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Indifference – “The Stranger” by Albert Camus

Indifference – “The Stranger” by Albert Camus

The opening of this book is unforgettable. It sets the mood for the novel itself. Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know.

Meursault is a character known for his indifference. He speaks laconically. With his ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude, he ends up killing an Arab man.

The writing style of this book is simplistic, almost similar to that of Catcher in the Rye. You can almost experience the extremely painful monotony of every day and the absurdity of life.

At one point in the book, our protagonist states, his physical needs often get in the way of his feelings or emotions. Flipping through the pages of The Stranger by the 20th-century philosopher Albert Camus, at times Meursault’s character and his nonchalance to everything surrounding him
may seem repulsive. His constant indifference to situations, even when it works against him, seems almost stubborn. Let’s dig a little deeper.

The Stranger

Meursault does not cry at his mother’s funeral. It might seem like a somewhat normal behavior at first, later on, in the novel, people hold this as a sort of evidence against him. As if somehow whether you cry at your mother’s funeral is a certificate for your moral compass. Reading this
the book was similar to watching the popular TV series Breaking Bad – it’s a real dilemma to choose between rooting for vs. against the main character.

Even though Meursault’s crime to me seems to be an act of self-defense, not at a single point on the book did he truly take a stand for himself. He chooses to speak very blatantly, coming across to everyone as psychopathic. It’s almost as if he let the waves carry him away wherever. Through
The Stranger, Albert Camus ultimately explores the façade of society. How the ultimately free man is not bound to the chains of society.

If he had only acted according to society’s standards and perhaps cried at his mother’s funeral, not drunk coffee at his mother’s funeral, not gone on a date the day after, will he have come across as a better human in the eyes of the jury?

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