What are some examples of internal and external conflicts in The Stranger?
Camus suggested that his entire premise of The Stranger was the exploration of a realm where the individual experienced a simultaneous collision of internal and external conflicts. Camus suggested that "In our society any man who does not weep at his mother's funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.' I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game." The fundamental conflict of the individual against the social expectation, a type of matrix in which there is meaning assigned, lies at the basis of Mersault's characterization.
This collision of internal and external conflict be seen in different points in the text. For example, when Mersault is in prison, it is a representation of the external conflict that exists between himself and the socially acceptable world that is predicated upon conformity and unilateral acquiescence. This moves into a more intense realm when Mersault confronts the Chaplain. Committed to a restorative notion of the divine, the Chaplain fundamentally wishes for Mersault to submit to the divine and accept a transcendental notion of existence. Mersault rejects this:
Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why. So did he. Throughout the whole absurd life I'd lived, a dark wind had been rising toward me from somewhere deep in my future, across years that were still to come, and as it passed, this wind leveled whatever was offered to me at the time, in years no more real than the ones I was living. What did other people's deaths or a mother's love matter to me; what did his God or the lives people choose or the fate they think they elect matter to me when we're all elected by the same fate, me and billions of privileged people like him...
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