Ryan R's Reviews > The Stranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites

The book is simply written and a rather quick read, but the depth Camus manages to convey through this simplicity is astounding. I think a problem a lot of people have with this book is that they fail to look beyond the whole "what is the meaning of life" message. While an interesting question, the book raises so many other philosophical questions beyond this. What I found the most interesting of these is "what truly defines humanity or makes someone human?" During Meursault's trial, he is constantly accused of not showing remorse and therefore as being cold and inhuman. He is most definitely human though, just rather detached. This raises the question of whether one should be expected to exhibit certain characteristics in certain situations to "keep their humanity".

Also it raises the question of whether much of our emotion is created by ourselves or the expectations of others to exhibit certain emotions in a given sitatuion. The book is also an indictment on people's efforts to dictate other people's lives. We are constantly told what is right and as a means to justify our own sense of "what it means to be human". We often impose these characteristics upon others, expecting them to fulfill similar traits and characteristics, as they have been already imposed on us. It is in a way, a self-justification of our actions as right or "humanly". Constantly, Meursault is being told he must live and/or act a certain way, whether it be by the judge, his lawyer, or the priest. Once he doesn't conform to these measures, he is marginalized and called "inhuman"; this is an attempt on the part of the others to rationalize their own ways of life and understandings. If they manage to declare him "inhuman", it allows them to call themselves human and justify their own means of living.

In the end, this book is one that raises many more questions than it answers, but in true philosophical fashion, they are really questions without answers.
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Reading Progress

May 22, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
May 26, 2008 – Finished Reading
May 31, 2008 – Shelved as: favorites

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

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Marylisa DeDomenicis I find it interesting too, that Meursault tells the story in past tense, but at one point in the book states that he doesn't look backward (is this a character flaw, mental illness,personality trait?) only forward to what will happen next. Even at the end, his end, he is obsessed with the possibility of possibility; that there be room for variation...interesting.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

What I found interesting about the way people reacted to his apparent lack of remorse was the notion that maybe there is no big underlying truth. Maybe it's ridiculous to think that we place such high value on these things when really it's all pretty trivial and meaningless.




message 3: by Miada (new)

Miada assy i just wanna know how to find the whole story to read can you help me and send me the website that you read this story in?


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

to ryan: bravo perfect explanation...you can tell it is def a childhood miscommunication from parent(s); Deomenicis: personality trait prob from mom; deleted user: personality trait...word; assy: please just buy the book...its a slow read.


message 5: by Jana (last edited May 10, 2014 03:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jana Chaaban I just finished reading it, but in French. The description you give here conveys exactly what I think of the book. Many people fail to read between the lines or beyond the simple style in which the story is written. The Stranger raises many philosophical questions and, for the first time, I felt uneasy reading a book. It left me thinking about the unspoken rules of society and how important of a role they can play in our lives. I personally couldn't relate to Meursault's passive, detached attitude, but I understood it. He was dehumanized in his trial because he was a stranger to the tacit norms of society. He was accused of murder but executed for not having cried in his mother's funeral!


Spencer Scott " The book is also an indictment on people's efforts to dictate other people's lives. We are constantly told what is right and as a means to justify our own sense of "what it means to be human". We often impose these characteristics upon others, expecting them to fulfill similar traits and characteristics, as they have been already imposed on us. It is in a way, a self-justification of our actions as right or "humanly". Constantly, Meursault is being told he must live and/or act a certain way, whether it be by the judge, his lawyer, or the priest. Once he doesn't conform to these measures, he is marginalized and called "inhuman"; this is an attempt on the part of the others to rationalize their own ways of life and understandings. If they manage to declare him "inhuman", it allows them to call themselves human and justify their own means of living." Yes. All of this.


Lola a beautiful review. I totally agree with you


Vanika Sumbly This is exactly what I thought immediately after reading the book.
A very great review indeed and succinctly put. kudos!


message 9: by Mai (new) - added it

Mai Trang great review. Thank you very much


message 10: by Ecke (new) - added it

Ecke Brandt Your review inspired me for an English essay I had to do in this book, thank you very much, is a great one <3


Tabassum Tamanna Camus shows us the reality of our surroundings.camus shows us what actually happens to someone in this society.Yes,Meursault is a non-conformist.But,he tries to cope with this world.He wants the society to judge him for his actual crime.But,what society did?They didn't show any interest in his crime except the matter that he had not shown any remorse at his mother's funeral.He understands that there is no scope for him to get forgiveness.As the society remains indifferent to him,he leaves this society.Everyone in this society is an outsider. The society only value the law and conformity,not humanity.


Logan Spader Short and precise. Thank you.


message 13: by Sam (new)

Sam Brilliantly written review.
Thought provoking.


Chandhni Sivashunmugam Wonderfully put.


Quaima Boylan conformity right? there are times I feel meurasualt, not showing empathy at times most people want me to


message 16: by Senam (new) - added it

Senam Fiagbenya In truth, I struggled to understand why anyone would give this book five stars. After reading this review and preceding comments, I now appreciate the decision. Good one.


Shane Leonard Great review!


Phoebe Oyugi great review. I'm one of those people you described in your opening line who couldn't go beyond the existentialism. But reading your review gave me a whole new perspective. I think I'll try to read it again and look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. thanks for sharing your opinion


Bella I just finished reading the French version and the one that follows it called Meursault Contre-Enquete by Daoud who gives the "Aram man" a name, family and a story. Pretty interesting.


message 20: by Faizan (new) - added it

Faizan Mushtaq Exactly!


message 21: by demi (new) - rated it 5 stars

demi My thoughts exactly! Great review


Ayşe Karabacak https://youtu.be/miSu8V08ux8

Albert Camus Yabancı kitabı incelemem📚


Vikram Byas Thanks , This review has helped me understand the book better to some extent


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