The Stranger engages the reader into the internal workings of the mind of Meursault, plunging into his deep amoral indifference to the world, revealing a life of sensation and stimulation. The Stranger’s plot arises in the narration of life through the eyes Meursault, traveling through the daily workings of the young man’s simple life in Algiers. The simple plot is intertwined with glimpses into the intellects and feelings of the protagonist which sprouts a source of magical intrigue into the life of this man. Following the life of Meursault the reader encounters memorable companions and intense relationships, but all is different through the eyes of Meursault. Quickly, Meursault becomes entangled in hostile situations and roots of his past.
Producing more than a plot, Albert Camus reveals powerful ideas which boldly question societal conventions and personal values. The life of Camus becomes palpable throughout the story, from his love of his country to his strong adherence to his beliefs. Ideas of capital punishment become prevalent, rooting from an era of rebellion and controversy over such practices. Camus introduces the concept of absurdity, depicting man’s absurdity to cling to beliefs of greater meaning in an indifferent universe. Camus attempts to reveal a way of life free of burden and imprisonment
The Stranger is written with selective language, fitted perfectly to the protagonist’s narration. Told through the first person perspective of Meursault, language is used to divulge further into Meursault’s thinking. The vocabulary is common and simple, yet varies in correlation to the state of the protagonist. Meursault is very aware of his physical environment and when describing such moments the writing style shifts from the simple commonplace, to astute and descriptive writing. The Stranger is easily read in fluent flow; able to be read by a wide variety of readers, yet seamlessly uses this simple vocabulary to effective measures.
The Stranger, at its shell, is a story of decision and consequence, but when fully embraced, presents reflections of society and ideas of conformity, revealing new perspectives on life. When viewing life through Meursault, I gained perspectives upon society only attainable via isolation of society. The Stranger empowers the reader see the absurdity in our modern society. I value this piece of literature, foremost, for its ability to capture an entire perspective of life thought the eyes of a single man. I believe Camus successfully brings forth the manner a society judges a man who lives in an alternate approach, accurately portraying what it is like to a stranger.
Book Reviewed by Conner McConkey
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