Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. How do we know the world of The Stranger is irrational? How do different characters react to this irrationality?
2. How do Meursault’s and Marie’s views of their relationship differ?
3. Compare Meursault to Raymond Sintes. How are the two neighbors different? How are they similar?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Trace the development of Meursault’s philosophy. How does he come to open himself to “the gentle indifference of the world”? What spurs his revelation? How do earlier events in the novel prepare us to expect it?
2. We see characters in the book solely through Meursault’s eyes, but Meursault typically tells us very little. Using the information that Meursault provides, analyze a character such as Marie and Raymond. What level of insight does Meursault provide into these characters’ personalities?
3. Compare and contrast the relationship between Salamano and his dog with the relationship between Meursault and his mother. What are the similarities? Which is more loving?
4. Discuss the style of The Stranger. How does Meursault’s language correspond to the subjects he describes? Does it evolve or change as the novel goes on? Does the stripped-down prose of the novel’s first half limit its expressive power?
5. Is Meursault really a threat to his society? Does he deserve the death penalty? Is he more or less dangerous than a criminal who commits a crime with clear motive?
6. In his jail cell, Meursault finds an old newspaper article about a Czechoslovakian man who is murdered by his mother and sister. How does this article relate to Meursault’s own trial for murder? How does this article expand the themes in The Stranger? How does it support Camus’s philosophy of the absurd?
7. Analyze the passages describing Meursault’s walk down the beach before he kills the Arab. How does Camus build tension in the passage? How is it different from the passages preceding it? Meursault says at his trial that he killed the Arab because of the sun. Is this explanation at all valid?
by I dont need a bluddy nick name, March 21, 2013
This Spark Note describes Meursault as being amoral. I completely disagree with this interpretation. It is not that Meursault does not understand right and wrong but rather that his ideas of right and wrong differ from those of society. This different moral code can be seen by the way he refuses to break his own morals. He may not value life but he does value honesty and his disbelief in a higher being. Throughout the book he never lies or pretends to have faith in God not even to save his life. His specific moral code is founded in Camus` ... Read more→
94 out of 105 people found this helpful1
by dmborong, April 11, 2013
Albert Camus' idea of morality in 'The Stranger' is completely unconventional and this can be seen through the protagonist who is a total embarrassment to the society in which he finds himself. This disparity between what is expected of Meursault and what he displays forms the basis of Albert Camus' philosophy of morality. There is a big question mark on conventional morality which the author finds to be absurd. He seems to be questioning the fabric of societal morality on grounds of motivation; are some of those values upheld merely for con... Read more→
15 out of 18 people found this helpful0
by OverseasTeacher, April 29, 2013
Morality is simply the way that an individual chooses between opposing values in a given situation.
So, lets say "Prolife" vs "Prochoice" as a moral issue. Regardless of your position, you are pushing values. The question isn't "is a fetus valuable?" or "is a woman's right to choose what happens to her body valuable?"
The vast majority of the world would answer yes to both. No, the question is... "which is more valuable if you can't have both?"
In this way, morality requires an active decision making.
This is wher