In The Stranger, Philip Thody had a good judgement of the overall theme in the text. Thody concluded that Camus illustrated two contradicting themes, human life will be more worth living because it has no meaning and that a person who is lacking self-awareness will never have a correct representation of attitude towards life. Given these points, Thody’s perspective on The Stranger sets a perfect display on Camus intentions on portraying these themes.
Camus addition of Marie Cardona helped to embody the theme of Meursault’s outlook on the physical world.
Meursault is characterized by his indifference to everything except instant physical sensations. Granted that, there exists no higher meaning or order to human life beyond the bodily world. As Meursault states, “I wanted her so bad when I saw her in that pretty red-and-white striped dress and leather sandals… when she laughed I wanted her again. A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but I didn’t think so” (Camus,41).
Emotionally, Marie gets nothing from Meursault, but happens to be satisfied with a relationship that is more intimate than words. Her physical beauty is his only attraction to her character. Correspondingly, Marie still finds a reasoning to stay loyal to Meursault when he is arrested and put on trial. Her symbolism of loyalty towards Meursault is a blessing that comes with both pros and cons, the hope that she embraces is what Meursault is unable to attain until the end of the book, where he accepts the reality that death will be the outcome of his essence. Furthermore, despite Meursault’s suffering within the walls of the cordon, his enlightenment of the universe has allowed him to distinguish a face engraved in the stone. Meursault then infers, “Maybe at one time, way back, I had searched for a face in them. But the face I was looking for was as bright as the sun and the flame of desire–and it belonged to Marie. I had searched for it in vain…in any case, I’d never seen anything emerge from any sweating stones” (Camus,119). Although, Marie lacked the understanding value of abandoning all hope, Meursault concludes that he was destined to be with Marie, but at the time it was too late and she was no longer attainable. Therefore, due to his own indifferences Meursault’s lack of self-awareness forbade him to grasps onto the remaining aspiration his peers held towards him.
Another major point of Camus philosophy that he follows is the theme that individual lives and human existence have no rational meaning or order. The confrontation of the Chaplain and Meursault exposes this idea and provokes Meursault having no reasoning or explanation behind his moral beliefs. Another person’s death and his own mother’s love nor God or the lives and fate people choose to live do not concern Meursault’s character whatsoever. For this reason, the Chaplain’s anger with Meursault’s unacceptance of God does not faze the tragic hero, and becomes oddly pleased with the realization that death is all there is. As the Chaplain
Cite this Thody’s Perspective on The Stranger
Thody’s Perspective on The Stranger. (2021, May 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/thodys-perspective-on-the-stranger/