Albert Camus' the Stranger: Meursault Is Aloof, Detached, and Unemotio

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Albert Camus' The Stranger: Meursault Is Aloof, Detached, and Unemotional

In The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays Meursault, the book's narrator and main character, as aloof, detached, and unemotional. He does not think much about events or their consequences, nor does he express much feeling in relationships or during emotional times. He displays an impassiveness throughout the book in his reactions to the people and events described in the book. After his mother's death he sheds no tears; seems to show no emotions. He displays limited feelings for his girlfriend, Marie Cardona, and shows no remorse at all for killing an Arab. His reactions to life and to people distances him from his emotions, positive or negative, and from intimate relationships with others, thus he is called by the book's title, "the stranger". While this behavior can be seen as a negative trait, there is a young woman who seems to want to have a relationship with Meursault and a neighbor who wants friendship. He seems content to be indifferent, possibly protected from pain by his indifference.

Meursault rarely shows any feeling when in situations which would, for most people, elicit strong emotions. Throughout the vigil, watching over his mother's dead body, and at her funeral, he never cries. He is, further, depicted enjoying a cup of coffee with milk during the vigil, and having a smoke with a caretaker at the nursing home in which his mother died. The following day, after his mother's funeral, he goes to the beach and meets a former colleague named Marie Cardona. They swim, go to a movie, and then spend the night together. Later in their relationship, Marie asks Meursault if he wants to marry her. He responds that it doesn't matter to him, and if she wants to get married, he would agree. She then asks him if he loves her. To that question he responds that he probably doesn't, and explains that marriage really isn't such a serious thing and doesn't require love....
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