The Stranger Analysis

  • Meursault is both the narrator and protagonist of The Stranger. From his first-person point of view, the reader sees what Meursault sees but has very little, if any, access to his inner thoughts and feelings. Meursault himself doesn't seem to have that access, which gives his narrative voice a stilted, matter-of-fact quality. He doesn't dwell on anything, preferring to think of everyone and everything as absurd.
  • Camus set The Stranger in Algeria in the 1940s, at a time when the country was still under French colonial rule. Colonialism resulted in tensions between Algerian natives and French colonists, and these tensions were in turn fueled by racism. Both the domestic abuse Raymond perpetrates and the murder Meursault commits are racially charged because their victims are both Arabs.
  • Camus uses foreshadowing in Part I of the novel, when Meursault sits vigil for his dead mother. During the vigil, Meursault gets the "ridiculous feeling that [the other mourners] were there to judge me." This foreshadows the trial in Part II, during which Meursault is criticized for his behavior at the vigil in Part I.

Literary Style

Psychological self-examinations are common in French first-person narratives, but Camus’s The Stranger gave...

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