The Stranger Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Stranger

Mersault's mother dies. Outwardly an average young man, he shows no grief at the funeral, he seems disconnected from the entire event: people notice. He does not understand himself, his life, or his surroundings: he has no direction and has no judgment or motivation. He sees and hears and touches but he does not properly feel: all things seem outer to him. He cannot connect with his girlfriend, and the man next door is so clearly a dangerous crook, but he is powerless to use his sense and avoid getting tangled up in his affairs. Given a gun, he very unwisely carries it: he gets in a tight spot and shoots a man. He does not know why he did it, it just happened. We feel pity that he is so empty, but strangely he does not pity himself. The police are totally unsympathetic and the courts judge not just his act but his life. He is weighed in the scales and found wanting. His sense of responsibility is so pitifully weak that only thought is that he will not tell a lie to save himself and pretend to feel remorse or play along with the system. He will not say the 'right thing' just for the sake of it. Is it a murder or is it happenstance--can an automaton commit murder? The law, not being philosophical, can only give one verdict.
Click here to see the rest of this review

The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

The Outsider is not so much a story but a statement by Albert Camus. Meursault, the main character attends his mother's funeral and does not apply the emotions one would associate with a funeral; he does not cry and when offered a cup of white coffee he drinks it and enjoys drinking it, these mannerisms are not those suspected of a grieving man but he does not act like this in deliberance, it is just his manner. However because he does not, in the author's words 'play the game' people in society judge him as a strange and heartless man which at the end of the book costs an honest man his life. This is a very brief summary because, although it is a short story (117pages) it is full of detail.
The review of this Book prepared by Richard McReynolds

At the beginning of the novel, Monsieur Mersault's mother dies. Mersault is then forced to go the home in which he sent her to in order to pay his last respects. After his mother's funeral, Mersault returns home and the next day he begins a relationship with Marie. Shortly after his return home he also befriends Raymond, his neighbor/pimp. Mersault, Marie and Raymond decide to go the beach and it is while at the beach that the group recognizes the brother of one of Raymond's ex-girlfriends. Mersault goes for a walk to the stream and ends up shooting the Arab man 5 times. He is then taken away and put in jail. At his trial, Mersault seals his fate by his existentialistic ways. He is then sentenced to the guillotine and then the novel ends, leaving the reader wanting a bit of closure.
The review of this Book prepared by April Frago

A man known only by his last name is living in Algeria,
and recounts the death of his mother. "Mother died today."
She passed away at the home she was place in a few
years before, and he must attend her funeral, even though
he only feels duty bound to do so. He sits through the night
long vigil, and feels nothing, no grief, no remorse, no guilt and
resents that the other old people in the home are trying to prod
him into feeling. He just wants to get it over with.   He goes
back to his office job and resumes his regular life. He gets
involve with Marie, and they have a holiday at the beach.
Suddenly, the narrator finds himself arrested by the French
police for murdering an Arab man in "self-defense". At his
trail to be guillotined, the lawyer cross-examines the friends
of his late mother and proves he's a cold hearted man who
should be condemned to death.

The review of this Book prepared by Joan Clare

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."
The review of this Book prepared by Yevgeny Bazarov

Chapter Analysis of The Stranger

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book)    -   nature of existence (heavy philosophy) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   mother

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   secretary Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   French


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Africa    -   Yes Kind of Africa:    -   Arabic Africa    -   White Enclave Ice Caps/Sea?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Stranger

Albert Camus Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian