Behavior and Character Of Meursault In The Stranger Novel
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Albert Camus’ The Stranger follows the life of a man after the death of his mother whom one learns very little about, save for some few words of wisdom that the man, Meursault, recalls sporadically throughout the novel. One of the striking elements of the story is Meursault’s seeming lack of interest in all things concerning the people that are, or should be, close to him and the events that surround him. During the viewing for his mother, and also during her funeral, Meursault expresses none of the feelings of grief or mourning that would usually accompany someone whose mother has just died. Very quickly after the funeral, in fact, when Meursault should have been in mourning, he instead quickly goes back to his normal routine, except for the addition of a new girlfriend, Marie, and his new friend, Raymond, who both become very important people to Meursault in spite of his indifferent demeanor. The story comes to climax twice: the first occurring when Meursault shoots the Arab at the beach and the second, when the chaplain comes to speak to him as Meursault waits for the result of his appeal. He is convicted of murder, having very little evidence to support his defense, and sentenced to death. However, the bulk of the argument against Meursault all refers back to how he reacted to the death of his mother, a factor which he finds to be irrelevant to his case.
Ultimately, Meursault’s entire narration since the announcement of his mother’s death stands as an affirmation to insignificance of death and life and the tight control society has over its population. Meursault speaks of it as he comes to terms with his death: the universe is indifferent. People ask him of his opinions, his feelings toward the things he has said and done, or of things concerning the future, wanting to drag out answers which would be considered normal and acceptable to the society man has created. But Meursault does not confine himself to social norms and demonstrates this throughout the story in dealing with his mother’s death and Marie’s proposals, in befriending Raymond, and in rejecting religion. Society cares about funerals. Notice that it was the retirement home that arranged the funeral for Meursault’s mother. Society cares about marriage. Society rejects lowly persons such as Raymond. Society, at least at that time, promotes religion. Meursault runs counter to such things, and, as a result, is punished by the society.
Yes, Meursault killed a man. But pining away at the reasons for it will reveal no solid conclusion. In fact, I believe it to be only a tangible affirmation of Meursault’s estrangement from the society. In his narration, the reader sees that he has friends and that there are people who care about him in spite of his oddities, but they are merely individuals and do not represent the society at large. His shooting the Arab was the final straw that society needed in order to rightfully (according to its laws) show Meursault the error of his being; namely, his unwillingness to conform to societal ideals.
Sympathy for Protagonists of The Stranger and Metamorphosis
In Camus’ The Stranger and Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the protagonist finds himself in an extraordinary situation that challenges his will. In both novels, this initially unsympathetic character struggles to redeem himself. In so doing, his identity develops and his positive qualities become evident. The characters thus become unexpectedly sympathetic to the reader, and each novel concludes with a hopeful tone.
In The Stranger, the protagonist Meursault can be judged as a cold-hearted killer who is emotionally detached from the world around him. His alienation from society and indifference to love and sorrow are blatant. “Mother died today,” he comments, “Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.” He treats others callously: “She asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so.” Meursault only focuses on the physical aspects of life, especially relating to light and heat: “There wasn’t a shadow to be seen and every object… stood out so sharply that it was painful to my eyes.”
The Stranger’s central event occurs when Meursault shoots the Arab. The language used in this passage is so elaborate and rich in simile – “The steel… was like a long, flashing sword,” for example – almost detaches the act from Meursault and causes the reader to question whether he did it with intent or not: “That’s when everything began to reel. The sea carried up a thick, fiery breath. It seemed to me as if the sky split open from one end to the other to rain down fire… The trigger gave.” Camus detaches Meursault from the action with “The trigger gave,” further insulating Meursault against intent or consequence – and therefore against blame.
In prison, Meursault’s positive qualities become apparent. He has the opportunity to get away with a minor sentence but instead, with “It was because of the sun,” admits his guilt. He also appears more sympathetic in contrast to the unlikable judge who “sees nothing but a monster” in Meursault. The reader, who has come to see the killing as unpremeditated, feels defensive of the protagonist when the judge wishes the death sentence upon Meursault and states: “Never before have I felt this onerous task so fully compensated and counterbalanced, not to say enlightened by a sense of urgent and sacred duty.” The reader feels the judge is being overly harsh to Meursault, misjudging his inherently decent (if detached and alienated) character. When the climax is reached and Meursault is sentenced to death, we therefore feel sympathetic to this formerly unpalatable character.
Gregor of Kafka’s Metamorphosis comes across as self-involved and unsympathetic at first. Some evidence suggests that Gregor, unlike Meursault, acts this way intentionally. For example, his primary reason for working so hard and supporting his whole family is to appear as a hero: “If I didn’t have to hold my hand because of my parents I would have given notice long ago.” He even prioritizes it over romantic relationships, as the picture in his bedroom shows no personal companion or even a sensuous image but rather shows “a lady, with a fur cap on and a fur stole, sitting upright.”
Gregor’s transformation into a beetle can be viewed in two ways. On the one hand we feel pity that he should, for no specific reason, be turned into a repulsive beetle. On the other hand we feel that he deserves it, considering that his life seemed very hollow and unimportant before his transformation. In either case, Gregor’s real transformation takes place throughout the story as he comes to realize that what truly makes him happy is not his “strenuous career” but rather things such as his sister playing the violin “so beautifully.”
The point of view used in Metamorphosis is the limited omniscient, which functions to help Kafka create sympathy for Gregor. If we were given accounts of Gregor only by his family, our opinion of him would be limited. At first his parents appear to care for him: “‘Oh dear,’ cried his mother, in tears, ‘perhaps he’s terribly ill;’” but after seeing him as a beetle, they show no sympathy for him at all: “Pitilessly Gregor’s father drove him back, hissing and crying ‘Shoo!’ like a savage.” By using the limited omniscient instead of the third person point of view, Kafka provides insight into Gregor’s sometimes unselfish ideas: “It was a secret plan of his that [his sister] should be sent next year to study [the violin]… despite the great expense.”
As the reader’s sympathy builds for Gregor, he, like Meursault, becomes a victim. Now that Gregor is just an “old dung-beetle,” his family may as well pelt him with apples until he dies. What is he worth if not providing a comfortable life for the family?
Just as the prosecutor in The Stranger is made to appear unsympathic, so too is Gregor’s family in Metamorphosis. By using these comparisons, the protagonists are made to seem like heroes, even if only for a short time, and therefore more sympathetic. In addition, both Gregor and Meursault go through a transformation throughout their stories and become wiser: “As if that blind rage has washed me clean, rid me of hope,” one says. “For the first time… I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.” Their emotional evolution is another reason that readers become more sympathetic to them.
Camus and Kafka also show their characters’ awareness and fear before their deaths, their vulnerability making the reader feel even more compassion for them. The previously unemotional Meursault has become fearful: “I explained to him that I wasn’t in despair. I was simply afraid.” Just as he begins to make sense of the world, life is stolen from him: “The presiding judge told me in a bizarre language that I was to have my head cut off in a public square…” But Camus has resigned himself to his fate: “The presiding judge asked me if I had anything to say. I thought about it. I said, ‘No.’” Gregor reacts in a similarly odd, detached manner when he is left to die: “‘I’d like to eat something,’ said Gregor anxiously, ‘but not anything like they’re eating. They do feed themselves. And here I am, dying!’” By concluding the novels with death, Camus and Kafka show symbolically that the characters have completed – as best they can – the journey to find true identity.
Camus’ and Kafka’s decision to make their characters sympathetic carries the implication that there is hope within all of us – that we can change our views toward what might have once seemed unsympathetic or simply distasteful. We see Meursault and Gregor struggle through circumstances beyond their control only to fail in the end, making them seem, paradoxically, almost heroic. Their positive qualities gradually emerge – not least at the time of their deaths, when Gregor for example thinks of his family “with tenderness and love” – and the reader is left feeling unexpected sympathy for both characters.
“The Stranger” by Albert Camus
Isolation can affect anyone. But how can it affect relationships? The novel, The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is about an isolated character named Meursault. His relationships are heavily affected by his isolation, but he still chose to be isolated. Isolation can affect relationships because it can cause a person to block off emotions, feel indifferent towards other people’s situations and prevent a person from experiencing a deep or complex relationship. Therefore, isolation can negatively affect your relationships.
Isolation can cause a person to not feel or block out all emotions toward any other person they know. In the book there are a lot of examples of the main character blocking or not acknowledging his feelings, love is one of the feelings he doesn’t feel/acknowledge. Love is a feeling that everyone wants and needs. But not acknowledging or blocking it can destroy your relationships with others. This is prominent in the book because Meursault has a girlfriend that loves him, but he doesn’t love her and that it doesn’t matter. He is very fond of her, but he doesn’t love her. Marie asked Meursault to marry him, and he said yes but she questions, why he does this, “Marie came that evening and asked me if I’d marry her. I said I didn’t mind; if she was keen on it, we’d get married. Then she asked me again if I loved her. I replied, much as before, that her question meant nothing or next to nothing—but I supposed I didn’t. “If that’s how you feel,” she said, “why marry me?” (Camus 28). Meursault is sending Marie mixed messages, he says he wants to marry her, but he doesn’t love her. He expresses that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her, but he doesn’t love her, and he slightly dodges the love question. So, this is an example of him not acknowledging or blocking his feelings for Marie. Death is a very important part of all lives and of this book. It’s a very sad time for everyone but isolation can affect a person’s feelings towards death too. In the book, Meursault’s mother passed away of a tumor. He sent her to a home because he thought she wasn’t happy with him and for some other reasons. He didn’t talk to her for a long time and he didn’t even know about her tumor. He didn’t provide for her at all at the home. At time of her death he didn’t feel sad, he didn’t feel anything. He acted like nothing happened. While he was on trial, he was asked by the prosecution about his mother and her funeral, “He went on to ask if I had felt grief on that “sad occasion.” The question struck me as an odd one; I’d have been much embarrassed if I’d had to ask anyone a thing like that. I answered that, of recent years, I’d rather lost the habit of noting my feelings, and hardly knew what to answer. I could truthfully say I’d been quite fond of Mother—but really that didn’t mean much” (Camus 41). Normally, a mother’s death is heart-breaking, but he didn’t really feel anything regarding his mother’s death even though he says he was fond of her. He also expresses he doesn’t really love his mother and is just fond of her. This shows that he doesn’t feel grief or any other feeling toward his mother. Isolation can affect your emotions and make you not acknowledge or not feel any emotions.
Isolation can also cause you to not care about the situation other people are in. normally people don’t condone domestic violence, but Meursault is actually making it happen for people that he doesn’t know. The people I’m talking about is Raymond and his ex-girlfriend. Meursault helped him write a letter that would make her come to Raymond and once she did he would hit her because she cheated on him. He has beat her for cheating before and there was a good chance he would so this again. Normally the person in Meursault’s position would have stopped Raymond form doing so and told him to end his relationship with her but he was influenced by Raymond to do so. He also saw him hit his girlfriend but didn’t intervene to stop his friend from making a mistake. The prosecution questioned him about this while he was on trial, “How comes it then,” the Prosecutor inquired, “that the letter which led up to this tragedy was the prisoner’s work?” Raymond replied that this, too, was due to mere chance. To which the Prosecutor retorted that in this case “chance” or “mere coincidence” seemed to play a remarkably large part. Was it by chance that I hadn’t intervened when Raymond assaulted his mistress?” (Camus 59). This shows he didn’t care about the situation his friend, Raymond, was in or even his girlfriend who was getting beat right in front of him. He just watched, and any normal person would tell the police or intervene themselves if they knew each other.
This shows that he doesn’t care if his friend is doing something illegal and could go to jail and that says a lot about his character which is heavily influenced by his isolation. He doesn’t care about anyone that is close to his family either. At his mother’s funeral, her friends were crying and were very sad that they lost their friend. Normally in this situation the person would help calm down her friends or mourn their losses together, but he didn’t do any if that because he didn’t care. He didn’t even talk to any of her friends or even her best friend. During his trail his mother’s best friend was called to the stand, “Well, I was most upset, you know. Far too much upset to notice things. My grief sort of blinded me, I think. It had been a great shock, my dear friend’s death; in fact, I fainted during the funeral. So, I didn’t hardly notice the young gentleman at all.” The Prosecutor asked him to tell the court if he’d seen me weep. And when Pérez answered, “No” (Camus 57). If he stayed and grieved with the people who were close to his mother, Pérez would have noticed, if he cried he might’ve noticed that too. This shows that he didn’t grieve his mother death with her loved ones at all and normally people would do that
Isolation can affect a person’s relationships the most. In Meursault’s case it made him unable to experience deep and complex relationships. He didn’t have a good relationship with his mother and that was why he sent her to a home. They ended up having nothing to talk about and he sent her to an old age home. Usually children and their mothers have a special bond and care always care for them unless anything happened to their relationship and Meursault’s relationship with his mother was perfect and he said he was fond of her. In Meursault’s trial, Salamano talked about why he sent his mother to a home, “he said that Mother and I had very little in common and that explained why I’d fixed up for her to enter the Home. “You’ve got to understand,” he added. “You’ve got to understand.” But no one seemed to understand. He was told to stand down.” (Camus 59) Salamano was trying to help him but it didn’t work because everyone else thought that having nothing to talk about isn’t a good reason to send her to a home and not talk to her. So, at home his relationship with his mother was very casual and normally that isn’t the case with a mother and her child. This is happening because his isolation. He also doesn’t even try to develop a deep relationship with Marie either. Marie tries to see if he loves her, but he says no, he also thinks of their relationship as mostly physical, he talks about it, “Marie shouted to me that I had to have hope. I said, “Yes.” I was looking at her as she said it and I wanted to squeeze her shoulders through her dress. I wanted to feel the thin material and I didn’t really know what else I had to hope for other than that.” (Camus 47) This part shows that he only comforted by her physically and not by her words and actions. They have been together for a long time and normally they would develop some sort of emotional connection. In this situation the emotional connection is mostly one sided and that is because of Meursault’s isolation.
If Meursault didn’t isolate himself from the rest of the world he would have better relationships because of isolation he blocks or didn’t acknowledge his emotions, cares less about other people ‘s situations and it causes him to not be in committed deep, emotional relationships. This topic is important because isolation can ruin lives. Meursault’s life was ruined because of it and not just the person isolating themselves but everyone they interacted with especially if they have a relationship with them.
Symbolism and Characterization in The Stranger and First Confession
In Albert Camus’s The Stranger and Montserrat Fontes’s First Confession, symbols and characterization play a major role in outlining each novel’s primary message. Both authors’ use of these literary elements contribute to the reader’s understanding of their respective themes, from the meaninglessness of human life to alienation and loss of innocence.
Much of Camus’s novel revolves around a single symbol – the courtroom, where the second half of the book takes place. Embodying society as a whole, in that it includes the reappearance of nearly every minor character in the first half, the court functions as the will of the people in determining Meursault’s place in civilized culture. No matter what his own thoughts are regarding his homicide, Meursault is judged by others who attempt to impose meaning and order upon his actions. He is watched by the court, with reporters “examining [him] closely without betraying any definable emotion” (85). To them, Meursault is a strange creature to be read and deciphered; whether or not he has a say in this process is irrelevant. Unable to accept the irrationality and absurdity of his murder, the members of the court attempt to connect the pieces that they can see, linking Meursault’s lack of emotion at his mother’s death to his inexplicable killing of the Arab. In imposing reason and order, the prosecutor even goes so far to accuse Meursault of “burying his mother with crime in his heart” (96). With this statement, the clear reason for Meursault’s execution is clear: his philosophy makes him a menace to society. Because of his lack of remorse toward the murder he commits and his lack of grief at his mother’s death, he is sentenced to death. The fact that he killed someone is not important. Unable to find a rational explanation for Meursault’s irrational actions, the court determines him to be an outcast, a monster. In this way, the court symbolizes humanity’s larger struggle to find an answer to the universe’s irrational questions, a struggle that is as futile and absurd as Meursault’s actions and the court’s judgment of those actions.
Like Camus’s work, Fontes’s novel also draws much of its meaning from symbols, the most important of which is the money that Andrea and Victor steal from Armida. The stockings stuffed full of money represent the two children’s loss of innocence, and virtually everything that happens throughout the novel happens because of the theft. Epitomizing the difficulties of the adult world, the dirty money embodies the sin that sits heavily upon the hearts and minds of both Andrea and Victor. The children’s loss of innocence is not at all a gradual affair; rather, the difficulties brought on by the money engulf them immediately like sin engulfs a sinner. The reality of adult life crashes upon them faster than they can adjust to it. Even as they try to give away the money, first to the river children and then to beggars, their “arms full of gifts, [their] hearts eager to do good,” they cannot escape the curse that the stolen money contains (81). The cash is a part of the adult world; once Andrea and Victor enter, they cannot turn back, no matter how hard they try. Giving the money to Smelly Hands only makes the situation worse, and Andrea’s attempted retribution backfires, leading to a sin that will never leave her soul, a sin that she begs “forgiveness from no one [her] terrorized parents could see,” a sin that consumes her that nobody else knows about (282). It is not after this sin shatters her initial spirit that the money’s painful consequences begin to subside. However, even after Andrea gives all that is left of the money to Rancho Grande, its impact is permanent. Innocence, once lost, cannot be restored, and the door back to childhood remains closed forever to Andrea.
Symbolism aside, characterization plays by far the most significant role in highlighting each novel’s themes. In The Stranger, Meursault’s interesting and different personality is what makes the book. His lack of emotion and psychological detachment from the world around him are key to Camus’s presentation of existentialism. Because Meursault simply cannot and does not care on a sentimental level, he is neither moral or immoral; rather, he is amoral in that he makes no distinction between good and bad in his mind. He cares for nothing outside the physical realm – no emotion, no religion, no societal standards. After attending his mother’s funeral, he notes that “one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that [he] was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed” (24). Meursault is so detached from the social and emotional aspects of life that he does not even realize he is supposed to grieve, that society is holding him accountable for not showing sorrow. When it comes to love and marriage, Meursault dismisses both, enjoying the sexual aspects of his relationship with Marie but completely apathetic toward getting married. This indifference also presents itself in his killing of the Arab, in which “the curtain of tears and salt” in his eyes, “the cymbals of sunlight crashing on [his] forehead,” and “the dazzling spear flying up from the knife in front of [him]” drove him to murder (59). While in this first half of the novel Meursault applies his philosophy only toward his own actions, his thinking broadens after he is sentenced to death. Following his final encounter with the chaplain, he realizes that the universe is completely indifferent and that people’s lives have no meaning, no effect on the grander scheme of events. As he puts it, “nothing mattered” because “everybody was privileged…the others would all be condemned one day” (121). It simply did not make a difference when someone died, because he would have to die sometime, and nothing he did could really impact the world. This epiphany, representative of Meursault’s philosophy regarding life, is the crux of Camus’s novel and its primary theme.
When it comes to First Confession, characterization plays just as central a role in developing the theme as it does in The Stranger. It is the unique traits of both Andrea and Victor that create the primary themes. Both characters lose their innocence over the course of the summer due to one major misstep, which leads to severe and unforeseen consequences that stay with them for years. In Andrea’s case, her final mistake that leads to Armida’s suicide haunts her forever, an indelible mark upon her conscience that cannot be forgiven and thus cannot be erased. For both of them, however, it is their innocence and naivety that proves to be their undoing. In stealing Armida’s money, the children are convinced that if they use it “to buy toys for the river kids, [they] would just be turning bad money into good money” (56). Spoiled and undisciplined, Andrea and Victor indulge their pleasures and take the money, only to find out later how changed their lives would be. Ironically enough, it is their very innocence that eventually shatters their remaining illusions of childhood. The tragic chain of events emanating from their theft forces them into the adult reality far earlier than they are ready for, and it is this money, naively stolen, that destroys their innocence. Characterization is particularly important in revealing the theme of alienation that Andrea depicts. After the First Confession, the “special secrets that bind people’s souls were never exchanged between [Andrea and Victor] again,” isolating Andrea from the last person who knows what had happened over the summer (260). Because only she knows the real truth – the fact that she incited Don Pancho and was directly responsible for Armida’s death – only she suffers the full weight of that burden. As such, her careful guarding of her secrets and her refusal to let anyone else into the dark chambers of her heart ensure that Armida’s suicide will haunt her forever.
Throughout The Stranger and First Confession, Camus and Fontes build upon their themes by using symbols and characterization to highlight their messages. In each case, symbols within the novel play a major role in explaining the author’s ideas. The court that judges Meursault represents the larger society that attempts to impose meaning on the meaningless, and the bag of money Andrea and Victor steal marks their first step toward sin and the adult world. Most important, however, is the unique portrayal of different characters specifically suited to each author’s themes. In depicting Meursault as psychologically detached and indifferent toward everything except the here and now, Camus creates a character who is especially effective in conveying his existentialist message regarding the irrationality of the universe. Fontes, on the other hand, crafts two main characters who are so empathetic and naive that it is their very innocence that destroys them. In this way, the two authors’ differing themes, emphasized similarly through symbols and characterization, share a similar level of impact on the reader.
Commentary of a Passage Taken from " the Comfort of the Strangers "
The passage taken from “The Comfort of Strangers “by Ian McEwan essentially describes the want of two sisters Eva and Maria to look beautiful and furthermore the denial of their parents towards the girls’ desires. It is written in the third person i.e. the omniscient. The passage conveys few symbols: Beauty through the want of the sisters to look gorgeous ie. lipsticks, mascaras make up etc. , The truth and honesty through the confession of the boy.
Owing to the fact that, when cosmetics are used they don’t illustrate the true face or beauty of the person they also symbolize the deceptiveness of appearances.
The main centralized theme in this passage is deception. The girls lay trust on their brother for not disclosing whatever they did in the absence of the elders. But, conversely, we see that the boy divulges every action of his sisters.
Furthermore, there are a couple of primary themes: childishness in the first paragraph and tension of the girls that their parents would return soon.
We see that passage gradually passes from the afternoon to later in the afternoon and then to the dinner. So, it is chronological. The passage, when observed started with an exclamation and a question as well. “So! Did my sisters hate me?” – This paints a picture of the dubiousness, the author is having about whether his sisters in the future will lay trust on him or not. The Speaker in the passage is Robert – the young brother of the teen girls. At first he seems to be tranquil characters – moving comfortably with his sisters. But in the last part we observe a friction developed between him and his sisters.
This passage can be humorous to the audience especially to kids who do not have any kind of desires as such of the sisters mentioned in the passage. The way the sisters have been cheated can be funny. In contrary to the humour, the passage can also generate a sense of discontent in the reader’s mind as the sisters had been cheated and their actions have been disclosed which they wish for. The passage is set in house. The situation in the first can be said to normal as elements of love and relationship can be observed. Ironically , as the day advances into the afternoon and into the evening a large variance is observed. The tension of the girls and the seriousness when they are blamed can be discerned.
Along with this sad atmosphere created when the girls are blamed , when the first part is carefully swot up it can be noticed that a pleasant mood is indicated. Initially, in the passage, we see that the author uses they, them and their frequently. Hence repetition is observed. In the later part the author addresses the sisters to look like American film stars, thus using metaphor. The whole passage can create empathy in the minds of the readers – especially in adult girls towards the two sisters. ¶As a consequence there are a lot of images produced in the reader’s mind.
The girls waving their arms in the air to dry their nails and the metaphorical image – Girls addressed as the American film stars. Imagery, especially in this passage explains the frame or the situation much more in detail. Every action returns to its source – it may take very short time or even aeons . The confession had alienated the author from his sisters. His actions left him pondering whether his sisters will again lay trust on him in the future.
Albert Camus: Written Assignment
During the interactive oral, we discussed the main theme of the meaninglessness of human life that is present in The Stranger by Albert Camus. We emphasized mainly on Meursault’s detached and unemotional characteristics, especially when the jury uses this against him at his trial: “He stated that I had no place in a society whose most fundamental rules I ignored” (102). Meursault is very isolated from his society, and during his trial all the odds are not in his favor because in this case Meursault is viewed as a minority when compared to the Arabs in Algeria.
Even the prosecutor claims that Meursault does not feel remorse about killing the Arab, and this connects to the theme of the meaninglessness of human life, where Meursault’s feelings towards this entire case is mutual and religion, life, and death does not matter to him. In reference to the title, we also pinpointed that Meursault acts as the stranger when placed in this society because he is disconnected and does not belong in this “normal” society, he is seen an outsider.
And, we concluded that the character conflicts are targeted towards man versus society and man versus self. Because it is clear that Meursault does what comforts him the most instead of pleasing others and bothering to care about what everyone thinks about him. A major cultural impact that is presented in this novel is the idea of religion and the role of the elderly. Based on the first chapter, we learn that Meursault puts his mother in an old people’s home, however, later we realize that the jury found this unacceptable. This gave Meursault a disadvantage against his murder case because in this society, it is morally wrong to put an elder relative in an elderly home.
Also during the seminar we mentioned how religion plays an important role in this society, especially when the lawyer, the judge, and the priest tries to persuade Meursault into turning to religion, however, he does not believe that God exists and the judge even calls him “Monsieur Antichrist” (71). When he refuses to believe in God, it connects to the idea that life is meaningless and God does not replace the absurd significance of human life. Overall I learned that there are many cultural obligations that Meursault conflicts with in The Stranger and with these pressures; he struggles to face his society.
An analysis of the symbolic significance of the motif of the sun in The Stranger
The powerful effect of light can cast a shadow and blind those who come across its path. Power, especially too much, can influence the behavior of others and it can deceive people especially those who are different and follow a strange path from everyone else. Meursault in The Stranger, for example, is known as an outcast due to his actions and beliefs of life. However, he is a victim of the overpowering impact of light, he loses his way and the shadow of light influences his actions. In his novel, The Stranger, Albert Camus creates an intense atmosphere through his use of the sun as a motif. He accomplishes this by using the sun as the personification of Meursault’s inner emotions, the powerful imagery of the murder scene, and Meursault’s internal conflict.
Throughout the novel, Camus uses the motif of the sun to construct the intensity of the atmosphere during part one of the novel. The sun plays a role in influencing Meursault’s feelings especially when the sun is described as unbearable on the day of Maman’s funeral: “But today, with the sun bearing down, making the whole landscape shimmer with heat, it was inhuman and oppressive” (15). Camus uses a pathetic fallacy in his description of the sun as “oppressive” and “inhuman.” This helps to illustrate the sun’s devilish characteristics as its powerful impact that allows Meursault to forget about Maman’s death. Also Meursault is known to be a very indifferent and unemotional character however, whenever the sun is opposing him, it affects his behavior and allows him to express his emotions about his surroundings; and this contributes to the intensity of atmosphere.
Another significant passage is when Meursault longs for shade and to be far away from the oppressive heat: “I was thinking of the cool spring behind the rock. I wanted to hear the murmur of its water again, to escape the sun and the strain…and to find shade at last” (57). This time the sun influences Meursault’s yearning desire to run away from the sun and this foreshadows Meursault’s desperate actions in killing the Arab. As the sun gets stronger, so does Meursault’s discomfort, and this reoccurring relationship symbolizes that the effect of the sun’s unbearable heat enhances Meursault’s desire to escape its penetrating control. In addition, the powerful strength of the sun returns and it contributes in building up to the climax of the novel: “It was this burning, which made me move forward” (59).
The effect of the sun compels Meursault in killing the Arab with no intentions or reasons influencing his sudden action when his anxiety is released as he pulls the trigger. Camus uses the heat and the glare of the sun as a tool to release Meursault’s repressed emotions. Despite Meursault’s indifference towards his wrong doings, his actions and emotions, which the sun has possessed over him, do not explain Meursault’s irrational intent to surprisingly shoot the Arab and this connects to a major theme of the irrationality of the universe, which deprives Meursault from acting reasonability. Furthermore, the author’s intentions in personifying the sun’s possessive effect over Meursault’s emotions and irrational motives are to convey an intense atmosphere and its power to influence Meursault actions.
Towards the end of part one of the novel, the author illustrates the build up to the murder scene through the use of vivid descriptions and kinesthetic and visual imagery of the blazing sun in order to portray an overall atmosphere of the intense portrayals of nature and weather. When Meursault prevents Raymond from starting a bloody war with the Arabs, Raymond gives him the gun and Meursault notices that “The sun glinted off Raymond’s gun as he handed it to me”(56). This excerpt foreshadows the significance of the sun and gun since both items are associated with murdering the Arab, and these two items initiate the murder. Camus briefly mentions the sun glinting off the gun as a way to illustrate their connection and importance in the death scene, also the author focuses on pinpointing details about the sun and its powerful effects in order to create an intense atmosphere by emphasizing the sun’s visual descriptions.
After the fight between Raymond and the Arab, Meursault takes a walk on the beach and he sees the Arab flashing his knife and this blinds Meursault as he illustrates that “The light shot off the steel and it was like a long flashing blade cutting at my forehead” (59). The author exemplifies the light intensity of the reflection of the blade to be blinding and painful through the use of both kinesthetic and visual imagery. This passage is significant in demonstrating the powerful effect of the sun and its strength in pushing Meursault to defy the limitations against nature. Even moments before Meursault pulls the trigger, tension begins to rise as if nature is pushing Meursault into killing the Arab: “The sea carried up a thick, fiery breath. It seemed to me as if the sky spilt open from one end to the other to rain down fire” (59). The use of diction such as “thick, fiery” evokes the intensity of visual imagery and the personification of the sun serves to enhance the sun’s powerful influence over Meursault’s mind and unconscious actions.
Perhaps nature is symbolically pressuring Meursault to murder the Arab and Camus surprisingly illustrates the time and setting of this scene in this way in order for it to come as a shock and therefore to support the concept of nature and its prevalent impact. Overall, the murder scene displays an intense illustration of Meursault’s surroundings through the use of kinesthetic and visual imagery of the sun’s power and control which helps develop a powerful environment. Particularly, the entire novel is based on the major conflict between Meursault and himself; this internal conflict portrays an intensive atmosphere that is represented through the influence of nature and weather, which is depicted throughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel, the nurse at Mamam’s funeral gives Meursault significant advice when she says, ““If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church.” She was right. There was no way out” (17). The nurse’s advice symbolizes that Meursault’s self-conflict with the sun is unavoidable just as Meursault’s fate is inescapable; such as when he fails to find ways to escape from his death sentence.
The author decides to mention this passage to foreshadow Meursault’s unforeseen fate because Meursault’s murderous action is an unexpected plot twist, and this embodies nature’s powerful control over men, in which in this case it is between the sun and Meursault. Meursault’s battle with overcoming the heat of the sun is mainly demonstrated especially when tension is high such as when the group of Arabs is walking towards Meursault, Raymond, and Masson: “The sun was shining almost directly overhead onto the sand, and the glare on the water was unbearable” (52). As the scene begins to become more intense, the fight between Meursault and the weather becomes stronger as well, and this is demonstrated when Meursault describes his frustration from the sun’s intolerable heat. This excerpt clearly shows that Meursault’s constant war with his emotions and nature is powerful in connection with the intense atmosphere and since Meursault is unable to conquer the overpowering heat, it that causes him to kill the Arab and he gives in to the sun’s compelling control.
Also before Meursault’s trial, he even states that “I knew as soon as the weather turned hot that something new was in store for me” (82). Since Meursault did not know how much longer the judge would sentence him in prison, this passage did foreshadow that his trial would not turn out well. This again relates to the idea that when tension is high, the war between the sun’s heat and Meursault’s emotions is also intensified and Camus uses the motif of the sun to indicate that nature is against Meursault and to foreshadow Meursault’s fate. In conclusion, the influence of nature and weather as well as the motif of the sun and the role it plays to fight against Meursault’s internal emotions establishes an intensified setting.
Unfortunately, mankind is overpowered by nature and the force of the light pushes Meursault to his breaking point. Meursault is unaware of the sun’s
influential effect, however he is impacted by its controlling power. In the end, the sun’s strength forces Meursault to commit an immoral crime and even though his reasons are unintentional, he is rejected by society and is sentenced to a death penalty. The use of the motif of the sun in The Stranger by Albert Camus, develops a powerful atmosphere through the idea that the sun personifies Meursault by influencing his actions and feelings, the intense imagery of the murder scene, and Meursault’s inner conflict against the sun.
Camus, Albert, and Matthew Ward. The Stranger. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print.
Mersault and His Trial in Albert Camus's "The Stranger"
Is there truly any justice in the novel The Stranger, written by Albert Camus? This is a question that naturally protrudes throughout the novel, as it is not abundantly clear what Meursault, the protagonist, was, in fact, put on trial for. At the beginning of the second part of the narrative, it is understood that he is put on trial for the murder of an Arab; however, it later comes to our attention that the murder was not the primary reason of his trial, and perhaps not even an essential one for that matter.
The fact remains that Meursault was undoubtedly put on trial, not for the murder committed, but for being the way he was: unemotional through the eyes of society, which was represented by the jury.
To the reader it seems only natural that one should be put on trial, not for their personality, but for the harmful acts that one may commit to another person. Therefore, the idea is strongly implanted in the novel, as well as the mind of the reader, that Meursault was put on trial for murder.
Nevertheless, throughout the course of the novel, it becomes apparent that he was, as a matter of fact, not put on trial for the murder of the Arab, but instead, for acting in such a stoic manner. Being the honest, straightforward man he was, he answered all questions in that same conduct. Once Meursault had been appointed a lawyer, his lawyer inquired over the events of Maman’s funeral. Meursault responded rather coldly when his lawyer had asked him if he had felt any sadness that day, saying that he “probably did love Maman, but that didn’t mean anything.
At one time or another all normal people have wished their loved ones dead.” (p. 65) This quotation only demonstrates that he was unemotional. Now, one must ask the following question: how does this relate to the murder of the Arab? The answer is simple: it does not relate to the murder of the Arab. Being the representative of society, the jury opposes Meursault and accuses him of not conforming to society’s natural ways, and being what we nowadays refer to as the “odd one out”. They exclude him from society for his odd clear-cut and sincere demeanor, and for his manifestation of an inexpressive character.
Another example is the moment in which the magistrate, a local member of the judiciary having limited jurisdiction, especially in criminal cases, questioned Meursault. In this particular scene, the magistrate changes the topic rather abruptly from his love for Maman, to which he responded he loved “the same as anyone”(p. 67), to the murder scene. What followed was a vast discussion on Meursault’s belief in God, which he felt rather apathetic about; however, the magistrate, waving a crucifix to his face refers to him as the “antichrist” (p. 71). And later, during the trial, the judge and the prosecuting attorney seem more intrigued by the fact that Meursault did not grieve at his mother’s funeral and got involved with Marie the day after it, than the actual act that had been committed: the assassination of a man. The majority of the witnesses that had been called only supported the argument of his callous nature, as they very well knew that Meursault was frighteningly candid, and could not, or would not, create a perversion of the truth to suite his trial, as well as his need for freedom.
Throughout the trial he is constantly asked about Maman, and whether she ever complained about him, or if she had “reproached him for having put her in the home” (p. 89), to which both, the answer was an affirmative. After a while, it becomes apparent that they are no longer inquiring over the murder, but instead, over his mother’s unfortunate death. It arrives at the point that the prosecutor declares “‘The same man who the day alter his mother died was indulging in the most shameful debauchery killed a man for the most trivial of reasons and did so in order to settle an affair of speakable vice.’” (p. 96)
To which Meursault lawyer replies, “‘Come now, is my client on trial for burying his mother or for killing a man?” (p.96) This is the crucial point of the novel, as it is here that it becomes evident the true reason for which he is put on trial. This is the key question throughout the entire trial, and the answer is obvious as the prosecutor firmly responds, “‘Indeed (…) I accuse this man of burying his mother with crime in his heart!”(p. 96) This is a rather profound statement that affects not only the characters in the novel, but the reader as well, rather intensely.
Thus, it becomes palpable that society, in other words, the jury attempted to fabricate and impose rational explanations for Meursault’s irrational actions. The fact that he was so straightforward and onest was disruptive and threatening to their society as they were not accustomed to it, and therefore, they saw no meaning, which would consequently create chaos in their orderly lives. Meursault appears to do as he pleases, when he pleases, and therefore, follows no pattern throughout his life, hence, society becomes threatened by him, which ultimately leads to his execution.
Albert Camus The Stranger: Existentialism and Absurdism
Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts. This philosophy is essentially the crux of the novel The Stranger and not only serves as one of the themes but probably the main reason Albert Camus wrote the book altogether. Presented in first person narration through the eyes of Meursault, the indifferent and apathetic main character, the novel serves to evoke the creed of existentialism through the embodiment of the philosophy in a person.
Meursault’s speech, thought, and actions are what Camus believed a person who innately possessed the tenets of existentialism would have. Existentialism, what it represents, the results of its embodiment in a person, and the validity of the doctrine altogether are all important aspects explored in The Stranger by Albert Camus.
“Maman died today or yesterday maybe, I don’t know”.
These opening lines of the novel serve not only to introduce the novel but to summarize it as well. Rather than focusing on what is important-his mother’s death-Meursault is focused on when exactly she died; whether it was yesterday or today, since the telegraph only stated the funeral would be tomorrow. Right away, within the very first sentence, the reader is introduced to existentialism incarnate. Meursault exhibits a complete and utter indifference to life manifested by a profound lack of emotion. He doesn’t care when his mother died, in fact the fact that he has to attend the funeral altogether is the most troubling part of this whole ordeal to him. When he finally gets to the funeral, he couldn’t care less about his mother-as he rejects the offer to open the casket-but is utterly consumed by the days heat. Camus does a great job in the first part of the novel of demonstrating to the reader not only the philosophy of existentialism, but a corporal representation of it as well.
This corporal representation of existentialism is what makes The Stranger the unique book it is. As opposed to the multitude of books and manifestos approaching existentialism from an academic perspective, The Stranger approaches the philosophy by detailing a character with the belief innately in him and showing how someone like this might behave. Neither the external world in which Meursault lives nor the internal world of his thoughts and attitudes possesses any rational order.
Meursault has no discernable reason for his actions, such as his decision to marry Marie and his decision to kill the Arab. The book, narrated by Meursault, is basically life detailed superficially by him. He talks about the weather, the food he’s eating, about the things he did that day rather than how he feels or thinks of other people, places and things. This is how a person consumed with existentialism would behave and think-indifferently and apathetically. Meursault passes no judgment on people and is ultimate executed for killing an Arab for no apparent reason.
The philosophy or theory of Existentialism is somewhat controversial, but nonetheless in many respects it has some notable and legitimate points. If one were to truly take a look at the universe, it would seem purposeless. And humans do in fact possess the innate desire, or rather compulsion, to explain things and have things figured out-thus explaining their need to associate a purpose with the universe, even when it doesn’t necessarily exist. But what made this theory come about in the 19th century when it could have been realized centuries before? The reason is the tragedy and devastation the world saw at this time-several world wars in specific. If we take a look at the life of Albert Camus himself, it’s hard to deny the fact that there is a connection between the existentialism’s inception and personal tragedy.
In 1914, Camus’ Father was drafted into WWI and killed in France. In 1934 he Married Simone Hié, but divorced her two years later. In 1939 he volunteered for service in WWII, but was rejected due to illness. In 1940 he wrote an essay on the state of Muslims in Algeria causing him to lose his job and move to Paris. In 1941 he joined the French resistance against the Nazis and became an editor of Combat, an underground newspaper. These, as well as many other incidents and events in Camus’ life influenced him in the sense that they formed in him a bleak, pessimistic view of life. This perspective undoubtedly set the foundation for his adoption of the theory of existentialism.
“If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.” The point illuminated in this quote by Camus is that although some consider viewing life with despair to be wrong, or sinful, in reality hoping for an after life, “another life”, or living a life of implacable grandeur is the real sin. Camus held strong to the belief of Absurdism, or the belief that humanity’s effort to find meaning in the universe will ultimately fail-thus it is absurd to try to find meaning or to live as though there is a meaning because no such meaning exists. While Absurdism might seem like a synonym for Existentialism, the two are slightly different. Existentialism makes the point that there is no purpose or meaning in the universe. Absurdism goes a step further to say that not only is life purposeless, but any attempt at finding meaning is utterly absurd. Albert Camus, being the polarized man that he was, held more firmly to the belief of Absurdism than existentialism.
In writing The Stranger, Albert Camus championed the idea of existentialism, a philosophy he truly believed in it. But the philosophy of existentialism is not free of criticism. Herbert Marcuse criticized existentialism, especially in Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, for projecting certain features of living in a modern, oppressive society, such as anxiety and meaninglessness, onto the nature of existence itself: “In so far as Existentialism is a philosophical doctrine, it remains an idealistic doctrine: it hypothesizes specific historical conditions of human existence into ontological and metaphysical characteristics. Existentialism thus becomes part of the very ideology which it attacks, and its radicalism is illusory” What Marcuse is saying here is that existentialism makes the mistake of thinking that just because human conditions are tragic and seem to lack a purpose, that they in fact do. Whether or not there is purpose to the universe is an ontological and metaphysical subject, not one that can be realized through historical events.
Existentialism and its brother philosophy Absurdism are philosophies that emphasize the uniqueness and isolation of the individual in a hostile and indifferent world, and stress the fact the universe has no discernable purpose. This philosophy is essentially the crux of the novel The Stranger as Meursault, the indifferent and apathetic main character, embodies the tenets of existentialism intrinsically. Existentialism, what it represents, the results of its embodiment in a person, and the validity of the doctrine altogether are all important aspects explored in The Stranger by Albert Camus.
1.”Existentialism.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 28 Mar. 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/existentialism2.Marcuse, Herbert. “Sartre’s Existentialism”. Printed in Studies in Critical Philosophy. Translated by Joris De Bres. London: NLB, 1972. p. 1613.Camus, Albert. The Stranger. Middlesex: UK Penguin Classics, 1943.
4.Sartre, Jean P. Existentialism is a Humanism. World Company, 1956.
5.”Albert Camus.” 28 Mar. 2007 .
6.White, Ray. “The Meaning of Life.” 2004. 29 Mar. 2007 .
Existentialism in Camus' "The Stranger"
Existentialism is often defined as a philosophical movement or tendency, emphasizing individual existence, freedom and choice. As a result of the diversity of positions associated with this term it is impossible to define precisely. There are, however, basic themes common in existentialist beliefs. As is evident through the root of the word, exist, there is a stress on definite individual existence and freedom of choice. Developed between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this ideology influenced literature greatly. A prime example of the incorporation of certain aspects of existentialism is witnessed in Albert Camus’s The Stranger.
The use of existentialism within his work assists in the development of his characters; it determines how they will act and respond to their surroundings. The aforementioned actions are often unique due to the influence of existentialism. Meursault is the major character in The Stranger. He is considered the personification of existentialism, the existential hero if you will. He is emotionally indifferent to others and, as the prosecutor of his case words it, “a coolly calculating monster.
” Meursault is alienated from society throughout the tale as he accepts individual responsibility for his unique progression.
Throughout Camus’s The Stranger there are references to an event that occurs at the outset of the novel and exhibits ideals inherent to existentialism: the death of Meursault’s mother. His insensitivity is introduced through the emotions, or lack thereof, that he displays upon news of the death of Maman. He seemingly cares not for his own mother as is shown in his opening statements: “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: ‘Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.’ That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday.” He is more concerned with the time of the death rather than the fact that he has just lost a loved one.
In addition, Meursault is more concerned about his surroundings at the home and in the mortuary, rather than the fact that his mother lies dead in a casket, several feet from him. As the caretaker proceeds to approach the casket so as to give Meursault a last look at his mother, Meursault himself stops him. As the caretaker asks just why he requests the casket left closed the only reason Meursault can give is, “I don’t know.” During the funeral procession he seems much more alert to the suns rays beating down on him, choosing to forget where he is and the task at hand. The lack of compassion and refusal to behave the way society expects him to act are what essentially make him an existentialist.
Several mundane yet life altering events are also taken into account by Meursault in an existential attitude. He meets a woman named Marie while swimming the day following Maman’s funeral. Despite the death that had just occurred, he finds joy in her company and does not let his loss bother him. Later on, Marie inquires as to whether Meursault would be interested in marrying her. In response he states, “I said it didn’t make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to.” Such an insensitive response is intrinsic to the beliefs of an existential. This is only exemplified as he answers the same way when she queries him on his love for her. Marriage is considered by society to be an important event in life yet Meursault wanders from the beaten path, in an example of the theory of existence preceding essence or that one is in control of their own destiny.
He demonstrates this belief once again as his boss offers him a chance to move to Paris where he would attain a change in life. Meursault is indifferent on the subject as he does not desire more and was not dissatisfied by what he had now. The boss was upset at this turn of events and Meursault simply returned to work stating, “I would rather not have upset him, but I couldn’t see any reason to change my life.” He gives no rational explanation as to why he would want to change his life or not, only that it was not important and one life was just the same as another, showcasing another basic standard of existential belief.
The climax of the book comes during Meursault’s trial for the murder of the Arab and yet another rendition of existentialism is divulged. Camus begins to ridicule the legal system as his characters trial continues, making apparent the fact that Meursault is truly an outsider. Camus conveys this by making Meursault feel out of place at his own trail and rushing it along as if it is a minor insignificance. The prosecutor’s main base of offense is that Meursault did not exert emotions during his mother’s funeral, for he was guilty. The prosecutor alienates him because he had not followed society’s current misconceptions when confronted with a situation that one was supposed to grieve during.
In his closing arguments, the prosecutor says, “But here in the wholly negative virtue of tolerance must give way to the sterner but loftier virtue of justice. Especially when emptiness of a man’s heart becomes, as we find it has in this man, an abyss threatening to swallow up society;” as if to say that the murder of the Arab was a direct result of the stoic mindset Meursault held at Maman’s funeral. Once again society has rejected him by distorting the truths of the case and trying him for that single event rather than that which he was convicted for. In making Meursault a stranger from society and the legal system, Camus reveals his philosophy of existentialism.
The highly influential effect of the existentialist beliefs on the literature of the twentieth century is clearly revealed in the overall content and mood within Camus’s The Stranger. The character of Meursault exhibits a bold existentialist attitude throughout the story that, on several occasions, explodes forth in a sharp contrast to his normal submissive personality; a most noticeable occasion being his outburst during his episode with the chaplain when he snapped after having an epiphany. It did not matter that he was being killed and the chaplain living another day, for he had lived his life and taken hold of his fate; therefore was certain as to what would come. The chaplain had his empty prayers but Meursault was sure of himself; his life and his death. Another notable occasion in which he offers an outlook on existentialism is during his stay in prison. He no longer had anyone or thing to worry about but himself.
He is able to dissect himself and examine what his future will bring, and experiences several emotions often grouped with existentialism; the most outstanding being fear and anxiety. Society had declared Meursault absurd because of his unrelenting uniqueness and through this, the title of the book may be derived. Meursault has become a stranger in his own world, a social outcast punished for crimes which are both ridiculous and yet the norm. Camus, through his utilization of Meursault, has thoroughly explained the absurdities of life and how they, along with the actions of Meursault, thoroughly portray his existentialist beliefs as they were meant to be. By supplying Meursault with the nature to rebel against preconceived misconceptions, Camus has managed to provide the reader with the ability to easily decipher and gain insight to the ideals of an existentialist.
The role of the “strange little woman” in the novel The Stranger by Albert Camus plays relates to a larger theme at play in the text. This woman intrigues Meursault as he is having dinner at Celeste’s and she asks him if she can join him at his table. This little robot-like woman provides a bold contrast to Meursault’s own character, and it is very prevalent to the reader. “While she was waiting for her first course, she opened her bag, took out a slip of paper and a pencil, added up the bill in advance, then took the exact amount, plus tip, out of a vest pocket and set it down on the table in front of her”(43).
Every little moment of her life was carefully planned out, contrasting Meursault’s character as he spends his days smoking and looking out the window. This “strange little woman” helps the reader really see the contrasting characters to get to know Meursault a little better.
Meursault does not have every moment planned out like the robotic woman does, for he likes to let life just happen. In some ways, we can see that Meursault himself can be stigmatized as a robot.
He lives day-by-day going through the motions of life and daily routine. He asks little about anything and does not desire the reasoning behind many occurrences that happen in his life. “I didn’t have anything to do, so I left too and followed her for a while” (43). Meursault decides to follow the women because he is very curious of her actions and is intrigued by her robotic like movements. He does not seem to understand what propels her to move forward so fast-paced and live her life with such structure.
In one way, the woman can be seen as a robot following routine for an ultimate purpose, and on the other hand, Meursualt can be seen as a robot following routine just to pass the day by without an ultimate goal or purpose. Camus introduces this woman in the novel to show that not everyone is the same, but all come in different forms. Oftentimes individuals that are perceived the same have the same qualities but different characteristics. For example, the woman and Meursault can both by perceived as robots, living everyday in a routine fashion, however their robotic characteristic are contrasting.
After following the woman for a short period of time, Meursault looses interest and forgets about her. “I thought about how peculiar she was but forgot about her a few minutes later”(44). This is an example of how Meursault lives his life without a care and is detached from society and the world around him. The moment we see that he is finally fascinated with something, he quickly goes back to his old characteristics of not caring. This is how he is able to forget about the “strange little woman” so quickly and goes on with his day like nothing had happened.