The Theme of The Stranger and Real Life

I think that the theme of The Stranger is that although the rejection of society’s values can be very detrimental to the survival and success of an individual, by rejecting cultural values we are given the opportunity to create our own values, and in so doing impose order on an absurd world and achieve true fulfillment. This is shown various times throughout the novel. Meursault, through his breach of his society’s command to not murder, puts his own values and desires above those of his society and is imprisoned and set to be executed. However, he accepts this as a necessary consequence of his actions by accepting his execution and time in prison. And he decides that, even though he has died because of it, he is happy that follows his own values and rejects the chaplain’s attempt to impose values on him.

This is all well and good, but how should we apply this insight into real life? I think we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath-water; that is, I don’t think that we should reject all cultural values; or even that creating our own values is the only way to achieve true fulfillment. My parents, for example, have followed societal values, but they’re fulfilled (I think). Rather, I think life is better lived when we just question our values. We don’t have to copy Meursault and ignore all societal values, but we should emulate his questioning of the daily values we take for granted.

2 thoughts on “The Theme of The Stranger and Real Life

  1. KYLIE HOUGHTON

    I agree with your last paragraph to an extent. I agree that if we fully see life just as Meursault does we will end up lost and confused and most likely make harmful or irrational decisions. However, I think we should carefully choose our values and constantly evaluate them

    Like

  2. CADEN P

    I agree with you´re first paragraph but the second paragraph I believe is a little different than Meursault’s situation. I think he believes that the sentence and the acts he did that made him realize what he deserved is different than Meursault and his social values and what he believes. Him killing a man and being sentenced to death is a bit different than social constructions.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s