Joined: Apr 2008 Posts: 1643 Location: Hampton, Ga
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I just finished reading The Stranger by Albert Camus and I couldn't help but mark some similarities between the two stories. The most glaring similarity is parricide/matricide. The main character is tried for murder but during the trial he is as much on trial for the man he kills as for his lack of emotion/love expressed for his Mother who recently passed. The prosecutor accuses Meursault of being responsible for the death of his Mother as if he was her murderer when she died of natural causes.
I liked The Stranger immensely. I think I'll be reading more of Camus here in the future.
Camus explores truth, religion, philosophy, and the meaning of life with The Stranger. He uses some of the same elements D. does but as kind of a backdrop. The trial right after Meursault's trial was a parricide and his case is explicitly compared with it.
The main character doesn't fit the mold of any of the Karamazov's at all. He's quite original. He's probably one of the most shallow and honest individuals you'll ever meet. He does what he feels is good - and is very much tied to physical needs. They outweigh any sense of moral, ethical, or any other sense of filial duty he has. He's almost inhuman in a robotic/void of emotion kind of way... almost.
A lot's lost on me. Camus has to explain to me at the end of the novel that our judicial system, or culture, or the "masses" can act in the very same way - impersonal, self serving, and cold.
Meursault only hopes that at the execution there will be lots of people there that will express their hatred. I'm still wrapping my head around this. I think it's because it rationalizes the whole affair for him and he will feel he deserves to die.
Cheers. I actually just found and joined this forum because I'm starting the Brothers Karamozov, but I too have found an interest in The Stranger. I think The Stranger is exceptionally brilliant in that each time I have read it, the last few pages have struck a different chord.
I especially enjoy the divergence between Mersault's descriptions and the more objective responses given by his contemporaries.
If you do intend to read more of Camus, I'd recommend first reading The Fall and then perhaps moving on to The Myth of Sisyphus. The Fall discuss similar and parallel issues to The Stranger, and I think much is elucidated in the more philosophical treatise.
Joined: Apr 2011 Posts: 79 Location: NC
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Re: The Stranger
I read The Stranger for the second time a couple of years ago. Camus' effective use of simple, narrative prose captures Meursault's dissociative experience and illustrates the theme. He is a social isolate, a man whose greatest crime is his apparent disconnect from his fellow man. Meursault's relationships are by rote and without meaning. As such he can offer nothing in self-defense, and he seems to welcome his own execution. After all, he seems to say, one is truly free when there is nothing left to lose, and ultimately we are alone.
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