In The Stranger by Albert Camus, Meursault is a young guy that lives in Algeria. In part one, Meursault’s mother dies and he is completely unemotional about it. He becomes friends with his neighbor Raymond. Meursault ends up shooting and killing an Arab. In part two, Meursault is on trial for the murder. In both parts of this novel there is conflict. Meursault’s major conflicts were society trying to change him, religion, and honesty.
Society tries very hard to change Meursault when he is on trial, they always try to figure out why he does things a certain way. They assume that because he did not show any remorse about killing the Arab or his mother’s death he must have done it intentionally and planned it. “Quite often, interested as I was in what they had to say, I was tempted to put in a word, myself. But my lawyer had advised me not to. “You won’t do your case any good by talking,” he had warned me. In fact, there seemed to be a conspiracy to exclude me from the proceedings; I wasn’t to have any say and my fate was to be decided out of hand. It was quite an effort at times for me to refrain from cutting them all short, and saying: “But, damn it all, who’s on trial in this court, I’d like to know? It’s a serious matter for a man, being accused of murder. And I’ve something really important to tell you” (62). Nobody even thinks Meursault has the right to speak on his on behalf. These people think they know what and how Meursault should think. Meursault does not though act as others do.
When Meursault deals with the magistrate and the chaplain he is so mad and upset. He is an atheist and does not believe in God at all. All the anger Meursault has inside he lets out on the magistrate and chaplain. Everyone is trying to change Meursault into something he is not. “Then, I don’t know how it was, but something seemed to break inside me, and I started yelling at the top of my voice. I hurled insults at him, I told him not to waste his rotten prayers on me; it was better to burn than to disappear. I’d taken him by the neckband of his cassock, and, in a sort of ecstasy of joy and rage, I poured out on him all the thoughts that had been simmering in my brain” (74). The chaplain and magistrate attack Meursault because he does not believe in God. They think he is inhumane and must be guilty.
Throughout the entire novel, Meursault is brutally honest. It seems to be what he values most. Meursault refuses to lie to others which brought him to his death. “A moment later she asked me if I loved her. I said that sort of question had no meaning, really; but I supposed I didn’t. She looked sad for a bit, but when we were getting our lunch ready she brightened up and started laughing, and when she laughs I always want to kiss her” (24). Meursault does not care how this will hurt Marie after she just poured her heart out to him. Meursault could have saved his own life by just admitting he felt remorse for his mother’s death and for killing the Arab. Meursault stayed true to himself no matter what.
Majority of the conflicts that Meursault has are because of his own emotions and feelings. Meursault refused to let society change him into something he is not. Meursault is a stranger to society because he does not follow the rules that society has. Meursault is completely disobeys the rules of society and is oblivious to them and causes conflict in his life.