Conflict In “The Stranger” Novel By Albert Camus

Conflicts between children and their parents are a rather common issue that may influence one’s life significantly. In some cases, those disagreements may affect them even after the parent figure dies. This specific case is shown in the novel The Stranger by Albert Camus, as readers follow the story of Meursault, whose mother recently died and who killed an Arab for no understandable or obvious reason.

The story begins with the funeral of the main character’s mother and him having to attend it. The first pages of the novel strike the audience by stating that Meursault’s relationship with his “Maman” was rather atrocious, as he did not care for her and was shown more affection at the senior home, where he sent her to spend her final days (Camus, 4-5). In a way, these moments depict Meursault as sociopathic and detached from any sense of grief or remorse. The character’s cold and seemingly careless attitude later plays a larger role.

During his vacation, Meursault and his friends are in a conflict between them and two Arabs. The man kills one of the two as a result, which is followed by a murder trial. The man’s lawyer informs him that the investigation reviewed some aspects of his personal life, as they may be used against him in court. In spite of the lawyer’s pleas, Meursault refuses to lie and states that his personal needs prevailed over his sorrow (Camus, 64-65). As the trial progresses, the events hint that the main character is predominantly judged for his character, rather than the murder. And given the setting of the story, where the murder of an Arab mattered less than following Christian and French norms, this viewpoint is valid. The story then starts providing extra facts about Meursault’s relationship with his mother.

Upon finishing the story, it becomes clear that the conflict between Meursault and his mother is rooted in his sociopathy. The man feels isolated from society in multiple ways: emotionally, mentally, and physically. He is absolutely incapable of understanding people’s frustration with his behavior. The director of the home states that Madame Meursault did not approve of being sent to the senior home and that the offspring was calm throughout the entire funeral (Camus, 89). Finally, after being sentenced to death, the man comprehends his mother’s reasoning (Camus, 122). The story concludes with him finding peace and no longer feeling lonely.

Works Cited

Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Random House, 1988.