What style and techniques are used by Camus in The Stranger and what are their effects on the reader?

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One of the most remarkable stylistic features of the philosophical novel The Stranger by Albert Camus,at least in the original French, is Camus' continuous use of the past perfect and imperfect tense instead of the simple past. The past perfect tense, according to the linguist Emile Benveniste, is a tense that is linked to the speaker at the moment of speaking unlike the simple past which is traditionally used in narratives and that implies a distance between the speaker and his discourse. Camus' use of language then implies an immediacy that is also felt by the person reading him : as readers we are not as distant from the author as we usually would be. This stylistic closeness has an effect on the way in which the reader apprehends the work.

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In The Stranger, Albert Camus employs a particular style and techniques in order to intensify the effect of the story on the reader. 

The style of narration is detached, unemotional, and almost bizarrely matter-of-fact. This is evident right from the very first line, when Meursault says (in the original French, followed by translation): 

Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas. 

Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday: I can't be sure. 

It seems very unusual for someone to report the death of his mother in such cold, clinical language. This style continues throughout the novel and has the effect of imparting a feeling of absurdity to the reader. By presenting events, thoughts, and feelings without any extra language or commentary, Camus causes the reader to feel the same sense of detached observation that Meursault feels toward the world and the people around him. Camus was primarily concerned with the meaninglessness of human existence and a sense that existence in general is irrational: imparting his feelings to the reader required this kind of detached style. 

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