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Meursault and Alienation

Camus depicted Meursault as a subject of alienation. Research papers on the alienation of Camus' character Meursault in The Stranger include a summery of the elements of absurdism.  His attachment to routine, his isolation and the dereliction of interaction with society set him apart.  The theme of Camus' The Stranger can be summed up in the ending words “I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered”. Meursault and Alienation Whether Meursault was a victim of society or a martyr, he certainly was the epitome of alienation.

One event after another lead to the cyclical nature of absurdism in Meursault’s existence and the result was his alienation.  This was illustrated early on in The Stranger with Meursault’s telling of his mother’s death. "Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: 'Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.' That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday."  The blunt, mater-of-fact manor of Meursault’s reaction illustrated his dereliction in feeling and the social ineptness that his isolation had evolved into. Meursault rarely shows any feeling when in situations which would, for most people, elicit strong emotions.  Throughout the vigil, watching over his mother's dead body, and at her funeral, he never cries.  He is, further, depicted enjoying a cup of coffee with milk during the vigil, and having a smoke with a caretaker at the nursing home in which his mother died.

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