Who is the Real Stranger?

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As I became familiar with the strange qualities of Meursault as the story developed, the question that stuck out to me was, “What was Camus purpose for characterizing Meursault the way he does?”

Meursault is caught in a world where no one really thinks the way he does. Have you considered the possibility that the title “The Stranger” comes from the inability for Meursault to understand others as opposed to others understanding him? Throughout the story it is clear that Meursault is different from everyone else, but what if Camus is referring to everyone but Meursault as “The Stranger.”

All of the characters in the story have a different role and relation to Meursault. I would argue that these characters with the exception of Meursault act as “the norm” in our society today. It is easier to understand and empathize with the thinking of the other characters because we have been exposed to people like them before. But is it possible that our characterizations that represent “the norm” are incorrect? Maybe Meursault is discomforted by the way the other characters act. Maybe he is the only character that isn’t in fact “strange.” Maybe he is living the “right” way. Maybe Meursault isn’t “The Stranger” after all.

How Existentialism Appears in the Song, “Boredom” by Tyler the Creator.

The fun, hip hop song: “Boredom” by Tyler the Creator, may have lyrics that aren’t as happy-sounding as the beat in the background. Obviously, the word “boredom” comes up a lot in the song, as well as the phrase “find some time to do something.” So how bored really is Tyler?

Yes, Tyler is bored, but really he could be questioning if he is an existentialist…. Due to the amount of times the phrase “find some time to do something” is said, it seems that Tyler the Creator is not satisfied with his life. He feels as though he has nothing to look forward to in the future with all the time he has in the world. This can be interpreted as a form of Extensitailsim. Existentialism’s main idea is that people exist for their own free will. Humans define themselves throughout their lives and make their own meaning of life. In this song, Tyler is emphasizing that people need to use all their time on Earth to the best of their ability and especially “find some time to do something.” The understanding of the song is really up to the listener, but if you listen closely you might hear a snippet of Existentialism.

Existentialism and its Relation to Isolation

Existentialists value the rejection of standard social constructs as a pillar of humanity, but this conviction can be extremely ostracizing. Unfortunately, while leading an existentialist life may be personally liberating, it is extremely unpopular. Outside of those who share in the existentialist ideology, an existentialist would have quite a difficult time fitting into society. In The Stranger, Mersault keeps everyone at an arm’s distance. He has some friends (Marie, Raymond), but it is very clear to the reader that Mersault isn’t particularly close to these people. The reason behind this is because Mersault’s outlook on life holds him from coexistence. He can no longer understand conventional societal norms.

Existentialism isn’t an ideology for the social. Its lonely, and besides the perceived personal freedom, it could ultimately be unrewarding. It is difficult to judge whether or not existentialism is truly worth the effort. Sure, you may have a new outlook on life, but said outlook immediately puts you on the outside looking in to society. The norms that existentialists reject are pillars of mainstream society. Existentialism imprisons one in their own mind, as they can no longer willingly be apart of a society that contradicts their beliefs. By choosing a path of existentialism, one creates a cycle of rejection. By rejecting societal constructs and norms, society will reject the existentialist right back.