The Sun in The Stranger

In The Stranger, the sun is used to symbolize Meursault’s inner conflicts and feelings about the meaning of life. The sun and heat persist without any regard for comfort which symbolizes Meursault’s general dismissal of humanity. 

During the funeral, instead of being overwhelmed by emotion, Meursault is focused solely on his physical discomfort from the sun. He states that the sun and heat were “unbearable” and made it “hard for [him] to see or think straight”. This however is a direct contrast with the earlier feelings of happiness that he felt during the funeral that originated from cigarettes. The physical discomfort represented by the sun can symbolize one’s lack of importance in the world and how in Meurault’s mind death and pain can’t be avoided so therefore there is little meaning in life. The motif of the sun returns later in the passage when Meursault kills the Arab man. He again describes the sun as a “burning which [he] couldn’t stand anymore” and directly relates it to the sensations he experienced during his mothers funeral. 

Overall the sun has a very negative connotation. In both instances the negative description of the sun appears to foreshadow some type of bad event in Meursault’s life.

The Myth of Sisyphus: The Deeper Meaning

The main concern of The Myth of Sisyphus is what the author calls absurd. This claim stems from the idea that there is a conflict between what we want from the universe and what we’ll get from the universe. That we won’t find what we truly want in life. This argument is told through the story of Sisyphus who, after dying and going to the underworld, asks Pluto (part of the universe) to return to earth which Pluto allows. After realizing how beautiful earth Sisyphus does not want to return to the underworld, however, Mercury (also part of the universe) forced Sisyphus to return to the underworld. After returning to the underworld people created myths of Sisyphus and how he was being punished in the underworld (though “hopeless labor”), one being that he had to push a rock up a large slope and once he was able to make it to the top of the slope he had to return back to his rick to repeat the process. Camus utilizes this to further explain that having meaning and purpose on earth is only an escape from facing the absurd and struggling against it.