Major Works Data Sheet

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AP  English:    Literature  and  Composition    

 

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     Name:     Major  Works  Data  Sheet:  Do  not  cut/paste  from  a  website,  which  is  a  form  of  plagiarism.  

Title:    THE STRANGER

Biographical  information  about  the  author:     Author:    Albert Camus   Albert  Camus  was  born  in  French  colonial   Date  of  Publication:    1942   Algiers.  His  father  was  killed  in  WWI,  and  he,   his  brother,  mother,  grandmother,  and   Genre:    Absurdist Fiction paralyzed  uncle  all  shared  a  two  bedroom     apartment.  Despite  his  impoverished   Historical  information  about  the  period  of   upbringing,  he  attended  the  University  of   publication  or  setting  of  the  novel:   Algiers,  but  was  forced  to  drop  out  due  to     tuberculosis.  During  wartime  in  Paris,  he   While  in  wartime  Paris,  Camus  developed  his   philosophy  of  the  absurd.  A  major  component  of  this   developed  his  philosophy  of  absurdism.     philosophy  was  Camus’s  assertion  that  life  has  no   rational  or  redeeming  meaning.  The  experience  of   World  War  II  led  many  other  intellectuals  to  similar   conclusions.  Faced  with  the  horrors  of  Hitler’s  Nazi   regime  and  the  unprecedented  slaughter  of  the  War,   many  could  no  longer  accept  that  human  existence   had  any  purpose  or  discernible  meaning.  Existence   Characteristics  of  the  genre:   Often,  literature  of  the  absurd  will  contain   seemed  simply,  to  use  Camus’s  term,  absurd.   elements  that  make  no  rational  sense,  such  as       meaningless  dialogue,  mundane  repetition,     circular  or  pointless  plots,  situations  that  are   confusing  and  purposeless,  and  characters,   plots,  or  any  other  element  that  lacks  logical   order  or  reason.     Plot  Summary:  Do  not  cut/paste  from  a  website,  which  is  a  form  of  plagiarism.   The  protagonist  is  a  young  man  named  Meursault.  Right  before  the  beginning  of  the  book,  he  receives   a  telegram  informing  him  that  his  mother  has  died.  After  the  funeral,  he  returns  to  Algiers.  He   meanders  around  for  a  while,  and  meets  an  attractive  ex-­‐co-­‐worker  named  Marie.  They  go  to  see  a   movie  together,  and  then  she  comes  home  with  him.    The  next  day  he  meets  Salamano,  a  man  who  is   always  abusing  his  wretch  of  a  dog.  A  man  named  Raymond  (who  is  rumored  to  be  a  pimp)  invites  him   over  to  dinner  and  asks  Meursault  to  write  a  threatening  letter  to  a  woman  of  his  who  left  him  and   disrespected  him.  Later,  Marie  visits  him.  She  asks  whether  Meursault  loves  her  or  not.  He  replies  that   it  didn’t  mean  anything,  but  “probably  not.”  They  hear  a  commotion,  and  they  look  down  the  hall  to  see   Raymond  being  dragged  out  of  his  apartment  for  beating  his  woman.  Raymond  asks  Meursault  to  be  a   witness  for  him  in  court,  and  Meursault  agrees.  That  same  night,  Salamano  informs  him  that  his  dog   has  run  away.  Next  time  they  meet,  Marie  asks  Meursault  if  he  wants  to  marry  her.  He  says  he  doesn’t   care,  but  that  they  can  get  married  if  she  wants.    

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Major  Works  Data  Sheet  

Memorable  Quotes  at  least  3  –  more  is  better   Quotation  

Significance  

"So why marry me, then?" she said. I explained to her that it didn’t really matter and that if she wanted to, we could get married. […] Then she pointed out that marriage was a serious thing. I said, "No."

This quote demonstrates Meursault’s feelings of isolation and apathy. He is so far lost in his own little world that even a marriage proposal from a beautiful woman doesn’t interest him. Indeed, it doesn’t mean anything at all to him. He is perfectly content to just let the world wash over him like a wave on a beach, letting his life fade in and out…

It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed.

Meursault demonstrates his remorseless side. It is quite remarkable how apathetic he is. He almost defends his lack of grief: nothing has changed, what is there to feel sad about?

I couldn’t understand why they had taken [the cigarettes] away when they didn’t hurt anybody. Later on I realized that that too was part of the punishment. But by then I had gotten used to not smoking and it wasn’t a punishment anymore.

It is very difficult to reprimand someone like Meursault. He is stubborn (though in a passive way) and is content to be just about anywhere. He gets used to anything, and since he comes to peace with the world and his death, his execution is not really a punishment either.

She said, "If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church." She was right. There was no way out.

This statement is symbolic of the human condition. Just like the sun, death is inescapable. The only way out (of the possible misery the thought brings) is to accept it.

I tried my best to please Raymond because I didn’t have any reason not to please him.  

A commentary on Meursault’s apathy. “Why not?” seems to be the answer to every other question life sends his way.  

             

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Major  Works  Data  Sheet  

Characters   Name  

Role  in  the  story  

Significance  

Adjectives  

Meursault

Protagonist

He is Camus’ champion of absurdity. Over the course of the book, he realizes that the world is absurd, and there’s nothing he can do but accept it.

Indifferent; Apathetic; Introspective; Deliberate, yet not so.

Marie Cardona

Supporting Character

She is a contrast and a foil to Meursault’s character, a light and virtually carefree individual.

Simple; Undemanding; Sexual; Guileless.

Salamano (and his dog)

Minor Characters

Salamano and his dog are the only characters that are in a genuine relationship. Furthermore, they serve to remind us of death.

Wretched; Cranky; Miserable; Old.

Raymond Sintes

Supporting Character

Raymond serves to create much of the action that occurs in The Stranger. He asks Meursault to write a letter to his girlfriend for him, hands him the gun the former uses to shoot the Arabs, and finally, on the witness stand, blurts out that Meursault is innocent.

Dirty; Sneaky; Chauvinistic; Violent; Insecure; Tough Guy.

The Chaplain  

Minor Character  

The Chaplain’s role is to prod Meursault until he bursts out in his declaration of enlightenment about the world.  

Insistent; Well-Meaning.  

 

Major  Works  Data  Sheet   Setting   The Stranger takes place in 1940s Algiers, part of the French colony of Algeria. The colony was made up of both Frenchmen and Arabs, though the French were considered superior citizens. Meursault works as a shipping clerk for a company there. Most of the action takes place in the city, but he does leave to go see his mother’s funeral in a town about an hour away.  

Page 4 Significance  of  the  opening  scene   The opening scene shows several striking examples of Meursault’s apathy. He smokes at his mother’s funeral and refuses to shed a tear. Most of the time is passed in dull, thoughtless, reverie. The very next day, he meets a girl, hits on her, and goes to a comedy flick.  

Symbols  or  Motifs  (at  least  three)  

Significance  of  the  ending  /  closing  scene  

The Sun/Weather: These forces represent Meursault’s nature, and his behavior tends to be dictated by physical needs and desires. Color: Green seems to symbolize happiness, as it is in scenes where Meursault is content. Red seems to be equated with violence and/or sex. The Courtroom: The courtroom represents society’s attempts to rationalize an irrational and meaningless world, and the forced morality thereof. Laughter and Swimming: These elements remind us that Meursault is human. He is strangely attracted to laughter, and loves to swim. These thoroughly mundane pursuits keep him on an understandable plane.  

On what is presumably the day before his execution, Meursault wakes up and “smells the taffy.” He realizes that he reckon with his impending death, and empties himself of all expectation and hope. In doing this, he frees himself of worry and accepts his death with gentle peace.  

Possible  Themes  –  (elaborate)  minimum  of  3,  evidence  is  optional,  but  suggested   Passivity/The Absurd/Mortality/Isolation 1. Mortality- “She said, "If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church." She was right. There was no way out.” (Camus, 16) 2. Isolation- “On their way out, and much to my surprise, they all shook my hand – as if that night during which we hadn’t exchanged as much as a single word had somehow brought us closer together.” (Camus, 11) 3. Sadness-I told her Maman had died. She wanted to know how long ago, so I said, "Yesterday." She gave a little start but didn’t say anything. I felt like telling her it wasn’t my fault, but I stopped myself because I remembered that I’d already said that to my boss. It didn’t mean anything. Besides, you always feel a little guilty. (Camus, 19)

 

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Major Works Data Sheet

AP  English:    Literature  and  Composition       Page 1      Name:     Major  Works  Data  Sheet:  Do  not  cut/paste  from  a  website,  which...

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