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Discussion of The Stranger by Albert Camus

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Discussion of The Stranger by Albert Camus

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » 08 Nov 2008, 14:18

This thread is for the discussing the November book of the month, The Stranger by by Albert Camus. This thread will contain spoilers, so please only read and post in this thread if you have already read the entire book.

What do you think of the book?

What do you think of Meursault? I like him, and I am very intrigued by his calmness. I think his calm and sort of indifferent nature made the story more interesting as opposed to more melodramatic stories and characters.

What do you think of Meursault's refusal to become religious before his execution? It seems to me that he viewed and accepted the way the universe treats him the same way he viewed and accepted the way the legal system treated him. To me, he does not seem to have any melodramatic reaction, but just seems to plainly accept the meaningless events and the direct effects they will have on him.

Please post any quotes or short excerpts from the book that you especially like. And post any questions you have for the rest of the group about the book.

Thanks,
Scott
Last edited by Scott on 01 Jun 2009, 23:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Number:#2  Postby perksofbeingme » 11 Nov 2008, 13:33

i really enjoyed the book. i thought that the synopsis on the back was very accurate: a man faced with the absurd. i found it rather sad how the series of events played out. hes decided he wants to get married to this woman that he falls in love with rather quickly. and its crazy how quickly his personality changes. hes a harmless gentleman and then he kills a man for someone he barely knows! my english professor would call him a superbly complex character and i'd have to say i agree.

does anyone think there was a gigantic metaphor going on? (I'm a symbolism junkie)
How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.
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apathy

Post Number:#3  Postby vznojohana » 12 Nov 2008, 15:26

I don't think that he is harmless at all. I think he is harmful in his apathy. I believe this is a lesson in apathy. Not that I do not have sympathy for the character. There is a point where he concedes that he had given up ambition when he had to quit his education.

Here is the story of a man who has deadened himself. His disconnection with his own emotions and his own sense of reality snowball into an absurd consequence.

glaring light - can represent truth and he can not handle glaring light.
We see that in much of the imagery.

heat - can represent passionate and strong emotions.
He completely short circuits when faced with heat.

He shot a man because the light and the heat were getting to him.
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Post Number:#4  Postby vznojohana » 14 Nov 2008, 16:34

wow. not exactly a hoppin' message board!
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Post Number:#5  Postby Isachair » 15 Nov 2008, 17:54

I liked the other characters as well. Salamano was excellent and I really felt for him. In regards to Meursalt, sometimes I thought he seemed content and other times withdrawn and unhappy. Maybe it was a consistent balance between the two which is a good way to be. He didn't seem to label anything with any emotion or as being good or bad. In the end, however, I got the sense that the murder and his pending death is really what freed him and truly accept what and who he was. Too bad though, he seemd to be on the brink of some major lifechanges; especially in regards to Marie and new found friends. Has anybody read anything else by him?
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Discussion of The Stranger

Post Number:#6  Postby uacatz » 19 Nov 2008, 18:25

Character development is important for the reader’s experience. Camus gives the reader Meursault. Meursault lives a very mundane existence and is only concerned with sensory experiences. The first part of the novel reads like a diary. The reader learns of the day-to-day events that Meursault engages in leading up to the murder of the Arab. By Camus using this strategy, “the reader gradually becomes aware that what he has chosen to omit is not the facts or events, but explanations. The reader has to fall back on his or her own experience and values in order to probe the unsaid” (Dunwoodie, xiv).
Camus engages the reader and makes them read between the lines, forcing them to hear what is not being said. Therefore, he accomplishes the governance of the reader’s experience with the use of his narrative strategies.
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Post Number:#7  Postby andr70 » 20 Dec 2008, 07:09

your opinions is very interesting...
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Post Number:#8  Postby onsuccess09 » 07 Apr 2009, 21:19

Good ideas, nice thing to share.
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Post Number:#9  Postby Shue » 08 Apr 2009, 12:50

i read the book a few years back and i really liked it. The Stranger was the first one that i read of Camus and i found out that the novel explores the ideas of absurdity in a great way!

the portrayal of the ideas, that the absurdists believed in, is greatly done in the book. i think the ideas found their culmination in Camus' last work The Fall. however, The Stranger is indeed a masterpiece of the existentialist movement! :D
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Post Number:#10  Postby sazzledazzle » 05 May 2009, 09:31

I read the book in school, in French.. and I have to say.. it confused me a lot. I didn't understand why Marsault led such a boring life! I found the book pretty hard to follow at some points. I think I'll need to read it again.
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Post Number:#11  Postby daniels_co » 06 Jul 2009, 03:38

i agree with u..
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Post Number:#12  Postby Moe » 21 Jan 2010, 21:20

I know I'm totally late to this party but can we talk about the last line?

"I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate."

Throughout the whole book he doesn't seem to care what others think and doesn't seem to understand why they think that way so I always found the last line incongruent with the rest of the novel. Why now in death does he want to be greeted with cries of hate? Why does he welcome the spectators hatred? I've always wondered why a character like Meursault would care what they thought. Or even taking it a step further would he even think about what others would think.

Don't leave me hanging people - what do you think?
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Post Number:#13  Postby AdamWest » 07 Feb 2010, 17:16

A formidable nominee for sure :D Love that book.... :P
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Post Number:#14  Postby Cliantha Doris » 12 Mar 2010, 23:46

I like the article, but that from the article I know maybe we can be good friends :)
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Post Number:#15  Postby Julius_Orange » 13 Mar 2010, 06:22

Moe wrote:I know I'm totally late to this party but can we talk about the last line?

"I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate."

Throughout the whole book he doesn't seem to care what others think and doesn't seem to understand why they think that way so I always found the last line incongruent with the rest of the novel. Why now in death does he want to be greeted with cries of hate? Why does he welcome the spectators hatred? I've always wondered why a character like Meursault would care what they thought. Or even taking it a step further would he even think about what others would think.

Don't leave me hanging people - what do you think?


Camus once criticized Kafka for not staying true to existentialism because his novels at times offered glimmers of hope for the protagonist at the end. I think you see his theory in practice here.

It could be taken several ways, but the way I took it on first read was that it was his last stand to not buckle under the pressure to change who he was; to not care about what people thought about him because it truly did not matter and would not change anything. It would make less sense for him to wish his friends to be their weeping for him.
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