The Stranger

A Comparison of How Alienation Affects the Protagonists of The Thief and the Dogs and The Stranger 12th Grade

In Naguib Mahfouz’s The Thief and the Dogs Albert Camus’ The Stranger, we are exposed to two very different characters, Said Mahran and Meursault. Both these characters are alienated from their societies, and change drastically as a result of this rejection. Using these novels as examples, we can gain insight into the minds of two contrasting characters, and the extent to which alienation leads to their change.

To understand the change these characters go through, it’s important to understand the characters themselves. Said Mahran is a passionate man, but full of hate and a need for revenge. After spending several years in prison, Said is unable to deal with what has changed. He feels alienated from the life that he used to live and the friends that he used to have. Throughout the book, he searches for his purpose in life: “I want nothing, long for nothing, more than to die a death that has some meaning to it” (Mahfouz 251) and it’s through violence that he intends to find meaning. He has very clear ideas about what he needs to accomplish, and rarely strays from what he considers his personal duty. Initially, Said comes across as a rational man, one with whom readers can easily sympathize, but throughout the book his sense of...

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