What’s So Interesting About The Stranger?

Meursault walking along the beach.

The Stranger is a book that stays true to its name. The reader follows a man who goes by the name Meursault and throughout the book we see Meursault respond to certain events in a peculiar manner that we wouldn’t deem as “normal.” Meursault is shown to have close to zero emotions on anything. It’s the way he acts and responds towards people that make him such a frustrating character.

Story begins with the death of Meursault’s mother. He explains to the reader that he never felt a deep connection with his mother. Of course he didn’t want her to die but he quickly accepted the fact that there was nothing he could do about it. He also didn’t seem to care all too much about her death. He never cried nor felt any pain compared to the other residents at the mother’s home. His interactions with the workers there were also quite unusual. He never wanted to see his mother corpse to see her one last time and his attention was toward the sunlight a lot of the time.

After his return from his mother’s funeral, he meets Marie again and begins to “date her” one could say. However, their conversations are quite strange to say the least and in my honest opinion, I don’t view relationships in that sense. Meursault goes out with Marie but doesn’t love her. You can see this throughout several of their conversations. On page 41-42, Marie questions Meursault asking him “do you love me?” Meursault showing no emotion says that he “didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t love her.” It’s this conversation where he reinforces his commitment to not showing any emotion towards anything.

So the questions still rises: What’s so interesting about The Stranger? The only thing I could comprehend is that we follow a man who doesn’t act normal in any sense that we can imagine. He’s the stranger in his society and people don’t know how to deal with him. That’s why the reader gets so frustrated with his actions throughout the book. We don’t understand why Meursault does the things he does and that’s why this book is so interesting. We don’t know what his next move is gonna be because he doesn’t act “human.”

This book forces us to think in a different way about human interaction and the way of thinking of a single person. This book is so interesting because it frustrates us, it shows us different ways of interactions, and it forces us to question society and how weird we are to others.

2 thoughts on “What’s So Interesting About The Stranger?

  1. Micah D

    I agree, Meursault really does many things that frustrate the reader. It’s like watching a horror film and yelling at the people to just run away, but they go exploring. Meursault could have done so many things to help his fate, or so many things that would seem to make him happy (or *us* happy if we were him). I find it so interesting that people thought this book was so intriguing that it won a Nobel prize. I guess people just become entirely flabbergasted when people do not act the way others think they they should.

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  2. mayap

    I think your analysis is very interesting. Personally, I found this realization more frustrating than interesting. The fact that he was such a weird guy definitely added to the story and made it the way that it was, but I found it really difficult to read a story where the main character is unable to be read. I typically enjoy books where I can connect to the characters and understand them, but Mersault’s character is hard to understand and instead of finding that interesting, it makes me angry.

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