At the trial, the prosecution focuses on Meursault's inability or unwillingness to cry at his mother's funeral, considered suspect by the authorities. The killing of the Arab apparently is less important than whether Meursault is capable of remorse. The argument follows that if Meursault is incapable of remorse then he should be considered a dangerous misanthrope and subsequently executed to prevent him from doing it again and in his execution make him an example to those considering murder.
Of note as well, Albert Camus was also a pied-noir meaning a French person who previously lived in the Maghreb, the northernmost crescent of the Mediterranean Sea and the heart of France's colonies, and come back to France. Early Christian missionaries accused dark-skinned people of having no morals because they cannot blush, so they are 'unabashed sinners'. Meursault's unwillingness or inability to cry at his mother's funeral could have been interpreted as the societal prejudice of the 'immorality' of people of color.
Usually classed as an existential novel, The Stranger is indeed based on Camus' theory of the absurd. Many readers mistakingly believe that the novel's main character, Meursault, lives by the ideas of the existentialists. In the first half of the novel, however, Meursault is clearly an unreflecting, unapologetic individual. It is Meursault's inability to reflect on the nature of his existence and of life that leads him to murder. Only by being tried and sentenced to death is Meursault forced to acknowledge his own mortality and the responsibility he has for his own life. Another theme is that we make our own destiny, and we, not God, are responsible for our actions and their consequences.
In cinema, the novel inspired a famous film by Luchino Visconti.
The single Killing an Arab (1978), by the band The Cure, was inspired by this novel.
The Stranger was a series of direct-to-video science fiction dramas made by BBV and starring Colin Baker. More information can be found in the BBV article.
The Stranger is the name of the popular album in the 1970s by Billy Joel. See The Stranger (album).
The Stranger is the name of a weekly newspaper in Seattle, Washington. You can view the latest issue and search their archives at thestranger.com