Two Stories in One

While reading the story, it came to my attention that in the text, Hamid develops two stories at the same time. He builds the story of immigrants’ journey from their old country to new, as well as a love story between two people that were seemingly perfect for each other. From the beginning, the reader follows the story of people trying to escape from their destroyed native land, while having to make difficult choices like leaving behind family. Saeed has to leave his family behind, and pursue a place that is best for him and his values. He and Nadia encounter multiple different living situations after leaving home. They keep searching until they find a place where they are comfortable. These are the usual events of a classic immigrant story.

In addition, from the beginning of the story, Hamid builds the relationship between Nadia and Saeed, to form a love story that seems to be like every other. The two stay with each other through multiple obstacles, while exploring themselves to find what they really want from life. However, this generic love story takes an unexpected turn when Nadia and Saeed begin to grow apart. Even after everything they had been through, the decided it was best to go their separate ways since they were looking for different things in a relationship. This turn transformed a generic love story into an intriguing and unfamiliar one.

The fact that Hamid was able to merge these two great stories into one, shows just how skilled he is in writing. This, combined with his unorthodox sentence style, keeps the reader engaged throughout the book. It also exemplifies the intricacies of being an immigrant, such as how much their life changes in such a short period of time.

Mersault and society

In Albert Camus’ The Stranger, the main character, Mersault’s relationship with society throughout the text is virtually nonexistent. There is a disconnect between the two that defines his obscurity in the story. This includes many incidents such as his unbothered response his mother’s death, his willingness to murder someone with no hesitation, and his feelings toward death at the end of the text.

While people who were not related to his mother were mourning, he was more interested in smoking. When threatened with a knife, he shot and killed the aggressor, even shooting him four more times after. His reasoning was that the sun was bothering him. He reasoned himself into not being afraid of death, and actually looking forward to it. All of these moments contrast what one would expect from a common member of society, since they are seen as morally wrong. However, the disconnect between Mersault and societal values, leads him down a unique path in life, ultimately leading to his premature death in jail.

Doesn’t Matter

My thoughts on Part One of The Stranger, are that it is a very well-structured story, which connects the reader with the characters, and portrays Mersault’s personality very well. His actions evince his character throughout the story.

Mersault is portrayed as a peculiar person. He does not fit in society in that he shows indifference in every situation he’s in. He doesn’t care about the things that happen, since he believes that they don’t matter. This can be shown in his relationship with his ‘love interest’. When she asks Mersault if he loves her, he responds, ” I told her it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so”(35). During a significant moment in his life, he reacts with indifference, as per usual in the story. The moments that show Mersault not caring about anything are constant. This builds his character for the readers, making it so that they know what to expect every time Mersault is faced with a problem. This is intentional from the author.

Then the author ends Part One by showing a contrast in Mersault’s character from what they showed before. Mersault kills someone who is looking to attack him, but after he is already dead, shoots him 4 more times. This shows emotion from Mesault, since even there was no reason to keep shooting, he felt anger that he needed to let out. This is where Part One ends, leaving the reader on the cliff hanger of finding out the reason for Mersault having a sudden change of character. This draws the reader into Part Two. The order of events and the structure of the story make for an intriguing read for the audience, a success for the author.