he Stranger is often referred to as an existential novel, but this description is not necessarily accurate. The term existentialism is a broad and far-reaching classification that means many different things to many different people, and is often misapplied or overapplied. As it is most commonly used, existentialism refers to the idea that there is no higher meaning to the universe or to man's existence, and no rational order to the events of the world. According to this common definition of existentialism, human life is not invested with a redemptive or affirming purpose there is nothing beyond man's physical existence. Some ideas in The Stranger clearly resemble this working definition of existentialism, but the broader philosophy of existentialism includes aspects far beyond this definition that are not present in The Stranger. Moreover, Camus himself rejected the application of the existential label to The Stranger. Hence, this SparkNote approaches The Stranger from the philosophical perspective of the absurd. The absurd is a term Camus himself coined, and a philosophy that he himself developed. Reading The Stranger with Camus's philosophy of the absurd in mind sheds a good deal of light on the text.