Show specific refrences in The Stranger that you reacted to an idea, mood, or emotion in forms of agreement or disagreement.

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a rather open-ended project which may require more time and effort than I have shown here, but here goes:

In The Stranger, Camus creates a kind of tragi-comedy featuring his absurd hero Meursault who is a stranger in his native Algeria.  He doesn't fit in at work, at home, at the funeral home, on the beach, and certainly not in prison.  It seems everywhere there is someone who is limiting or denying his freedom to choose life over death.

So, the big ideas are: absurdism (similar to existentialism), alienation, the grieving process, capital punishment, and sexism and racism (focusing on Raymond and his Arab girlfriend).

The major scenes are: Meursault vs. Thomas Perez (as mourners); M vs. Salamano (regarding the death of a loved one); M vs. Raymond (re: the treatment of women); M vs. the Arab (re: revenge); M vs. the Magistrate (re: religion).  Overall, it's M vs. society (life v. death).

Meursault's first-hand narration is rather detached: he is such a stranger in a strange land that he is simply going through the motions of his daily life.  About the only time we see him happy is on the weekends, when is actually free!  He drinks, smokes, and has sex with Marie.  During the work week, funerals, and standoffs on the beach, Meursault clearly is not free.  Worse, he is referred to as "Monsieur Anti-Christ" because he doesn't believe in God and doesn't cry at his mother's funeral.  At the trial, no one comes to his defense; everyone, especially the magistrate and the priest, believes that his life of unadulterated freedom is too dangerous and, therefore, should be punished by death.

Through Meursault, Camus warns us: if you don't exercise your freedom, then you choose death.  And, in this novel, even when you exercise your freedom, death is often chosen for you.