How does the setting affect the events in The Stranger; do the Algiers and Mediterranean have specific influence on the lives of the characters? Could the book have been set anywhere?
Camus could have had his novel take place elsewhere, but there are several reasons his theme of alienation is bolstered by the Algerian setting.
People of French background who, like Camus himself, were born in colonial North Africa often felt like strangers both there and in France. They were colonists in the land of another people. Meursault is alienated from the world and from humanity as a whole, but his status as a stranger in a strange land is something Camus uses to make the sharpest contrast possible between an isolated person and his seemingly hostile milieu.
It is possible Camus intended a critique of racism as a subtext to his story. That men have chosen to make war on and dominate their brothers simply because of race is implicit in Meursault's careless shooting of the Arab man. Though Meursault is not overtly racist, the act of killing a man of another ethnicity or race is emblematic of each man's isolation and disconnect from the rest of mankind.
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 508 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial