Inside The Mind of Meursault

The Stranger written by Albert Camus is largely a flow of consciousness into a character, Meursault. Things happen in the plot, events that would change someone’s life permanently, but the narration is so distant that it brings the focus away from the plot and to the mind of the character.

With Meursault as well as Camus’ portrayal of Sisyphus in “The Myth of Sisyphus”, the characters that are attached to existentialism aren’t very deep thinkers. Sisyphus goes from sad to happy, Meursault is more complicated in that he isn’t necessarily feel happy or sad, or important even in his own head. He finds some enjoyment in daily activities like eating and napping, and finds conversations interesting, but he feels neither unhappy or content.

For a lot of the story, Camus seems to throw problems and events at Meursault to see how he reacts. And for the most part, Meursault’s lifestyle is stagnant. The eleven months that pass of his questioning have virtually no effect on his mental state, and his five months in prison only act as recovery from things like going to the beach and smoking. Meursault values life for the sole purpose of being able to live, but there’s no reason for him to value time. The reader knowing the internal thoughts of Meursault shifts changes their views on a character like Meursault and allows for many different perspectives of him to be found.

4 thoughts on “Inside The Mind of Meursault

  1. Ben K

    I like how you’re portraying Camus as a god like figure in The Stranger here, literally testing Meursault to see how he will react. I think you’re also right that Meursault’s indifference to basically everything is strikingly consistent and is the reason why, by the end of the story, it seems that Meursault is not really that different, mentally than the man we met at the beginning of the novel.


  2. LINA E.

    I like the first sentence on the last paragraph describing the author as someone who can control what the central protagonist has to do. I agree with what you’re saying here, especially with the many different perspectives of Meursault.


  3. Isabelle J.

    I agree in that I think Camus purposely describes Meursault’s behavior as rote. I’m not entirely convicted however, as to whether he does this to reinforce the existentialist theme or just to further confuse the reader and make a more complex and discussible story.


  4. Cate R

    I like your idea that Camus is throwing different scenarios at Meursault to see how he reacts. It’s an interesting way to analyze the events of the book; I never thought about it that way.


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