The Stranger As We Know It

Throughout the novel “The Stranger” we know that Meursault is a stranger in his society. The way Camus wrote “The Stranger” mainly to challenge society’s moral standards, comes down to relationships, emotions, and actions. Being a stranger means being a stranger to the world. In the society of Algeria, men and women have these stereotypes that they are not supposed to break out of, where they are supposed to live life based on these norms. But the stranger is indifferent to what would be expected. They do the unexpected, they lead different lives from reality. And that’s what makes them strangers.

We know that Meursault is overall a very relaxed and honest person. But when a fun day with some friends leads to five gunshots, and four knocks to the door of unhappiness. Something must be wrong. In chapter 6 it says,

“The sun started to burn my cheeks and I could feel drops of sweat gathering in my eyebrows…It was this burning which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me step forward…I took a step, one step forward” (59).

From this passage we can sense some tenseness from Meursault, regarding the sun. At this point I’m thinking that Meursault is strange for blaming the sun for his silent breakdown. And when the Arab drew a knife on Meursault. Meursault, already on edge, shot him down. It’s more worrisome. It’s not the personality traits that make a person commit a crime, but the nurture (environment) that’s around them.

When thinking about the law and how it plays a part in Meursault life. We know that he wasn’t very fond of the police, which is what made Raymond like him. Because when it comes down to someone’s life, they’re either right or wrong, guilty or innocent. Which is a norm that everyone is a part of. And what Meursault had done, was the biggest mistake he could have made. Because now he is exposed to the government, and they don’t understand him. And they never would. Now facing the troubles that await him, realizing the always reality of being indifferent from the world.

How The Cure’s “Let’s Go To Bed” Ties Into The Stranger

In 1982, The Cure released a single titled “Let’s Go To Bed”, a new synth-pop sound that was drastically different from their previous work. To start, lyrics aside, the history of the song also ties into The Stranger in a way; The Cure was known for their gothic rock sound and it was predicted that the song would be hated by traditional fans of the band. However, Robert Smith, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of The Cure disregarded this fact and didn’t care that it may be hated, saying he enjoyed the song so it didn’t matter if it was hated. This could be tied into how Meursault does as he pleases without regard for how it may be received by other people.

As for the lyrics, they can definitely be connected to Meursault’s relationship with Marie and how casual it is, given that he feels little to no attachment to her, only really enjoying her company for casual sex. The chorus of the song is the repeated lines of “It’s just the same – a stupid game/ But I don’t care if you don’t/ And I don’t want it if you don’t/ And I won’t say it if you won’t say it first”. This chorus relates to his relationship with Marie in the sense that Meursault doesn’t attempt to start anything with her beyond casual activities. On his dates with Marie, Meursault often points out the pauses of silence between the two and that if Marie is being quiet, he won’t say anything and just leaves it at that. When Marie asks Meursault if he loves her and wants to marry her, he says that either way it doesn’t matter or make a difference to him but he will go along with what she wants. If Marie had never brought up marriage and love, a conversation about it wouldn’t have happened because Meursault definitely would not want or say that first. Meursault also says during their conversation about marriage that he would’ve said the same thing to any other woman, which could be related to the line “Another girl, another name” in the song.

Overall, both Meursault and “Let’s Go To Bed” frequently speak of causal relationships that don’t have much meaning outside of basic enjoyment, a recurring concept in The Stranger.