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.
2 thoughts on “The Sun in The Stranger”
I really appreciate that you took the deeper meaning of the sun and interpreted it as foreshadowing of a bad event. My one question is, what bad event do you think it is foreshadowing? Or does it refer back to the mom’s death and his inability to show affection for the meaning of life or humanity?
I hadn’t recognized this recurring theme until now. There is a much deeper meaning that can be derived from this story when one fully understands what the author intends to show them. It’s really incredible the depth and thought that’s evident in Camus’ writing.