Hey Classics Challengers: Meeting ‘The Stranger’ again

I have been finished with Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” for a week or so now, but have been unwilling to post about it because I’m not sure what to say about it. I think most of what I wanted to say is here. It is the first category (a book you read in high school) in our Classics Challenge 2016. I’m going to tell you this post has spoiler after spoiler, so don’t read if you don’t want the entire book ruined.

This is the cover of the version I read in high school. It’s bizarre at best, and has nothing to do with the novel at all. What’s up with that?

I know there should be more that I want to say, because the book has left me oddly unsettled. There is much more to this novel than I remember. So I wonder why I can’t put my thoughts into words.

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Classics Challengers: The first category is a re-read

High school English class is a strange and sad place.

Because every student had to take the early survey courses, where 500 years of English literature are covered in a school year, you got a wide variety of student interest in the subject. People like me, who loved it, couldn’t express our love for particular books or poems without being ridiculed, but those who hated it had no problem complaining loudly. In fact, they were usually encouraged. Then there were those who liked some of it — the Romantic authors, say — and not others, like the realists. It wasn’t until you were an upper classman and took an elective devoted to, say, Shakespeare or the art of the novel, when you got a class with most of the students on the same page. (That’s a pun, people.)

I don’t remember what class it was or what year, though I remember Miss Washington was the teacher, but we had to read Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.” I’ve thought about this little novel with such big ideas a lot since then, which is why I’ve chosen it for the Classics Challenge 2016 category: A book you were forced to read in high school.

Continue reading “Classics Challengers: The first category is a re-read”