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THe Stranger

Happiness is defined as characterized by enjoying, showing, and marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy. Sadness is defined as expressing gloom, unhappiness or depression. By definition the two words are the epitome of opposites, yet they are inextricable intertwined. Like a shadow they follow each other, never letting the other occur for too long. How can it be that two such contrasting emotions are so closely linked? Novels are often an author’s observations on human behavior and one of the most common underlying themes of novels is this complex symbiotic relationship between happiness and sadness. This theme is common because all people can easily relate to these emotions. We learn how an author perceives both emotions and how one person’s unique view on both relates to oneself. In the novels The Stranger by Albert Camus and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, we see two views on this subject that are as different and similar as happiness and sadness themselves. In The St! ranger, Camus shows us how a man with limited sentiment can find happiness in the saddest of places. While in A Doll’s House, Ibsen shows us how a woman who believes she is happy discovers she is living in a fictitious world of misery. “Mamman died today or maybe it was yesterday.” This is the opening sentence in The Stranger by Camus. In this novel we follow the life of a pessimistic but average man. He lives and works in Algiers, France and has just received word of his mother’s death. This is where we see the first example of the happiness/sadness relationship. Camus takes a distinctive approach to the relationship by having the antagonist, Meursault, feel neither of the emotions. This even sets a precedent for the rest off the book. As we follow the antagonist through his everyday routines we discover that he rarely shows happiness or sadness. When he goes to his mother’s funeral he does not weep. He drinks coffee and smokes cigare...

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THe Stranger . (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:16, August 27, 2014, from