Literary Analysis: How Meursault Is Indifferent in the Stranger, by Albert Camus

898 Words Mar 22nd, 2013 4 Pages
Literary analysis: How Meursault is indifferent in The Stranger, by Albert Camus

Although Meursault is the title character and narrator of Albert Camus’ short novel The Stranger, he is also a somewhat flat character. His apparent indifferent demeanor may be a convenience to Camus, who mainly wanted to display his ideas of absurdism. And as a flat character, Meursault is not fully delineated: he lacks deep thought and significant change. His purpose is that of a first-person narrator whose actions embody the absurd, even before he has any awareness of the fact. Since Meursault is embodied absurdism, it is not necessary that he be hyperaware of his thoughts and intentions. His truth has already been built into his character by the
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Meursault, having fulfilled his role as the embodiment of what would have otherwise been an abstract concept, sinks back into the indifferent world that Camus is battling against. Meursault sees the indifferent world as a brother, a friend. And the irrational people who will cheer his execution will just validate his idea of the indifference inherent in the world. In this ingenious display, Camus has revealed Meursault not only as the outsider who must face a cruel and irrational environment, not only as absurdism embodied, but also as a representation of the indifferent world itself. So, by the end of the novel, Camus has three-dimensionalized the originally flat Meursault: he becomes the isolated, the absurdist, and the anthropomorphized world.
His indifference to his mother’s death mirrors how an indifferent, anthropomorphized world would react to the death of a human who lived, loved, suffered, and died on its territory. Marie’s unrequited love for Meursault is also an example of indifference in the world. His indifference to her love for him shows that intense passions mean nothing to the world and are met with coldness after they temporally cease. In fact, a lover’s intensity can be seen as silly – irrationality at work – in contrast to the cold universe.
Meursault’s final three-dimensionality is Camus’s Sisyphus coming full circle. At the bottom of the mountain, after having reached the heights of emotion and also of despair, the

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