The Stranger Figurative Language

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The Stranger is a philosophical novel written by Albert Camus during World War II. Having experienced the horror of war, Camus developed a sense of discontentment and skepticism towards the Western ideological beliefs, both secular and religious. Living in fear of the senseless atrocities, Camus developed his philosophy of the absurd based on the belief that humanity’s effort to search for meaning conflicts with the reality of an irrational universe. The protagonist of The Stranger, Meursault, embodies this rejection of values through his conflict with religion and alienation from society. Thus, Camus employs figurative language and narrative voice to portray Meursault’s detachment and explore the theme of being a “stranger” from society.
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Unburdened by his mother's death, Meursault goes to the beach and encounters Marie. Once again, Meursault fails to meet social expectations as he nonchalantly enjoys the beach after his mother’s funeral. However, he then feels compelled to excuse himself, saying, “it wasn’t my fault” (20) as if to justify his actions. Nonetheless, Meursault resumes his indifference attitude and refuses to subscribe to social codes. Later, Marie questions Meursault’s feelings for her, to which he replies, “it didn’t mean anything” (35). Though he notices that “she [looks] sad” (35), Meursault’s untactful response reveals his distaste for all forms of obligation. He stays true to his feelings without the need to mask or justify his lack of concern. Similarly, Meursault plays the role of an unemotional observer on Raymond’s treatment of his mistress. Though Raymond claims to have done nothing except “[smacking] her around a little, but nice-like” (31), a normal person would shake their head in disdain. However, as indifferent to everything as he is, Meursault narrates his conversation with Raymond with no judgment. Raymond’s passionate personality serves as a character foil to highlight Meursault’s detachment. Like a ‘stranger’, Meursault’s casual attitude towards the characters with whom he interacts enables him to act indifferently. Furthermore, much of his dialogue with other characters is presented in reported speech, establishing Meursault’s disconnection from the rest of society as a mere observer rather than a member of the

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