The Stranger Short Summary
“The Stranger” is a novel composed by Albert Camus, a French author, in the year 1942. Its outlook and theme are usually cited as anecdotes of the author’s philosophy of the absurd and existentialism. However, Camus himself declined the latter categorization. The following is a summary of the book.
The Synopsis of the Story
Meursault is a shipping clerk dwelling in the 1940s French Algiers. He is a young, ordinary man who seems detached. The story commences with Meursault getting a telegram with the message about his mother’s demise. At his mother’s funeral, he leaves other mourners and well-wishers rather amused with his bizarre calmness and detachment.
In the course of the next two weeks, Meursault continues with life as if the unfortunate incident never occurred. He romps with his new girlfriend, becomes friends with a pimp, and even goes on a beach holiday with both of them. It is as if Meursault is oddly detached.
However, in the course of their beach vacation, Meursault and his companions are accosted by two Arab men. Suddenly a fight erupts that ends in Meursault killing one of the attackers. He gets arrested and questioned by the authorities. The only explanation he gave was that it was a hot day.
During his murder trial, the jury was more intrigued by Meursault’s coldness over the death of his mother than the alleged seriousness of his crime. The court finally resolved that Meursault is a nonconforming, cold-hearted and detached misanthrope, thereby sentencing him to death. In essence, the jury deems his personality – not crime, punishable by death.
As he awaits his execution on death row, Meursault finds it difficult to face the reality of his impending death. At one time, after becoming agitated with an irritating padre, Meursault eventually denounces Christianity. What’s more, he stubbornly declines to appeal to religion as an avenue of finding solace. After that, Meursault becomes part of the absurdist group upon declaring that the world is a meaningless and insurgent place without any rational order. He also adds that this is an infallible claim.
In the end, it can be argued that he gains enlightenment in prison. Nevertheless, some might also claim that whatever the case may be, Meursault’s anticipation of his execution is a confirmation of his mantra that life is pointless. At the very least, Meursault gets to exit society and all that goes with it.