Mersault - ou est-il maintenant?
Camus wastes no time is striking his reader with awe. No grief strikes Mersault upon discovering his mother's death. He is modern literature's most low-energy character and the greatest representative of absurdity in philosophy. Camus followed the work with an ideological explanation shortly after in "the Myth of Sisyphus." In it he emphasizes that "in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger." Mersault, like the theoretical absurd man in Camus' ideology, is without expectation and lives his life governed mostly by present desires and instincts. He murders an Arab on a beach because, he claims, the sun was striking his eyes. The implications of this metaphor are indirect as Mersault is entirely apathetic all through his trial. Yet it is a calm apathy; one that is not even self-reflexive. Only upon being agitated by a priest does Mersault respond with ferocity. He "lays his heart open to the benign indifference of the universe."
The design of this novel is not for any particular kind of person, but aims rather at a fearlessness when approaching the "futility" of human existence and endeavor. This is not an uplifting book, but it is an edifying one. It provokes meditation upon the everydayness, as Heidegger might have it, of life and the human's response to his condition on this earth.