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Tone is very important to The Stranger. Albert Camus uses several examples of irony and ironic twists. For example, Meursault got involved in a fight that had nothing to do with his life. He started out by writing a letter for his neighbor, Raymond. Raymond wanted to get his ex-girlfriend back in order to punish her for what happened in the past. Meursault ended up fighting the brother to the woman, who happened to be Arab. The final outcome was Meursault had to kill the Arab man even through the writing made the readers think Raymond was going to kill the brother. Meursault's voice comes across as lacking typical emotions. The subjective tone of the author makes the reader feel sympathetic, unsympathetic, and sympathetic once again towards Meursault situation. Then within the last few pages he has a revelation that changes the way he thinks and feels.
There are several themes that are apparent throughout The Stranger. Death is one theme that appears frequently throughout the novella. From the first chapter on, death is somehow mentioned or inferred. From the very first sentence, Maman died today, death makes an appearance. It foreshadows events that have yet to come. Continuing after the death of Meursault's mother, death is seen again when Old Salamano's dog is described as slowly fading away or decaying. He has skin disease and looks very similar to Old Salamano himself. This perhaps insinuates that Old Salamano is slowly fading away as well. Then the dog runs away and he never arrives back home or at the pound suggesting that he may have passed away. From there, Meursault murders the Arab man by shooting him once, and then four more times. Finally, Meursault is sentenced to death for the murder. The Stranger uses death to show that all men must go through it and no one can escape it. Therefore, all man are equal and no one person is above another. Another theme that's obvious Meursault concealing himself from society. Meursault hides from everyone and everything and eventually hides from his own logical thoughts. Meursault created this separation in his own mind and could change it if he wanted to. He isn't really exiled at all. He just doesn't want make an effort and wants to take the easy way in order not to deal with real issues that bother him. If that means he will always be alone, then so be it. The third theme is women and their importance to him. Meursault stays away from women as well as everyone else. During his mother's funeral, he never cried showing that he never had a real relationship with the most important woman in his life or with any woman. Even when it comes to Marie, his girlfriend, he never told her he loved her before or after she said it to him. When he found out that Raymond abused his girlfriend, he never tried to stop it or never felt sorry for her. Women are objects of lust to him.
There are various literary devices used in The Stranger. Symbolism is shown in both part one and part two. Colors of the ocean, the sky, and the view of everyday life symbolize different feelings. The color red is used when Meursault is angry or when he feels lust. He described Marie's red dress when he wanted her and he described the Arab at the beach right before they fought. The color green is used when he's happy. For example, The sky was green, I felt good. The crucifix is a symbol for god and sacrifice. The crucifix shows everything that he doesn't believe in. He proves this by saying He wanted to talk to me about God again, but I went up to him and made one last attempt to explain to him that I had only a little time left and I didn't want to it on God." The courtroom is a symbol for mankind as a whole. The jurors and judge is like society and how they judge Meursault and can change his life. He feels this when he says, It was then that I noticed a row of faces ... in front of me. They were all looking at me; I realized that they were the jury. But I can t say what distinguished one from another. I had just one impression: I was sitting across from a row of seats on a streetcar and all these anonymous passengers were looking over the new arrival to see if they could find something funny about him. Imagery is used when describing all characters, events, and settings. Albert Camus uses colors, and subtle details that paint a mental picture. He describes Old Salamano and his dog as two beings on the planet that look similar with their old yellow flaking skin. But Meursault also describes everything around him. And I can remember the look of the church, the villagers in the street, the red geraniums on the graves, P rez s fainting fit he crumpled up like a rag doll the tawny-red earth pattering on Mother s coffin, the bits of white roots mixed up with it; then more people, voices, the wait outside a caf for the bus, the rumble of the engine, and my little thrill of pleasure when we entered the first brightly lit streets of Algiers, and I pictured myself going straight to bed and sleeping twelve hours at a stretch. Meursault describes everything he can see making the readers understand the novella better. Similes and metaphors are used on practically on every page of The Stranger. A simile is used when describing Raymond. He was bleeding like a pig. Meursault states about the sun, But the heat was so intense that it was just as bad standing still in the blinding stream falling from the sky. To stay or go, it amounted to the same thing. A minute later I turned back toward the beach and started walking. The sun is a metaphor for Meursault's uncomfortable feeling. He's comparing the sun to society and how both make him feel uncomfortable and different and he doesn't like it.
The Stranger by Albert Camus shows a man fighting society in his head and how he deals with it. The novella uses tone, theme, and literary devices to show this man's life and his skeptical view of the world as he discovers that he can change , only to find out that it is too late.