The Stranger


P. 5 World Literature


10/1/03


Book Report on


The Stranger by Albert Camus


The Stranger by Albert Camus is a very compelling book. It makes one think about life and how we live it. The basic story settles on a clerk in an office by the name of Meursault. He lives in Algiers, France with his mother, Maman. She dies in the very beginning of the book. Yet, he seems to have no emotion or remorse after this tragic event takes place. His eventual girlfriend, Marie Cardona, works with him and they become very close. His life was going relatively normal until he killed and Arab in a fight because of a girl. A pimp by the name of Raymond Sintes lives on Meursault’s floor and they become pals after Meursault agrees to write a letter to this girl whom Raymond wants to get revenge on. The Stranger is a novel based on several different conflicts with man versus several different subjects.


For example, the conflict man vs. nature is present in the novel The Stranger. “When I ran into him on the stairs, Salamano was swearing away at the dog” (p. 27). A man who lives on Meursault’s floor by the name of Salamano is always being horrible to his cocker spaniel that has a skin disease. He seems not to like him, yet, when his dog runs away, he feels great sorrow. “The sun was beginning to bear down on the Earth and it was getting hotter by the minute”(p. 15). This setting takes place at the funeral home about 80 kilometers from Algiers. Maman has died and they are going to the funeral, Meursault acts like he doesn’t really care about anything except the heat. “The sun was shining almost directly overhead and the glare off the water was unbearable” (p. 53). Here Meursault is on the beach with Raymond and a friend named Masson and it is a very hot morning, which Meursault disproves of. They are just going for a walk and they meet the Arabic brother and friend of the girl Raymond wishes to avenge


Another important conflict in this story is man vs. man. “Meursault, if another one shows up, he’s yours” (p. 53). This is just prior to the brawl between Meursault, Masson, Raymond, the girl’s brother and his friend. The other expected character doest actually turn up, but events occur later. “The trigger gave, I felt the smooth underside of the butt; and there in that noise, sharp and deafening all the time, was where it all started” (p. 59). And it truly was, one could say that Meursault had absolutely nothing to do with this man and it was true. The only thing that he did was write a letter and get dragged into Raymond’s business. “He took a step toward me and stopped, as if not daring to come any closer”(p. 118). This was just previous to the end of Meursault’s life when he was speaking to a Father whom was trying to help Meursault. Meursault ends up throwing a tantrum towards the father and saying he doesn’t believe in god.


The final and probably most read conflict throughout this novel is the man vs. himself conflict. “She wanted to know how long ago, I said ‘yesterday’”(p. 20). This quote truly reflects Meursault\'s feelings towards Maman’s death, as he doesn’t even seem to bother knowing when it happens. The date is Sunday and she died Wednesday or Thursday truly showing his indifference to his mother’s death. “I didn’t fell like having lunch at Celeste\'s like I usually did because they\'d be sure to ask questions and I don’t like that” (p. 21). This is just in the morning after Marie spent the night and he is still in bed. People in morn do not usually like to be asked questions either but one could probably assume he just didn’t care due to how he reacts to the whole situation. “He said the truth was that I didn’t have a soul and that nothing human, not one of the moral principles that govern men’s hearts, was within my reach.” (p. 101). Now this probably meant very little to Meursault unless he realized his actual reality of his personality after his