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The Stranger, Albert Camus

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1293 words Published: 18th May 2017

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The Stranger, Albert Camus’ reader gluing book is all about an inane activities of Meursault the protagonist. The setting of this book is in Algiers; in the beginning of this wonderful novel we encounter the death of Maeursault’s mother in Marengo. The author of this book wrote it in the first person style thus allowing the reader to view Meursault to be the sole individual that propels all the unfolding in the novel. For this matter, the author relays sequence of events that invokes Meursault to shoot a friend, he is imprisoned and his eventual death. With regard to all that Meursault does and does not do convicts the reader to call him an anti-hero. This paper seeks to discuss the anti-hero theme in The Stranger as written by Albert Camus’.

Death of Meursault’s Mother

Part one of the book describes Meursault as a person of indifferent towards emotion and interaction with others. When he receives the news of his mother’s death he is not even carried away with emotions as one who has lost an important person in his life, (Bloom 20). In addition he only focuses on the physical and practical details surrounding the death of his mother. He is also depicted by the author as one who loves weather and other beautiful sceneries. In relation to this, he does not feel anything; neither grief nor sadness during his mothers’ funeral procession, (Camus 70). He also beliefs that, the world is meaningless and purposeless; the feelings of an anti-hero person and therefore, Meursault fulfills the anti-hero theme.

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The unique character of Meursault to certain events compels the reader to claim that Meursault is an anti-hero. For instance, before the death of his mother Meursault was looking forward to spending the weekend with Marie. After getting the information that his mother is dead, he appears heartless, doesn’t express any grief or even get concerned, in fact he goes for swimming in a public beach spending good time with Marie. He doesn’t seam affected by the death of his mother, he does stand with solidarity for his mother a complete character of anti-hero person.

Meursault’s conversation with his boss and other co-workers with regard to the death of his mother is cleverly avoided by Meursault. Furthermore, he changes the subject after giving a very short response. As much as his work mates express concern about the death of Meursault’s mother, Meursault himself is adamant and does feel anything he continues working as usual. Meursault has a different personality which completely contrasts that of a focused and a determined person, (Enotes 5). He displays traits of a failure in life throughout the book.

Lust and Lack of emotions

Albert portrays Meursault as someone who is lustrous and having no feelings or passion. When he goes swimming with Marie we are told that he was intensely aroused at any moment he sees her. Consequently, after swimming, they all hurry to Meursault’s apartment, spend the night together till the next day, (McCarthy 40). When Marie asks him if he really loved her, he replied that it doesn’t mean anything and therefore, he doesn’t think so. With regard to this event, Marie perceived Meursault as her hero who could eventually marry her but it turned out that he was not.

Meursault is a person who lacks any ambition to accomplish anything substantial in life. For instance, when he is offered a position in a new office to be opened by his boss in Paris, Meursault replies that it is all the same to him. In addition when Marie asks Meursault if he wants to merry her, he says that it doesn’t make any deference meaning that he has no feelings for her, (Sagi 20). Meursault is a non performer and therefore, an anti-hero character.

Meursault is also portrayed as one who cannot make a distinction between two conflicting situations; unable to decide. For instance when he is given a gun by Raymond he has no capacity to neither to shoot nor not shoo. He is unable to make out the difference that exists between the two alternatives. When he murdered an Arab does not affect him in any way, it is inevitable that Meursault doesn’t know the order and meaning of life. His acts are irrational completely describing somebody who is unable to accomplish a meaningful act given that Meursault’s killing of the Arab was an act out of no reason, (Schwerner 25). These are actions of an anti-hero person.

Arrest and Execution

Part two of The Stranger begins with the arresting of Meursault for killing the Arab. When the court appoints a lawyer to investigate about Meursault, he establishes that Meursault is insensitive. When he is also taken to the examining magistrate, the magistrate concluded that Meursault has a hardened and irrevocable soul. It was also established that Meursault never believed in God and he never knew what caused to act the way he acted. Heroes believe in God and have a clear self understanding, but with this man Meursault, everything is different. He is an anti-hero and doesn’t understand what he does with his life, (Showalter 15).

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When Marie visits Meursault in jail, she encourages him to have hope because she believes he will be acquitted and that they will get married as soon as he is out of prison. On the other hand Meursault is interested in mournful prisoners sitting besides him. When Marie leaves, Meursault sends a letter to her informing her that the authorities will not allow her to visit Meursault anymore. This indicates that Meursault is hopeless and does not know the meaning of life which a recipe of all heroes who have ever lived.

Meursault confinement and imprisonment does not incite any guilt or regret over his actions, he only focuses on hi practical and physical situation rather than the emotional elements. He longs for nature, ocean, sex, and cigarettes rather than his freedom. As a hero one should think of how to get out of the prison and not issues that cannot him get acquitted. It is only in prison that Meursault starts to know about himself as to how he can adjust and live in any environment, (Sparknotes 3). Heroic minds have a vision of what living conditions they need, and strives to achieve the perceived condition, Meursault is not one of them, he has an anti-heroic minds.

During Meursault’s trials he is surprised to see people parked in the courtroom. Furthermore he passively observed the judgments leveled against him. Without even thinking of how he might help himself out of the prison or to get acquitted, he begins to ponder the fact of his inevitable death. In fact, he concludes that there is difference between dying soon by being executed and dying decades later of a natural death. This kind of thinking is inclined to failures in life, somebody who don’t have hope and therefore no meaning for him to live. He is not a hero and therefore he can not live to the fact that one day he can have a better life full of meaning and hope, (Warsh 27).


In conclusion, Camus’ managed to display the anti-hero them in the book “The Stranger”. Meursault specifically was used to display different situation in which human beings are unable to think rationally and make rational decisions. The behavior and characters attached to Meursault are evident enough that a person can deviate from the true line of life of being determined, hopeful and ready to confront any situation for him come out successful. It is true that we have people who completely lack emotions and feelings and this is so strange as human life is concerned hence “The stranger”.


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