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Weather Imagery in "The Stranger" by Camus

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on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Weather Imagery in "The Stranger" by Camus

Weather Imagery in "The Stranger" by Camus
Killing an Arab - The Cure
Weather Imagery
Weather: the state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards heat, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.

Imagery: visually descriptive or figurative language, esp. in a literary work.

Meursault allows weather to control his actions, thoughts, emotions, etc.

Physical connection

Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/cure/killinganarab.html
Is it even important?
understanding is vital to "The Stranger". Meursault is indifferent to everything around him and allows the weather to manipulate his actions

shows his desire for physical connections rather than social and emotional connections
"The sun was beginning to bear down on the earth and it was getting hotter by the minute" (15)

"I was surprised at how fast the sun was climbing in the sky.... The sweat was pouring down my face. I wasn't wearing a hat, so I fanned myself with my hankerchief" (16)
“We walked on the beach for a long time. By now the sun was overpowering. It shattered into little pieces on the sand and water.”
“The whole time there was nothing but the sun and the silence.” (55)

“The sun glinted off Raymond’s fun as he handed it to me.” (56)

“All that heat was pressing down on me and making it hard for me to go on” (57)

“It occurred to me that all I had to do was turn around and that would be the end of it. But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my back. I took a few steps towards the spring” (58)

“The sun was the same as it had been the day I buried Maman, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me, all the veins in it throbbing under the skin. It was this burning which I couldn’t handle anymore, that made me move forward.” (59)

“At the same instant the sweat in my eyebrows dropped down over my eyelids all at once and covered them with a warm, thick film. My eyes were blinded with the curtain of tears and salt. All I could feel were the cymbals of sunlight crashing on my forehead and, indistinctly, the dazzling spear flying up from the knife in front of me… being tensed I squeezed my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave” (59)
“My head was spinning with heat and astonishment. I never intended to kill the Arab… I blurted out it was because of the sun.” (103)
"Once again I could see the red sand and feel the burning of the sun on my forehead." (67)
Patrick J. Moser

"Meursault's experiences with the natural world draw out elements of Camus's philosophy of the absurd. Meursault's name itself has been associated with the environment that affects him so strongly throughout the novel. In French, mer means "sea"; sol means "sun." Standing under the penetrating rays of the midday sun at the beach, "the same sun" that burned the day he buried his mother, Meursault faces off with the Arab. Suddenly scorched by a hot blast of wind from the sea, blinded by the sweat in his eyes, Meursault fires the revolver and shatters the silence of the day. Later, in court, he will tell the judge that he killed the Arab "because of the sun." He shows no remorse for the crime he has committed, realizing that it occurred only because of chance circumstances. This meeting between man and nature, like all such meetings, ends in a meaningless act. All that remains is for him to acknowledge what he has done."
Moser is an assistant professor at the University of California-Davis. In the following excerpt, Moser describes The Stranger in terms of its Existential elements, Camus's philosophy of the absurd, and other viewpoints.
How is the song related to the novel?
"I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun"

hero pointlessly murders an Arab man he didn't even know, during a moment of existential confusion caused or made worse by desert heat
"I sniffed the smells of the cool earth and found I wasn't sleepy anymore. Then I thought of the other fellows in the office. At this hour they'd be getting up, preparing to go to work; for me this was always the worst hour of the day" (14).
How is "Killing an Arab" by the Cure related to the killing of an Arab in the book?
"Whichever I chose
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing
I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an arab"
Works Cited
Camus, Albert, and Matthew Ward. The Stranger. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print.

"Killing an Arab- The Cure." AllMusic. Robert Smith, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2013. <http://www.allmusic.com/song/killing-an-arab-mt0011889586>.

Moser, Patrick. "UC Davis Graduate Studies: Professors for the Future (PFTF)." UC Davis Graduate Studies: Professors for the Future (PFTF). UC Davis, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <http://iccweb.ucdavis.edu/graduates/pftf19941995/19941995.htm>.

"The Stranger, Literary Criticism." Mr. Caruso. UC Davis, 2008. Web. 29 Sept. 2013. <http://antonioscaruso.com/page14/page77/page82/page82.html>.
Discussion Questions:
1. Have you ever been influenced or enforced by the physical surroundings around you while making a decision?

2. To what extent does another novel that we have read thus far focus the same on physical descriptions rather than emotional / social ones?

3. To what extent do we have control over our actions when confronted with a natural force?

4. To what extent can real life events have an influence on songs and / or people? Discuss some influences you see.

5. In your opinion, to what extent can a physical surrounding control your actions?
Influence his decision

Meursault's philosophy of absurdism
it shows how events and actions do not matter in the scheme of life.
Lets be Engaged!
Recall a time when you were influenced by the surroundings around you while making a decision.

Discuss how you were influenced and your thoughts regarding this decision now as you look back.
Full transcript