"If something is going to happen, I want to be there," (113) says the narrator of "The Stranger," but he hasn't been there through most of the book. The Arab isn't the Stranger in question; the narrator is. And even in this late, apparent declaration of consciousness, he hasn't really appeared.
Henry Miller did a terrible job of encapsulating the same feel, pre-WWII, that everything in life was up for grabs and it was all meaningless and terrifying. Camus' simple sentences might remind you instead of Hemingway, but that's wrong too; both write simply, but the feel is very different. Camus has more in common with Kafka: although the events aren't surreal, there's the same confused, comedic feeling of inevitability, of being washed along by the moons of the world. Kafka and Camus have the same essential message: "Well, shit."This piece
says: "The Stranger [is the] equivalent of asking the question “so what” to everything you say as a way of proving a point. It’s obnoxious and we have an unwritten social code not to do it." Ha, that's funny and pretty much true. However,
that doesn't mean there should be no work of literature ever that wallows in existential angst. Someone's got to do it.
You know that story about Salamano and his dog? They hate each other; Salamano kicks the dog along, and the mangy dog pulls him along, and it seems horrible for both parties. "He's always there!" says Salamano. (27) Well, this is a very dark view of life, but it's very nicely put, isn't it?
I've been reading Richard Wright, so I compared the trial sequences; Camus' was much better, because although both characters' stories were finished before their trials started, Wright drilled that home way more than Camus did. "It was then I realized that you could either shoot or not shoot," says Camus. That'll do.