What is an example of the world around Mersault being absurd in "The Stranger"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his essay collection "Myth of Sisyphus", Camus defines the philosophy of the absurd.  He says that when an individual is removed from a repetitive, simple way of life and forced to realize the senseless things - war, murder, pain, etc. - that people cause and must face, he must come to the conclusion that the world is absurd.  His only other options are to believe in theology or fate, which offer no acceptable answers to an intelligent person who thinks logically.

Under this definition, some absurd events in Mersault's life include the death of his mother, his involvement with Marie, and his killing of the Arab.  His mother's death jars Mersault from the thoughtless, easy rhythm of his everyday life, his relationship with Marie penetrates the safe, insultated emotional shell he has built around him, and the murder brings him in conflict with the law, which demands that he forfeit his life.  Each of these events cause extreme mental crisis within Mersault, rendering him unable to remain in his comfortable, predictable existence and forcing him to reconcile himself to the random vagaries of the world.  Struggling to understand why he must experience suffering and unrest, he finds no acceptable reasons and concludes that the individual's place in the context of society, and life itself, is in the final analysis utterly without meaning, and therefore, absurd.