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The Stranger – Albert Camus

September 6, 2008

I figured since I was on vacation, I would attempt to read something a little bit deeper. I took quite a few philosophy classes in college and was familiar with Camus, but never read any of his books. I chose The Stranger because it looked promising.

The Stranger tells the story of an emotionally detached, amoral young man named Meursault. When the book opens, Mersault has just found out his mother has passed away. He does not cry at his mother’s funeral, he does not believe in God, and, a day after he attends his mother’s funeral, he kills a man he barely knows without any discernible motive. For his crime, Meursault is deemed a threat to society and sentenced to death. When he comes to accept the “gentle indifference of the world,” he finds peace with himself and with the society that persecutes him.

The Stranger illustrates Camus’ philosophy of the absurd. Camus’s absurdist philosophy implies that moral orders have no rational or natural basis, which differs slightly from exestentialism, which implies there is no “higher” meaning to the universe or to man’s existence, and no rational order to the events of the world.

This was an interesting book to read. It really made me think a little about life and about just how much I disagree with Camus’ philosophy. I would highly recommend reading this book. It is short and a fairly simple read with lots of great thought provoking themes.

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