The Stranger

"She asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said it didn't make any difference to me…" (Camus 41). In The Stranger, by Albert Camus, Muersault's opposition with the moral and ethical views of society led him to an inevitable fate. Through his lack of emotional relationships, sense of destiny and self-image, Meursault created a world very different than society's expected standards. He especially differed in sensitivity.

The natural man, in Meursault's mind had only one need to care about: physical needs. To Meursault, emotion was not necessary. It did not matter nor did he care. When dealing with love, he addressed the situation with Marie, at the time she asked if he loved her by merely saying, "I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so" (Camus 35). Marie is deeply disturbed that he would say such a thing. Usually a person would have said yes or I'm not sure at the moment. He responded the same way when Marie asks if he would marry her. Again Meursault takes critical a blow with the social order that insists on couple marriages built around love.

Romantic love was not the only love Meursault misplaced. He also demonstrated no affection towards his mother, particularly after he placed her in a nursing home. To him putting her in the home was nothing more than getting rid of the expense. Deep down he thought he loved Maman, but if he truly had he would have at least cried at her funeral. Sadly, he did not cry, or even stranger, he refused to see her body. After the funeral he thought "that Maman was buried now… and that, really, nothing had changed" (24). Morosely, he thought nothing of loyalty and love towards his family. Humanity frowns down on something like this, for it believes that an individual should care for a family member at times of physical weakness. It also believes that one should be sensitive towards the death of family members. Before Meursault had taken one step into his young life, he was already an offender to society.

By the time he had taken another step in life he found himself in another battle against humanity. Life did not mean much to him, let alone his own. He stressed many times that he could not control his life, "people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that and that I wasn't dissatisfied with mine here at all" (41). He may have been content with his life, but he did not hold the capacity to understand the preciousness of each individual life. Because of this, he was scorned for wasting such a valuable thing.

Muersault, moreover, did not worry much about his free will either. As long as he had something to do he had no problems. Although, after shooting the Arab, society begged to differ. Taking quick to anger the law wanted justice. No faster had he ended up in jail did he realize that his captivity was just as good as his freedom, "…from that day on I felt that I was at home in my cell and that my life was coming to a standstill there" (72). The more Meursault fought the world's morals and seemed unharmed, the faster his self-image deteriorated.

Meursault perceived himself as a fairly good person, one who had never been criticized nor judged, but he realized to late that humanity always judges. While on trial the opposing lawyer explains that " a man who is morally guilty of killing his mother severs himself from society…" (101-02). Right away the people there reject his acts and pronounces a sentence of death on him.

Condescendingly, Meursault never felt much about death. Ever since Maman's funeral he "hadn't wanted to see Maman…hadn't cried once…" and "had left the funeral without paying his last respects to her grave" (89). He left only thinking how hot it was. The same happened when he shot the Arab; he thought of nothing but the hot sun.

In the end, Meursault found that he was in a moral battle with Society that he could not win. He rejected sentimental feelings that every human accepted and was initiated with hatred by the world. When he thought that no one judged him, he was placed before a crowd of people that condemned him with harsh condemnation. He saw nothing good in life or the freedom it gave; therefore society inflicted him with death, which in turn, was his eternal captivity.