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Two possible areas of comparison are the premises of the stories and some of the themes. Both stories are built on a basic premise of one or more young adults forging a path--successfully or unsuccessfully--in big cities that may be either turbulent or indifferent--or both. In Kitchen, Yuichi and Mikage try to find their paths in a big city where fathers become women and stalkers who are disgraced commit murder. In The Stranger, Meursault tries to find his detached path in a big [hot] city where employers are annoyed and girlfriends are mistreated.
Shared themes are death, sexual relationships, and friendship. To elaborate on one, death is central to each. In Kitchen, Yuichi must reconcile himself to the death of his father, Eriko, who is murdered by an enraged stalker who "has been made a fool of." Mikage must reconcile herself to Eriko's death as well since she has become attached to him because of her deep feelings for Yuichi.
In The Stranger, Meursault changes the course of his life by how he behaves at the vigil after the death of his mother. He is overwhelmed by the physicality of life and behaves with shocking indifference in what he feels is a senseless--even an absurd--situation. His response to this death determines the course of his life following the death of the Arab:
This man, who is morally guilty of his mother’s death, is ... unfit to have a place in the community ....
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