaningless in life.
The structure and point of view help emphasize the importance of Mearsault being alive that upon his upcoming death it is shown that a person's worth only is important while they are still in the physical world.
"As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself—so like a brother, really—I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate." (76)
The sun was beginning to bear down on the earth and it was getting hotter by the minute. I don’t know why we waited so long before getting under way. I was hot in my dark clothes […] it was inhuman and oppressive. (1.1.24)
Meursault's actions in the book is primarily affected by the heat and the intensity of light.
Based on the light intensity, Meursault's usually limited range of emotion varies greatly. Because of the sun, he can be sleepy, angry, content, resentful, etc.
Meursault's physical needs triumphs over his feelings; he goes with the flow.
Meursault's no better than animals with no feeling, only physical needs. His actions represent the meaninglessness of the world and human emotions that is shown in the book.
He stated that I had no place in a society whose fundamental rules I ignored and that I could not appeal to the same human heart whose elementary response I knew nothing of. (2.4.5)
Due to his homicidal crime, Meursault is put to trial at a courtroom, where he is judged by a jury.
The jury represents societal viewpoints, the laws represents society's attempt at order, and the persecutor's questions that try to get a logical explanation out of Meursault's crime represents society's way of making rational sense out of irrational events.
The fultility of society's attempts at rational explanation reflects the absurdist ideas from Camus.
The Sun
Represents the forcefullness of society to accept their morals
Funeral - must grieve for mother
Beach - makes his disoriented and confused
Trial - the right to judge people
Absent - Prison
Acceptance at the end
Truth
Although Meursault is seen as immoral, he is actually honest and candid
never displays emotions he does not feel
does not participate in conventions calling for dishonesty
does not exhibit grief at funeral
becomes naive thinking - the truth will speak for itself
When told he can be saved by repenting and turning to Christianity, he refuses
Absurdity
Overrides the responsibity of Meursault's actions causing him to have indifference
free will or lack thereof
moved only by sensory experiences (the funeral procession, swimming at the beach, sexual intercourse with Marie)
the pause after Meursault's first shot
"The fact that the death sentence had been read at eight o'clock at night and not at five o'clock . . . the fact that it had been handed down in the name of some vague notion called the French (or German, or Chinese) people – all of it seemed to detract from the seriousness of the decision"
indifference to Arab's death - only leads to acknowledgement of mortality and responsibility
Full transcript