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.

2 thoughts on “Who is the Real Stranger?

  1. Grace S

    I think that this is a very interesting concept to consider. I think that this interpretation is possible because Meursault is already on the outside of society but that may be because he does not understand society instead of it not being able to understand him.

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  2. Alex W

    I agree with you on your take on Mersault. I knew off the bat that Mersault was different from everyone else, with how he described his surroundings and how they affected him. I think he feels like he doesn’t belong in the normal society and I think this makes him act out and makes the people around him seem even more “normal”.

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