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The Stranger Meursault : Psyhologically detached from the world Honest (doesn't mask true feelings-he doesn't shed any tears because he doesn't feel sadness) Challenges society's moral standards because he doesn't cry. neither moral nor immoral-he is amoral (no feelings either way)
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for killing a man,
but he’s actually on trial
for his character, and it is for this character that he is convicted.
We know Salamano as a crabby old man
who lived with his old, disease-infested dog in Meursault’s apartment complex.
Salamano curses, yanks, and spits at his dog constantly.
In fact, he never shows his true feelings for the dog
until it disappears from his life.
He raises the important notion that man can "get used to anything,"
a notion later reinforced once Meursault adjusts to prison life.
(This is a small but important part of the absurdist philosophy.)
Meursault establishes that to wish for any one life over another is pointless;
if any life – even a life with an old dog or one behind bars – is good enough
to make a person content,
then indeed there is no purpose to striving for anything more.
Decay, death -Salamono (neighbor) loves the scab covered dog; mother dies, M shows no emotion when society thinks he should.
Meursault is peaceful about death, where the chaplain is distraught that M won't belive in an afterlife
The courtroom symbolizes society's moral and beliefs. Magistrate, lawyer, even the priest represent this view (M should be sad, sorrowful or regretful at his actions)
All minor characters show back up in the courtroom.
Meursault is our narrator, and he tells it as he sees, feels, and thinks it.
Not a hint of third-person omniscience exists, because the story is purely subjective from Meursault’s point-of-view.
Though observant, Meursault makes no attempt to empathize with or understand the other characters.
As the story progresses, we move from description laced with introspection
to purely introspective recounting.
Meursault is a stranger among other people
because he is so isolated from them – mentally, emotionally, spiritually,
and, by the end of the text, physically (he’s imprisoned).
He’s strange. He’s a stranger.
Or quite possibly, he’s the stranger.
We know this guy is detachment personified,
so it’s easy to argue that he’s a foreigner to society, to common, human customs – he’s an outsider
(yet another possible translation for the title, by the way).
The Stranger is written in a forthright, matter-of-fact and un-ornamental style.
There’s little color to the novel, though it has some poetic qualities.
Without the occasional irony or sarcasm, however, a reader might even mistake its simplicity for boringness.
Don’t be fooled. Because the novel is told by Meursault, the tone is necessarily defined by his voice.
What seems "boring" is really an incisive insight into the main character.
We are forced to see the world the way Meursault does; as a series of monotonous, timed, unexciting events.
This makes the tone of the last two pages all the more exciting.