The Stranger Book Summary | Albert Camus

The Stranger Summary. it is a novel with which Camus had his first success. It was influenced by Nietzsche and Sartre. The novel is showing us a meaningless and absurd life and how the humans drift apart from the world. Life is represented as a meaningless existence ruled by coincidences.

The Stranger Book also published in English as the outsider albert camus, is a 1942 novella written by French author Albert Camus. The first of Camus' novels published in his lifetime, the story follows Meursault, an indifferent settler in French Algeria, who, weeks after his mother's funeral, kills an unnamed Arab man in Algiers. The story is divided into two parts, presenting Meursault's first-person narrative before and after the killing.

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The Stranger Novel Summary

The Stranger Summary

Meursault, the narrator, is a young man living in Algiers. After receiving a telegram informing him of his mother’s death, he takes a bus to Marengo, where his mother had been living in an old persons’ home. He sleeps for almost the entire trip. When he arrives, he speaks to the director of the home. The director allows Meursault to see his mother, but Meursault finds that her body has already been sealed in the coffin. He declines the caretaker’s offer to open the coffin.

That night, Meursault keeps vigil over his mother’s body. Much to his displeasure, the talkative caretaker stays with him the whole time. Meursault smokes a cigarette, drinks coffee, and dozes off. The next morning, before the funeral, he meets with the director again. The director informs him that Thomas Perez, an old man who had grown very close to Meursault’s mother, will be attending the funeral service. The funeral procession heads for the small local village, but Perez has difficulty keeping up and eventually faints from the heat. Meursault reports that he remembers little of the funeral. That night, he happily arrives back in Algiers.

The next day, Meursault goes to the public beach for a swim. There, he runs into Marie Cardona, his former co-worker. The two make a date to see a comedy at the movie theater that evening. After the movie they spend the night together. When Meursault wakes up, Marie is gone. He stays in bed until noon and then sits on his balcony until evening, watching the people pass on the street.

The following day, Monday, Meursault returns to work. He has lunch with his friend Emmanuel and then works all afternoon. While walking upstairs to his apartment that night, Meursault runs into Salamano, an old man who lives in his building and owns a mangy dog. Meursault also runs into his neighbor, Raymond Sintes, who is widely rumored to be a pimp.

Raymond invites Meursault over for dinner. Over the meal, Raymond recounts how he beat up his mistress after he discovered that she had been cheating on him. As a result, he got into a fight with her brother. Raymond now wants to torment his mistress even more, but he needs Meursault to write a letter to lure his mistress back to him. Meursault agrees and writes the letter that night.

The following Saturday, Marie visits Meursault at his apartment. She asks Meursault if he loves her, and he replies that “it didn’t mean anything,” but probably not. The two then hear shouting coming from Raymond’s apartment. They go out into the hall and watch as a policeman arrives. The policeman slaps Raymond and says that he will be summoned to the police station for beating up his mistress. Later, Raymond asks Meursault to testify on his behalf, and Meursault agrees. That night, Raymond runs into Salamano, who laments that his dog has run away.

Marie asks Meursault if he wants to marry her. He replies indifferently but says that they can get married if she wants to, so they become engaged. The following Sunday, Meursault, Marie, and Raymond go to a beach house owned by Masson, one of Raymond’s friends. They swim happily in the ocean and then have lunch. That afternoon, Masson, Raymond, and Meursault run into two Arabs on the beach, one of whom is the brother of Raymond’s mistress. A fight breaks out and Raymond is stabbed. After tending to his wounds, Raymond returns to the beach with Meursault. They find the Arabs at a spring. Raymond considers shooting them with his gun, but Meursault talks him out of it and takes the gun away. Later, however, Meursault returns to the spring to cool off, and, for no apparent reason, he shoots Raymond’s mistress’s brother.

Meursault is arrested and thrown into jail. His lawyer seems disgusted at Meursault’s lack of remorse over his crime, and, in particular, at Meursault’s lack of grief at his mother’s funeral. Later, Meursault meets with the examining magistrate, who cannot understand Meursault’s actions. The magistrate brandishes a crucifix and demands that Meursault put his faith in God. Meursault refuses, insisting that he does not believe in God. The magistrate cannot accept Meursault’s lack of belief, and eventually dubs him “Monsieur Antichrist.

One day, Marie visits Meursault in prison. She forces herself to smile during the visit, and she expresses hope that Meursault will be acquitted and that they will get married. As he awaits his trial, Meursault slowly adapts to prison life. His isolation from nature, women, and cigarettes torments him at first, but he eventually adjusts to living without them, and soon does not even notice their absence. He manages to keep his mind occupied, and he sleeps for most of each day.

Meursault is taken to the courthouse early on the morning of his trial. Spectators and members of the press fill the courtroom. The subject of the trial quickly shifts away from the murder to a general discussion of Meursault’s character, and of his reaction to his mother’s death in particular. The director and several other people who attended the vigil and the funeral are called to testify, and they all attest to Meursault’s lack of grief or tears.

Marie reluctantly testifies that the day after his mother’s funeral she and Meursault went on a date and saw a comedic movie. During his summation the following day, the prosecutor calls Meursault a monster and says that his lack of moral feeling threatens all of society. Meursault is found guilty and is sentenced to death by beheading.

Meursault returns to prison to await his execution. He struggles to come to terms with his situation, and he has trouble accepting the certainty and inevitability of his fate. He imagines escaping and he dreams of filing a successful legal appeal. One day, the chaplain comes to visit against Meursault’s wishes. He urges Meursault to renounce his atheism and turn to God, but Meursault refuses. Like the magistrate, the chaplain cannot believe that Meursault does not long for faith and the afterlife.

Meursault suddenly becomes enraged, grabs the chaplain, and begins shouting at him. He declares that he is correct in believing in a meaningless, purely physical world. For the first time, Meursault truly embraces the idea that human existence holds no greater meaning. He abandons all hope for the future and accepts the “gentle indifference of the world.” This acceptance makes Meursault feel happy.

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The Stranger Book Themes

Absurdity: This is the central theme, evident in Meursault's indifferent, almost apathetic, view of life. He sees the universe as lacking inherent meaning, and this absurdity shapes his actions and reactions. The trial exposes how society tries to impose meaning where there is none, condemning Meursault not for the murder itself, but for rejecting their constructed values.

Alienation: Meursault feels deeply isolated from everyone around him. He doesn't connect with social conventions, finds relationships shallow, and his emotional detachment further deepens his estrangement. This isolation contributes to his lack of remorse and fuels society's judgment.

Morality: The book challenges traditional notions of morality. Meursault's actions are judged based on social norms and religious beliefs, rather than the specific act of killing. His honesty about his lack of remorse is seen as immoral, highlighting the subjectivity of societal judgments.

The Individual vs. Society: The novel presents a stark contrast between Meursault's individualism and societal expectations. He prioritizes his own sense of authenticity over conforming to social norms, which leads to his condemnation. The reader is left to ponder the cost of individuality and the power of societal pressure.

Meaning and Identity: Throughout the book, Meursault grapples with finding meaning in life. He rejects societal constructs of meaning and ultimately finds solace in embracing the absurdity. This confrontation forces the reader to question their own sense of meaning and identity.

Indifference: Meursault's emotional detachment, specifically towards his mother's death, is both shocking and central to the narrative. It challenges readers' expectations of emotional responses and raises questions about the nature of grief and human connection.

Nature and Freedom: The natural world, particularly the scorching Algerian sun, plays a significant role in the story. It amplifies Meursault's emotional state and contributes to the buildup of tension leading to the murder. He finds a sense of freedom and acceptance in nature, contrasting with the constraints of society.

Language and Communication: The novel explores the limitations of language to convey complex emotions and experiences. Meursault's attempts to explain himself are often misunderstood, highlighting the difficulty of truly understanding another's perspective.

Questions and Answers about The Stranger Camus Novel

What is the short summary of The Stranger? In The Stranger, Camus explores questions of how people find meaning in life in a world that can seem cold and absurd. The novel has also been extensively analyzed for its depictions of the contentious relations between Arab residents of Algeria and the French colonial presence in the nation.

What is the main idea of The Stranger? Camus argues that the only certain thing in life is the inevitability of death, and, because all humans will eventually meet death, all lives are all equally meaningless.

What is the story of The Stranger Albert Camus? Published in 1942, the novel tells the story of an emotionally detached, amoral young man named Meursault. He does not cry at his mother's funeral, does not believe in God, and kills a man he barely knows without any discernible motive. For his crime, Meursault is deemed a threat to society and sentenced to death.

Is The Stranger hard to read? “ 'The Stranger,' ” Kasper added, is “a difficult book to understand.” Published in 1946, the story is set in Algiers and told in two parts. The first is an 18-day chronicle in which Meursault, an insignificant French clerk, attends his mother's funeral, has a love affair and kills an Arab on a beach.

Why is it called The Stranger? This is based on the word "foreigner," but the same thing applies to the title The Stranger. 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 the strangest.

What does Meursault realize at the end of The Stranger? After speaking with the chaplain, Meursault no longer views his impending execution with hope or despair. He accepts death as an inevitable fact and looks forward to it with peace. This realization of death's inevitability constitutes Meursault's triumph over society.

Why is The Stranger so famous? “The Stranger” (L'√Čtranger) by Albert Camus is a novel that spoke to a generation of French people under Nazi occupation in 1942, but its themes of absurdity in an existential world have made “The Stranger” an enduring classic.

Why is The Stranger absurd? The absurd, for Camus in The Stranger as well as in The Myth of Sisyphus, is the meaninglessness lying at the heart of our existence, our lives, and our being. The Stranger is not only a stranger to the world or the others, but also to himself, his existence, his own body, that is, his whole being.

How scary is The Stranger? There is no blood or gore (except for the last scene), and the movie is not exceptionally scary. The Strangers is very heavy on the creepy factor though, and it has a few jump scares. The main characters in the movie curse when they are under intense stress and fear.

Can a 13 year old read The Stranger? Marcus Clark It is not suitable for anyone under 18. There are some horrible things in this book, most of the murders are not detailed, but the parts that are could disturb anyone, particularly a teenager, for life. Andrea I was reading books like this at the age of 12.

Does Meursault regret killing the Arab? Meursault admits to himself that he feels little regret; after all, the man whom he shot was a stranger; he was only an Arab, and, to Meursault, the prosecutor is overdoing the emphasis on Meursault's regret.

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