On the third day of the class discussions, Taquan was able to elaborate for us the symbolism and reasoning for the use of the sun in Albert Camus’ The Stranger. He told us how in Greek Mythology, the sun reveals all and is power over everything. It is the eye in the sky and watches over everything. In The Stranger, the sun also causes Muersalt to unleash his weapon and take five shots at the Arab on the beach. The sun was the driving force behind a lot of the plot in the book.
There was also mention in our class discussion of Muersalt going against the society. Emily T, Meagan and I all realized Muersalt has no feeling inside. He was labeled “inhumane” in class. Albert Camus was an existentialist and happened to touch a lot on the theme of absurdity in The Stranger. The definition for absurd is 1. Utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false: an absurd explanation 2. the quality or condition of existing in a meaningless and irrational world. He was greatly influenced by other existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger. The reasons we think of Muersalt as an inhumane and emotionless person is because his way of thinking is without logic and senseless which is contrary to our reasoning. Muersalt’s aura of absurdity is evident in the quote, “I drank the coffee. Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn’t know if I could do I with Maman right there. I thought about it; it didn’t matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked.” (p 8) Albert Camus. This strikes me as being rude and kind of unnecessary when one is present at a funeral but Muersalt feels it is just fine.
Albert Camus’ great idea of the world as being meaningless is shown through Muersalt’s behavior. He is a character that is enigmatic and strange to the reader. To Muersalt, there is no point in certain things such as a punishment of death for killing another person because we are all supposed to die sooner or later. Albert Camus’ purpose for the sun was to show that there is a higher power in the world that is regulating his life and guiding him to his pre-determined fate which Meursalt believes he controls. But he does not control the thoughts of the judge or of the jury. When read the death sentence conviction, Muersalt feels nothing and accepts the fact that he is going to die just as he accepted everything else in his life.