The Stranger (Foil Character)

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Foil Characters: Raymond The purpose of the novel, The Stranger by Albert Camus, is to show the life of an absurdist and his place in the world. Though Meursault, the main character, is always aware in some capacity of the absurdity of his situation and never identifies with society as a whole, he does not fully become an existentialist until the ending chapters of the novel. To shed more light on his transformation, the author created foil characters, showing through their actions and his reaction Meursault’s character before he comes to realize that value can be found in life. One such foil character is his neighbor, Raymond. This character serves to put Meursault in circumstances that illustrate his disconnection with the world and appropriate behavior. Meursault does not pass judgment on Raymond when he reveals that he beats his girlfriend, showing his indifference to the affairs of others. Meursault agrees to write a letter to lure his girlfriend back so he can beat her again, which shows how little thought he puts into the consequences of his actions. This idea is then taken to the limit as Meursault kills one of Raymond’s enemies, ending Part One and beginning Meursault’s conversion. From the time that Raymond is first introduced, the reader sees that he is involved in numerous illegal activities, but is left to wonder why Meursault would agree to be ‘pals’ with him. One comes to realize that Meursault really does not care how others lead their lives. Raymond casually admits that he beats his girlfriend and asks Meursault what he thinks about the situation to which he responds just as casually, “…I didn’t think anything, but that it was interesting”(30). Meursault does not judge those who lead bad lives because he is a stranger to remorse and forethought alike and sees no reason that anyone else should be acquainted with them either. By being a corrupt
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