The Stranger Analysis
When a writer writes a novel, he/she considers his/her target audience and how he/she can satisfy their reading pleasure. The writer captivates his/her writers by choosing the right person who tells his or her novel. If the writer chooses the right person to tell his or her story, the story will be relevant to the target audience but if he or she chooses an inappropriate person to tell his or her story, the story may not meet its intended impact on the readers.
The novel ‘The Stranger’ by Albert Camus is shaped through the story told by a young man who worked in Algiers when he heard through a telegram about her mother’s death. The author used one of his characters called Meursault who was a French Algerian to tell his view on the theme of insensitivity to culture and life in general. The story is told by the main character, so it is written mainly using the first person. The first-person narrative before and after the death of Meursault’s mother shows how Albert Camus brings out the meaning of his knowledge – that insensitivity in the society is for strangers who will be condemned for their insensitivity. The choice of the young Algerian by the author shaped the novel and brought meaning to it. Choosing the main character of the novel to be the teller of the story made it real and captivating. It enabled the author to express his message exactly as things are in society in order to appear more real and interesting.
The person telling a novel is a way that someone uses to communicate an issue. If the person who is experiencing that issue is chosen to tell it, then the audience will follow and understand the issue better than when the second or third person is used. This is the method used by Camus in his novel, The Stranger. Through Meursault’s own words told by him in the novel, it is clear that he is insensitive and does not show any emotion to even critical issues such as the death of his mother and his murder of an Arab. The character explains how he even did not show any concern to her girlfriend Marie who was a former employee of his company.
The narrator of the novel demonstrates his own insensitivity and lack of feelings in order to give meaning to the novel based on the philosophy of Albert Camus. The narrator’s insensitivity is shown when he says, “Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure” (Camus 1). Through this statement, the person telling the story brings out the meaning of insensitivity and lack of emotion in his reaction.
Albert Camus chose a Frenchman domiciled in Algeria instead of choosing natives of Algeria in order to build his novel on the perspective that people who do not belong to a certain culture are never sensitive to that culture. In fact, he uses the title “the stranger” as a symbol of the narrator who acts like a stranger to the community and does not show any feelings – neither good nor bad. The author of this story bases the meaning of his novel on the meaning brought about by the main character through the first-person narration. It is clear that the author of the novel wanted to let the author tell his own story as a stranger to show the insensitivity of the “strangers.”
The choice of who tells a novel also affects the meaning of the novel in terms of underlying themes and perspectives of the novel. For example, in The Stranger by Albert Camus, the theme of insensitivity was brought out clearly by the main character of the novel who told his own story of insensitivity and lack of feelings. The story was also told to bring out the perspectives of the author who speaks of a stranger as an insensitive person to the culture of the community or the society.
The choice of content and language is also determined by the choice of who tells the story in a novel. This, in turn, influences the reader’s perception and determines his/her acceptance of the novel. In the novel by Albert Camus, the main character was chosen as a French Algerian so that it brings out the idea of a stranger because Algeria is predominantly made up of Arabs. This story, therefore, influences its meaning so that the reader understands it in terms of differences of people in terms of culture. The reader understands that the main character did not belong to the community of Algeria, so he did not care about their culture – that is why he was insensitive in everything. Meursault’s insensitivity is seen when he says, “Most of the men, however, were as thin as rakes” (Camus 8). This language by the main character brings the theme and meaning of insensitivity to culture.
In conclusion, it is clear that the choice of who tells the novel influences the meaning of the novel and how it is shaped. This is shown in The Stranger by Albert Camus whereby the author uses the main character Meursault to bring out the meaning of the novel. Meursault speaks in the first person to show how insensitive he is to all aspects of culture and relationships in society.
Works cited Camus, Albert. The Stranger. New York: Vintage Books. 1942. Print.