In Albert Camus’ 1942 novel, The Stranger, Monsieur Meursault is impartial and indecisive. Little is important to him, he takes most things lightly. He doesn’t care about job promotions, marriage isn’t an important decision, and he doesn’t grieve the death of his own mother.
Despite not really caring about anything, Meursault seemingly has everything. He’s fortunate to have a career and a home. Money doesn’t seem to be an issue for him. He has plenty of friends and neighbors. Until his trial and imprisonment, Meursault is definitely doing okay.
But what allowed for Meursault to be so successful? Maybe it is that he was a Frenchman living in Algeria. In the 1940s in Algeria, tensions were rising between Arab citizens and French pied noirs. These Algerian citizens were treated almost as second class citizens in their homeland, while French people, like Meursault lived lives of privilege.
Meursault likes swimming and days at the beach. He’s fortunate enough to be able to enjoy those things. So it’s interesting that Meursault, an existentialist, rejects systems of power, even though it is a system of French colonial power that allows him the pleasures he enjoys.