Tag Archives | french colonialism

The Stranger (The Outsider)

the strangerI read this originally in French class, sometime during my high school career. (Where I was a music nerd, and a hard-core nerd, long before that was remotely cool.)

Most of this famous existential work was read aloud in class, by a collection of students with a wide variety of accents and grasp of the French language. If I remember correctly, Lorne’s delivery was amusing, but that might have been because he was pretending he was Soupy the Clown. By far the most hilarious moment was when our teacher asked my friend Garth a question, and he replied: “Je ne sais pas comprendre.” (I don’t know HOW to understand.) The teacher doubled over with laughter.

Despite the fact that I was doing poorly in this class, I was secretly in love — or at least a more advanced lust — with my French teacher. (A fact I only now reveal for comic effect, but back then I would have been mortified if the world had known. Surely this is some kind of rite of passage, falling in “lovust” with your language instructor?)

The novel is about the farcical nature of French colonial justice, the absurdity of free will and the benefits of not washing.

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Alltop thinks washing is absurd too.