Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: French and Arabic Studies

First Advisor

Blase Provitola


While the pied noir writer Albert Camus has usually been depicted as either a “French writer” or an “anticolonial critic,” there are few more nuanced readings of his ambivalent standpoint toward the colonized population and territory of French Algeria. This thesis explores one of his most famous novels, L’Étranger (The Stranger, 1942), in order to elucidate the ways in which the colonial regime affects the material features of the land and the mental state of its inhabitants. In particular, this thesis examines the alienation of Meursault, the pied noir protagonist, by exploring how the pied noir experience is impacted by two central facets of colonization: the appropriation of land and the loss of identity. Firstly, this project examines how the historical struggle over Algerian land relates to the psychological crisis of Meursault. Secondly, this thesis examines the link between the judicial system of colonialism and Meursault’s loss of humanity in his interactions with others. His isolation leads him to question his identity as part of the pied noir community. Through natural imagery and Meursault’s interactions with other characters, this narrative reveals that the descendants of colonizing populations and indigenous Arabs are both victims of colonization in different ways, and yet are consistently pitted against each other as rivals.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in French and Arabic Studies.