What is the intention of The Stranger and how is it conveyed?

Quick answer:

The author’s intention in The Stranger is to show the alienating effects of modern society. A closely related goal is to reveal the negative impact of colonialism. Meursault functions at such an emotional distance from others that almost nothing makes him feel emotional, not even killing another man.

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Throughout The Stranger, Albert Camus presents Meursault as a man who is profoundly detached from the society in which he lives. The idea of alienation as a dominant state in modern society runs through the novel. There is almost nothing that stimulates an emotional reaction in the man, but in the end, he is made happy by the prospect that his own execution is creating a spectacle. Camus implies that such alienation is an appropriate response to the modern world, which is dominated by negative events. Presenting Meursault’s death as a resolution supports the nihilistic spirit of the novel. Although he goes through the motions of an appeal, he rejects the idea of consolation in religion, seeing the universe as benignly indifferent.

Meursault is a French man who has grown up outside of France. This character conveys how colonizers are separated from both their own people and from the colonized in the territory they rule. His inability to cry over his mother’s death may be seen as symbolic of the colonist’s sense of detachment from their native land—a motherland that some colonists have never seen. Not having a particular reason for killing the Arab and lacking remorse afterward, Meursault shows how colonialism dehumanizes people on both sides of the system

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