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MLA
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Literature & Language
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Book Review
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English (U.S.)
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“The Stranger” Book Review Writing Assignment Paper (Book Review Sample)

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“The Stranger” Book Review

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“The Stranger” Book Review
The Stranger is a two-part novel authored by Albert Camus. The book was first published in 1946. Camus reconnoiters “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd” through this story of an ordinary man who was unwittingly drawn into a murder crime. The absurdist novel revolves around the character Meursault who was detached from the society. The whole story is about the estrangement of a person in an indifferent and benign universe where conformity prevails. The author pokes holes to the concept of compliance to the society, religious and legal systems. He makes the evils of the society more evident through the use of the first person tone. The audience is left to judge the implications of the actions of Meursault to him and the society.
The first part of the novel gives details of a love affair, a funeral, and murder. The section is full of the insignificant days of Meursault’s life probably to prepare the reader for the climax. The conflict is then set towards the end of the first part when Meursault kills an Arab. Murder in the periods of social unrest (the 1930s) was a common occurrence. The action is also made less significant as it was unintentional. It occurred during the intensity of the moment and the reflecting sunlight from the blade of the Arab had obscured Meursault. However, the jury and the public are harsh on the suspect primarily because he is different. The prosecution focuses on the indifference and detached life of Meursault throughout the trial, and the murder itself is given little significance. They bring up his lack of remorse during his mother’s death and the fact that he had sex with Marie the next day. It even leads the prosecutor to exclaim at one point of the scene that, “an inhuman monster without moral sense” (Camus 60).
Meursault is different from the rest of the society. The audience recognizes his apathetic nature from the first line of the novel. He begins by saying “Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure” (Camus 4). His indifference to his mother’s death contrasts greatly to the distress that Salamano experienced when he lost his dog. Therefore, from the first instance, the author introduces a character who does not appreciate life or any person around. However, ironically Meursault begins to see the value of life after the trial when it was effectively over. He started noticing people and even showed emotions. When Celeste spoke to him at the trial, he said that “it was the first time I wanted to kiss a man” (Camus 58).
The prosecution and execution of Meursault are entirely based on his detachment from the society. The fact that murder was not uncommon in the setting of the story makes the trial and ruling more ridiculous. The jury and the public are displeased with the character due to his apparent indifference. The historical and cultural settings of the French make it so repugnant and incomprehensible for an individual not to weep at his mother’s funeral (Masur 2). The individual should, therefore, be banished from the society. Camus rests Meursault’s conviction on the evidence that he is an outsider due to his difference from the society. It raises leads the reader to wonder if the laws of the society can be trusted as the measures of the right from the wrong.
The courtroom drama is representative of the society as a whole. Camus uses all the minor characters in the first part as witnesses in the trial against Meursault. Therefore, each member of the community is represented. The law is the will of the people, and the judge is the persons responsible for its implementation....
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