Why is A. Camus’ novel called “Stranger”?

Why is A. Camus’ novel called “Stranger”?


The novel “Stranger” is written in the genre of the philosophical parable. This multifaceted work, recreating the situation of social alienation rights.

Roman – notes of the ill-fated murderer who is awaiting execution after the trial, are willy-nilly perceived as an invitation to think about the fairness of the sentence, like a petition for clemency, addressed to the court of human conscience.

In the drafts of A. Camus there are various versions of the title of the novel: “Happy Man”, “Indifferent”; the name on which A. Camus was chosen could be translated as “stranger”, “stranger”, “outsider”; there was another name given to the Russian literary critic in Paris – “The Stranger”. Significant names of the characters: Merso as it consists of two words – “death” and “the sun.”

The hero of the novel Merso is a generalized image representing the “natural man” J.-J. Rousseau. Having broken internal communications with the society, Merso lives, obeying instincts.

There is only one thing left: he is “stranger”, “stranger”. But an outsider to whom? for what? On this account Camus has no doubt: the involuntary murderer was convicted for not playing by the rules of others. He is tried not for murder, he killed a man unconsciously. Merso is judged for neglecting conditional forms of relations between people accepted in society. He refuses to lie, says what he really is, he avoids disguise, “and now he feels himself in jeopardy,” because he rejects a world woven of hypocrisy. Merco chooses freedom to know that the world is absurd. Refusing to compromise, Merso accepts death. The novel is divided into two equal parts. In the first part, Camus talks about the boring ordinary life of a bachelor: the death of a mother in an almshouse, a meeting with Marie, a relationship with a neighbor, according to rumors, a pimp, conversations with another neighbor, yearning for the loss of a dog… And suddenly this madness happens – the murder of an Arab. The stupid shot was caused more by the fuss of the afternoon heat and the physical exhaustion of the Meursault than by malicious intent.

Merco gets to the dock. He is not going to hide anything, even helping the investigation. But the court must prove his “hardened crime.” Among the “quirks”



of Merso find one completely unforgivable – he is truthful to the point that he does not care about his own profit at all. And this seems to be especially dexterous to others.

In the second part, one day, the experience is reconstructed during the trial. The same events are shown in the interpretation of the judges, and these events turn out to be distorted beyond recognition.

The mediocre life is turned into “the life of a villain.” The dry eyes in front of the mother’s coffin are interpreted as the callousness of a moral monster, the evening of the next day, held with Marie – as a sacrilege, an acquaintance with a pimp neighbor – as belonging to the criminal world. The court turns into a play.

“I have never met such a hard heart like yours!” The criminals who came here always cried seeing this image of sorrow, “the judge said.

At the trial, the witnesses told Meerso what he knew about himself: that he did not want to look at the dead mother, that he smoked, that he fell asleep at the coffin, that he drank coffee with milk. This outraged all those present, but the witnesses spoke the truth, and Merso did not see anything reprehensible in what he said. Then they worked out in detail whether he was crying… and other features of the behavior of Merso, in which he did not find anything special. And one of the witnesses to the question of what he thinks about Meursault, said: “He was a man.” Marie, a friend of Merso, spoke of him passionately: “He is a decent and honest man.” Merso is sent to the scaffold, in effect, not for the perfect murder, but for neglecting hypocrisy. To the question: “What is accused of the defendant?” That he buried his mother, or that he killed a man? “- the prosecutor replies that he accuses Merso,

Before the execution, Merso did not receive the priest, did not allow him to embrace himself, “the accused felt that he had little time and did not want to spend it on God.”

In the end, Merso understands the meaning of human life. His principles are simple: sooner or later, old or young, in his own bed or on the scaffold, everyone will die alone. And before this truth all the mirages behind which people are chasing are melting. Why did you come to the world, why do you disappear without a trace, that’s the whole story about the meaning, or rather, the meaninglessness of life. Merso does not encroach on the imaginary shrines of civilization – he simply shies away from them and wants to be left alone, allowing him to enjoy his joys.

Everything looks as if, without an absurd shot on the beach, an outsider with his life, you look, and would answer the question: how and for what to live, if life is approaching death? A. Camus saw in his Merso a man who, without claiming heroism, agrees to die for the truth.



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Why is A. Camus’ novel called “Stranger”?