Albert Camus

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How does Camus use the sun for symbolism in his novel The Stranger?  

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agrinwald eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Camus's The Stranger, the protagonist Meursault is a traditional absurdist; he feels very little throughout the novel and quite infrequently has any significant opinions on even the most important of matters.

Essentially, the sun—along with several other things—serves as a motivational factor in his actions.

One interpretation of the murder scene (and Meursault himself would likely agree with this thought) is that the hot, blinding nature of the sun is what caused Meursault to fire the weapon. He had no personal grudge against the Arab man (while his close friend Raymond may hold a grudge, Meursault's own indifference is strong enough to avoid making an enemy of his own), and mostly shot the man just because. Camus tends to pay specific attention to the sun, having Meursault recall the unpleasant nature of the heat:

"The sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried mother, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me . . . "

Thus, the sun serves as a sort of metaphor for...

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