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The Stranger: Reflection

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The Stranger Final Reflection

One of the main themes in Albert Camus’s The Stranger is that the universe is irrational and life has no meaning. Camus’s writing strongly supports the idea that a person’s life is meaningless and has no structure or real order. Over the course of the novel, the main character Meursault exhibits odd behavior in comparison to that of the other “normal” characters Camus introduces. The character that best relates to the idea of a rational universe is the Magistrate.
Meursault first encounter with the magistrate reveals how unemotional and distant from the general principles of society he is. At the beginning of the conversation the magistrate asks Meursault whether he had hired an attorney. His response to the question is, “I said I thought my case was pretty simple.”(pg 63) One would think a normal and rational member of society wouldn’t flat out admit to their guilt. A person who valued there life and freedom would try at any means necessary to avoid imprisonment.
In that same first interaction between the magistrate, Meursault displays another odd characteristic. As the meeting is adjourned he thinks of shaking the magistrates hand as if they had just had a formal meeting about something minute and unimportant. “On my way out I was even going to shake his hand, but just in time, I remembered that I had killed a man.”(pg 64) In reality Meursault was a criminal and had killed a man. Here, his thoughts clearly indicate his idea of life having no meaning or value. The final meeting between Meursault and the Magistrate inevitably seals his fate. The magistrate repeatedly offers Meursault help but says he has to turn to god first. The overwhelming question that comes up is if Meursault believes in god. “…asking me if I believed in god. I said no.”(pg 69) This response angers the Magistrate resulting in a discussion on Christianity...

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