The Stranger

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Glare (shimmer, glisten, dazzle) Symbol Analysis

Glare (shimmer, glisten, dazzle) Symbol Icon
Glare (along with its synonyms) symbolizes the importance of physical experience over mental analysis. Literally caused by light bouncing off a surface, glare represents a way of experiencing the world that doesn't seek to probe beneath the surface of things. Instead of analyzing or interpreting, this way of looking at the world takes physical experience as it comes and makes decisions based on sensory impressions. The most crucial instance of glare in The Stranger can be found reflecting off the Arab's knife on the beach, moments before Meursault shoots him. Indeed, to Meursault's mind, this bright glare (rather than any deeper, personal motive) was the reason he killed the Arab. Glares, shimmers, glistens, and dazzles are plentiful throughout the rest of the novel as well, and shine off the landscape the day of Madame Meursault's funeral, off of the pavement and bodies of strangers walking below Meursault's apartment as he people-watches, and off the beach beside Masson's.
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Glare (shimmer, glisten, dazzle) Symbol Timeline in The Stranger

The timeline below shows where the symbol Glare (shimmer, glisten, dazzle) appears in The Stranger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 1
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
...their black formal clothes. Pérez cannot keep up. Meursault's head pounds. Heat makes the landscape "shimmer." (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
...couples on dates. The street lamps go on, dimming the stars and making "the pavement glisten." Hair, mouths, and jewelry glisten too. (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 6
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
...Meursault, Raymond, and Masson take a walk on the beach. In the midday heat, "the glare on the water was unbearable." Meursault reflects, "I wasn't thinking about anything, because I was... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
...hoping to see the spring again and rest in its shade. "There was the same dazzling red glare" on the beach and each flash of the sun's reflection is described as... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
...about it." To Meursault's eyes in the blazing sun, the Arab "was just a form shimmering…in the fiery air." Meursault notes the light is the same as it had been on... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
The Arab man draws his knife and the sun reflects off it in a "dazzling spear…[that] stabbed at my stinging eyes." Reeling in the heat, Meursault "squeezed" the revolver and... (full context)