Albert Camus, a prominent French writer of the twentieth century, was famous for his philosophy of the absurd. The main principles of his theory are developed in his books. The Stranger was the first Camus’ novel. It perfectly illustrates his philosophical convictions, surprising people and making them think over the author’s conclusions. It was published in 1942 and together with his philosophical essay The Myth of Sisyphus brought honor and reputation to Camus. The novel had success among people due to the philosophical theory, which was new and extraordinary for them. The main character of the novel is a young man Meursault, who astonishes readers with his amorality and absolute indifference to everything around him. Neither sad nor happy events in his life affect him. He does not cry at his mother’s funeral, he does not love his girlfriend displays absolute indifference towards love and marriage.
Finally, he shots a man in cool blood, without any reason. Accused for the murder, he is sentenced to death. Waiting for it, Meursault comes to a conclusion that death is an inevitable event in life and he should accept as indifferently as everything he accepted before. Camus manages to convey his philosophical world-view due to particular composition of the novel. It consists of two parts, both of which end with a death. At the end of Part I the Arab is killed by Meursault and at the end of Part II Meursault himself is killed. These two examples of death serve to show the meaningless of life.
In The Stranger the theory of meaninglessness of life is developed gradually. The Arab’s death shows that a person can be killed occasionally and without any reason. Meursault kills him because he is irritated with the heat and murdering the Arab, wreaks his anger on him. With the development of the plot we see that Meursault is also convicted to death. Though the main character will die because of certain reasons, this time the author makes Meursault come to a conclusion about the absence of any sense in life. So, he accepts the fact of his death calmly and peacefully.
Meursault’s death and his preparation to it sum up the whole idea of the book. Meursault’s reflections upon the sense of his life convey the message of the author. Analyzing his life Meursault realizes that his life, as any person’s life, has no purpose. The universe is indifferent to him as well he is indifferent to the universe. The most certain event of everybody’s life is death, which happens sooner or later. Having come to such conclusion, Meursault is happy to die as he relieves of unnecessary searches of purpose of his life. In such a way he accepts the indifference of the world and does not worry about it any more. “As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself””so like a brother, really””I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, 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”ť (Camus 144).