What is the symbolic meaning of Salamano's dog in the novel?

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In The Stranger, the relationship between Salamano and his dog is analogous to both the relationships between Mersault and his mother and between Raymond and his Arab girlfriend.  The dog reminds Meursault of his mother; therefore, the dog is a symbol for that which is lost, dead, or abused.

First, Salamano is more heat-broken about losing his mangy dog than Meursault is about his mother dying.  This is not to say that Meursault does not love his mother; on the contrary, it shows that he appreciates his...

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edris1 | Student

In my view Salamano's dog presents some of the most important themes of the book.

As discussed above, the element of relationships is explored between the man and his dog. The dog represents man's dependancy. Salamano, after losing his wife gets the dog, however when he loses the dog he weeps in realisation of his lonliness. Meursault is marked out as the outsider as he is the only character who seems to not depend on anyone.

Another major theme presented through the dog is the philosophical question of the absurd. When analysing Camu's use of the dog, it is necessary to refer to Meursault's final revelation specifically regarding the value of things in life. In his revelation he reveals that salamano's dog is as worthy as his late wife. It can be seen that Camus is showing us that we are able to be happy and mournful towards a dog or a wife. This fits in with the issue of exestencialism.

Like Meursault aswell, Salamano and his dog represent man's desire for habit. Although the life they lead is not a wholly happy one, it is , according to Meursault equally worthy with any other life. Is man's desire for habit thus an attempt to make sense of a senseless world as described by Camus?

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