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Important Quotes from “The Stranger”

Albert Camus, Camus, Upton Sinclair

“But at least I had as much of a hold on it as it had on me. I had been right, I was still right, I was always right. I had lived my life one way and I could just as well lived it another. I had done this and I hadn’t done that. I hadn’t done this thing and I had done another.And so? It was as if I had waited all this time for this moment and for the first light of this dawn to be vindicated. Nothing, nothing mattered, and I knew why. So did he.”
-Albert Camus,
The Stranger
Page 120

In the same manner as a vocalist can bring a unique style to a band, so can an author bring a unique flavor and approach to writing. For instance, writers such as Graham Greene, Kurt Vonnegut and Upton Sinclair, among many others, have unique devices in their writings, which help to identify their works and give them a unique style and structure. Without a doubt, author Albert Camus deserves his place among such a group. Simply from one excerpt taken from the novel, The Stranger, it becomes apparent that Camus possesses a unique and easily identifiable style of writing.

If one were to analyze the above passage taken from page 120 of The Stranger, there can be found many clues which help to identify the writing as the work of Camus. When attempting to analyze any piece of writing, it is very helpful to use certain literary devices and guidelines. For instance, devices such as sentence length and variety, word choice, tone, symbolism and figures of speech all help to identify a particular author and his or her unique approach to the craft of writing.

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Perhaps the ideal place to start in examining what identifies Camus’ style is the sentence length and variety. One of the first things to be noted here is the fact that there are a mix of lengthy and short sentences. While such is certainly not a unique facet by itself, when looked at in context, the sentence variety reveals a lot as to Camus’ style of writing. If one were to read the above sentences it becomes very clear that they are only loosely connected. Indeed, it appears as if the writing is scrambled, or a form of free writing. Note that Camus has used the same technique in many of his other essays and novels. A similar style can be viewed in “The Absurd Hero” where sentences appear which do not, at first glance appear to be linked together by any conventional method, rather, they are separate thoughts entirely, linked only loosely by a common subject. Thus, in the way of sentence structure and subject matter, this paragraph ties in very nicely with the other works of Camus.

Another important factor to look at in determining artistic styles and fingerprints is the tone of the work. Like many writers, it can be said that Camus carries with him a signature tone in his writing. In many of his essays, Camus can be witnessed using the “questioning” style that he employs here, asking questions within his writing that are considered, yet never really answered directly. Indeed, if anything, the tone of this righting appears to be indifferent, as though the character doesn’t seem to care about his current situation in life. Resorting instead to the idea that everything is irrelevant, and that things likely would have been the same no matter what he had done in his past. It is important to remember that the main subject of Camus’ work is often based on the notion of the absurd philosophy. Thus, in relating to the ideas of absurdity, the tone of this writing is a direct give away to Camus’ style.

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However, while there are many ways to identify an author’s style, perhaps one of the most widely used and important methods lies within the symbolism that is used within a particular passage. The Stranger is a novel filled with symbols regarding Camus’ beliefs and ideas. Thus, it is of no surprise that this passage helps to represent many of these symbols in only a few short sentences. In fact, what really identifies this excerpt as a piece of Camus’ writing are the symbols of absurdity and the lack of reason or matter to be found within anything in life. When Camus writes that “Nothing, nothing mattered,” he is making a direct reference to the philosophy of the absurd. It is within these symbols of the absurd and the total lack of reason or consequence in life that one can really come to identify the work of Camus.

Thus, it can be said that every author has a sort of “fingerprint” which comes off, even if subconsciously, in their writing. In the writings of Albert Camus are collected many signature ideas and views on the notions of and meanings of the lives that we lead. It is through Camus’ use of the absurd in his writing and his symbols regarding the lack of true reason in life’s actions that one is led to identify the unique passages which can be found within The Stranger, writing that is perhaps as unique as the author Albert Camus himself.