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French-Algerian writer Albert Camus' "The Stranger" first featured in my world in a conversation with Ma a long time ago where she mentioned of a novella where the protagonist's refusal to grieve for his mother's passing lends to extrapolated assumptions from the same. I started reading it only in the aftermath of her passing away and its bleak logical outlook of the world failed to strike a chord with me, especially at a time when I was feeling emotions most keenly. Halfway through the book, at the point where the protagonist is arrested after shooting a man dead (for no particular reason, it must be added), I gave the book a pause.
The second half of the 77-page book I resumed yesterday and ran through it in an evening's worth of effort. The courtroom process and our guilty narrator's passionate disinterest in the same are exquisitely captured as are the visual details narrated that only a person least bothered with all the human chatter around him can observe. In a way, "The Stranger" forms the antithesis of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" where the main character of Rodion Raskolnikov is wracked by guilt and slowly disintegrates mentally.
That I still relate strongly to Dostoevsky's projection of the world, as bleak as Camus' if not more, is possibly an indicator where I fall on the socialist-individualist spectrum. Dostoevsky's protagonist is (eventually) very concerned with the repercussions of his crime within a larger moral universe while Camus makes his narrator fume (in an intellectual manner) only about society's glee in punishing him for his differentness, for his casual battle against conformance. While Raskolnikov comes to terms with the fact that he is not above the rules at all, the Stranger waits for the guillotine confident that the due proceedings are only simply prosecuting his refusal to comply.