Salamano’s Influence in the Emotional Dichotomy of Meursault in ‘The Stranger’

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Salamano’s Influence in the Emotional Dichotomy of Meursault in ‘The Stranger’

In Albert Camus’ ‘The Stranger,’ the character of Salamano serves as a significant influence in the emotional dichotomy of the protagonist, Meursault. This essay explores Salamano’s role in highlighting the themes of absurdity and emotional detachment in the novel. It discusses how Salamano’s relationship with his dog mirrors Meursault’s own relationships and emotional responses, providing a deeper understanding of Meursault’s character and the philosophical underpinnings of the novel. The overview also considers how Salamano’s character contributes to the development of existential themes and the exploration of human condition in Camus’ work. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to Social Science.

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Salamano’s Role in Meursault’s Journey through ‘The Stranger’

The Stranger revolves around a thoughtless and simplistic figure named Meursault. One day Mersault receives a call from an elderly home regarding “Madame Meursault’s” (Camus 4) death. Meursault is unable to recall when Madame passed away, and this immediately shows what his state of mind is. Mersault attends Madame’s funeral and refuses to see her corpse. Everyone is flabbergasted when Meursault smokes in his Mother’s presence and finds this action disrespectful to the attendees.

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As the story develops, this is key information that will affect Meursault’s death sentence. After returning from the funeral, Mersault has an awfully emotional and crazy week. He encounters an old worker named Marie and has an intimate relationship. Meursault also finds himself helping his neighbor Salamano cope with his lost spaniel and scripts a letter for a pimp named Raymond, who finds himself in an abusive relationship. Following this week, Raymond invites Meursault and Marie to his friend Masson’s beach house for a vacation. During their stay there, Meursault finds out he truly enjoys being with Marie, and a scuffle breaks out with a group of Arabs. His stay at Massons was short because he took matters into his own hands and killed an Arab in “Cold Blood” (Camus 63). Mersault was taken to trial, following hearing after hearing, and was penalized with the death penalty. This affected Meursault psychologically and made his beliefs known to the jail Chaplain. He knew he would have to face death, and that scared him; his mentality changed his understanding of life. I’m also going to discuss how the setting and point of view influence the overall plot of the story. Meursault ultimately finds himself criticizing the “Machinery of Justice” (Camus 68) and how it was going to end his life while dealing with internal issues such as his love life and the purpose of a living human.

Confronting Justice and Emotion: Meursault’s Struggle with Condemnation and Self-Understanding

Following the Arab’s death, Meursault was given the death sentence. Meursault found himself thinking about all the positives of his appeal. He didn’t want to focus on the negatives and believed he was innocent even though he killed an Arab. Meursault has an illusion of the possibility of surviving the wrath of the machinery of justice. “The severity of their sentences lead many defendants in such situations to decide to gamble and risk a death sentence at trial, with the hope they will receive an outcome that would permit the possibility of ultimate freedom” (Radelet 808-809). This possibility of hope scorched Meursault mentally. There’s a specific part in which Mersault unleashes all of his despair into the Chaplain, going off on why God is meaningless and a waste of time. Meursault is stuck up on the possibility of survival because he feels he was wrongfully judged. Meursault is the definition of a unique situation because the jury saw him as a cruel being. Mersault had this mentality to detach himself emotionally from anything but unconsciously submitted himself to a love relationship with Marie and a friendship with Raymond. After facing the fact that his appeal was not going to be discussed, he then realized that “emotions are no source of pleasure, but rather a source of trouble” (Iman 37). When Meursault realized this, he brought up the facts on how it didn’t matter if he showed emotions at his mama’s funeral. Only he knew what he felt and nobody else, and he wanted every witness to cheer him with hate because he wanted to see how everyone felt towards him.

Narrative Techniques and Character Insight: Delving into Meursault’s Mind and Upbringing

The Stranger contains useful literary devices that push the author’s message and meaning behind his thoughts. This story is told in a limited first person. We know this is the first person because it starts off with “MOTHER died today. Or, maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure” (Camus 4). Camus uses pronouns such as “I” and “Me.” Mersault describes his life as very emotionless and rough. He grew up without his father and talked very lightly about him. When he talks about him, he discusses his weird hobbies, like watching live executions. We’re given little information, but the one given contains insight into why he is who he is. “The hero’s intelligence is more often remarked on than his stupidity.


  1. Camus, A. (1942). The Stranger. Vintage Books. (Translation by Matthew Ward).
  2. Radelet, M. L. (1998). “Perceptions of Justice in Death Sentences”. In Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavioral Studies, pp. 808-809. Wiley & Sons.
  3. Iman, S. (2001). “Emotional Disconnect: Analyzing The Protagonists of 20th Century Fiction”. In Modern Fiction Studies, p. 37. University Press.
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Salamano's Influence in the Emotional Dichotomy of Meursault in 'The Stranger'. (2023, Aug 15). Retrieved from