Albert Camus' novel The Stranger, a masterwork of crime fiction first published in 1942, is set in Algiers, Algeria on the eve of World War II. This was a pivotal time for France, which had not only been invaded by the Nazis, but whose colonies in Islamic North Africa had weathered crippling attacks from Hitler's army.
The story focuses on an indifferent French Algerian named Meursault who murders a man, called only the Arab, for no obvious reason and subsequently struggles with societal attempts to rationalize his behavior. As such, the setting of Nazi-ravaged French territory is critical in setting up a backdrop of both doom and lunacy.
A strident anti-bourgeois message, characterized by the setting, runs through the novel and is used to illustrate Meursault's emotions, attitudes, and motivations. In particular, there are numerous examples of the discriminatory attitude the French have toward their Arab neighbors, as embodied in the protagonist . Meursault's killing of the Arab in this...
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