'The Stranger' is Published

For Camus, life has no rational meaning or order.

We have trouble dealing with this notion and continually struggle to find rational structure and meaning in our lives. This struggle to find meaning where none exists is what Camus calls, the absurd. So strong is our desire for meaning that we dismiss out of hand the idea that there is none to be found. Camus wrote The Stranger as an enticement to his readers, to think about their own mortality and the meaning of their existence. The hero, or anti-hero, of The Stranger is Meursault. His life and attitudes possess no rational order. His actions are strange to us, there seems to be no reason behind them. We are given no reason why he chooses to marry Marie or gun down an Arab. For this, he is a stranger amongst us. And when confronted with the absurdity of the stranger's life society reacts by imposing meaning on the stranger.

The Stranger or The Outsider, (L’Étranger) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1942. Camus' first novel, it is perhaps his best-known work, and a key text of twentieth-century philosophy. Its theme and outlook are often cited as examples of existentialism, though Camus did not consider himself an existentialist; in fact, its content explores various different philosophical schools of thought, including (most prominently and specifically) absurdism, as well as determinism, nihilism, naturalism, and stoicism.

The title character is Meursault, a French man (characterised by being largely emotionally detached, innately passive, and anomic) who seemingly irrationally kills an Arab man whom he recognizes in French Algiers. The story is divided into Parts One and Two: Meursault's first-person narrative view before and after the murder.