This is just a thought that I had after reading and considering the book, but I believe this to be true.
When Camus published The Stranger, he also published his essay "The Myth of Sisyphus." The essay is concluded by this sentence: "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." The main idea of it is that even if you are condemned to roll a rock up the zenith of a mountain, from which the rock would inevitably roll down, you can be happy since life is meaningless and living for the moment, just rolling the rock up is what constitutes happiness.
It is very peculiar thought to consider, but it is kind of what I believe, for I am a ex-Christian turned atheist. As Camus put it in The Stranger, "You die when you die and nothing remains." We exist for no reason, so what does anything matter?
Anyway, my thought about the ending of The Stranger is that it is a happy ending. Just like Camus' essay concluded that Sisyphus was happy, The Stranger ends with Meursault finding happiness in the meaninglessness of life.
So I should say, "One must imagine Meursault happy."
He controlled his fate. By choosing not to appeal. By choosing to kill the Arab. By choosing not to feign guilt. By choosing not to show sadness. He chose his fate. And that made his meaningless life happy. Although happiness is meaningless, according to Meursault himself.
Since I am kind of a grammar nerd and pedant, I acknowledge that I wrote some fragments and other erroneous sentences in this post. However, I am also an advocate of the liberty of expression and I wrote fragments and other erroneous sentences in order to heighten the effect of such sentences.
Jin Woo Won
An undergrad at Columbia University, studying Computer Science and in particular artificial intelligence.