Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Stranger

Rating: 9

Meursault is alone.

No family, no father, and very few friends, but content with his life. Losing his Maman made little difference to him. His joy is in sensuality—what he can see, what he can smell, what he can taste, what he can hear, what he can touch. Likewise, his anger springs from a sensual assault—the burning sun on a stifling day in Algiers caused him to commit a horrible crime, one that, strangely, he doesn’t even regret—rather, it only annoys him.

Meursault is probably the strangest character I have ever come across in literature. Quiet, very appreciative of beauty, but virtually without feeling (“emotionally retarded”), Meursault is a total rationalist who was masterfully crafted by Albert Camus. Because this is such an amazing story, the focus is not on the plot nearly so much as the character. However, the plot complements the character in such a brilliant fashion as to make this book a true masterpiece. Meursault’s condemnation to the death penalty was because he didn’t weep at his mother’s funeral (which doesn’t make sense, as the first stage of grief is denial, and the last is true mourning), not because he committed any crime. But it is his condemnation that makes him a real man and forces him to understand and really feel something—hatred for a world which hates those who are different.

I would have given this book a 10, but there is some graphic-ish material that I cannot recommend to anyone, let alone younger readers. (I had to read it for my English class, by the way, though it was on my reading list prior to my reading it.) Also, I had to have a teacher to fully understand this book—if I had read this before taking a literature class, I wouldn’t have fully appreciated Albert Camus’s genius or the depth of the story. I’m not saying that if you haven’t had a literature class you can’t read it—I’m not very good at “getting things” a lot of the time, and you guys are probably much better at it—but I am saying that I really do not think that anyone under sixteen should read this. Smile

What about you? I’m curious. This isn’t a book that comes up in discussion a lot in the blogging world—it seems to be one of those that “nonChristian die-hard classic fans” would read. But have any of you read it?

2 comments:

  1. I have. I can't decide if it one-ups Martin Eden for me or not. It's sooo good. But kind of creepyish too.

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    1. Yeah it was weird that he was so emotionless.

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