College English 4
The Stranger Essay
Adaptation is Key
“You cannot create experience. You must undergo it”. This powerful statement, a philosophy that Albert Camus truly believed in, along with the Myth of Sisyphus, inspired him to write The Stranger which showcased the life of Meursault. A man who is accused of murder, condemned to life in prison and eventually death for his actions. While Sisyphus was eternally condemned by the gods to push a massive boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down again once he had reached the top, in an endless cycle of futile labor as punishment. These two pieces contain many similarities, but are also very different. But what both the protagonists share is the fact that they have to realize is that they are forced to live in these situations created by fate, therefore they must accept their punishment to ease the pain of their reality. Meursault and Sisyphus are both Everyman characters because they both undergo and adapt to the struggle of labor and misfortune that is “playing the game of life” like everyone else does.
Part Two of Camus’ The Stranger, focuses on Meursault’s experiences in prison up to and until his death. Meursault is forced to live in a cell without any pleasures, such as his cigarettes or the love of a woman. Here he is stripped of all his freedoms, represented by his cigarettes. At first this is a problem for him but as time goes on Meursault states, “I couldn’t understand why they had taken them away when they didn’t hurt anybody. Later on I realized that too was part of the punishment. But by then I had gotten used to not smoking and it wasn’t a punishment anymore” (Camus 78). As soon as Meursault realizes and understands that this is just part of his punishment, he becomes indifferent and accepts his reality. He defies his punishment by accepting his situation and adapting to life in jail. This moment is when Meursault's punishment is no longer a punishment to him. And again facing death,...