The Outsider, by Albert Camus

The Outsider, by Albert Camus

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‘My mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know.’ In The Outsider (1942), his classic existentialist novel, Camus explores the alienation of an individual who refuses to conform to social norms.

Meursault, his anti-hero, will not lie. When his mother dies, he refuses to show his emotions simply to satisfy the expectations of others. And when he commits a random act of violence on a sun-drenched beach near Algiers, his lack of remorse compounds his guilt in the eyes of society and the law.

Yet he is as much a victim as a criminal. Albert Camus’ portrayal of a man confronting the absurd, and revolting against the injustice of society, depicts the paradox of man's joy in life when faced with the ‘tender indifference’ of the world.