The Stranger- Chapter 3 Analysis

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While chapters one and 2 serve to characterize Meursault as generally emotionless (ie: his Mother’s funeral and affair with Marie) Chapter 3 works to establish Meursault as a “friend” to different people. Just the same as his relationships with his mother and girlfriend, Meursault’s relationships with his friends are what one can deem as unconventional. In doing so the author reveals some truths about Meursault and the nature of free will and judgement. The first set of interactions involves both Emmanual and Celeste who the reader can consider Meursault’s truest friends in the accepted sense of the word. Emmanual and Meursault take a break from work together to get lunch at Celeste’s. The two hitch a ride by jumping on the back of a truck and careen through the city until arriving at Celeste’s. Emmanual thoroughly enjoys the experience and is described as, “laughing so hard he could hardly breathe.” (25) Upon arrival Celeste asks if everything is ok with Meursault. “He asked me if things were ‘all right now.’ I told him yes they were and said I was hungry.” (25) One can assume that these two represent what society would call a good friendship. Emmanual is jovial and spritied in Meursault’s presence and Celeste is genuinely concerned for his friend’s emotional state after his mother’s deeath. Despite Meursault’s lack of deeper emotions and deeper connection with either person he is able to be considered a good friend by partaking in cursory levels of friend ship and by appeasing them with answers they want to hear. The second friend Meursault meets serves to characterize Meursault as non-judgmental. Meursault explains in detail the actions of Salamano and his dog. The two have been repeating the same actions for the last eight years. Meursault states, “You can see them in the rue de Lyon, the dog pulling the man along until old Salmano stumbles. Then he beats the dog and swears at it. The dog cowers and trails behind. Then it’s the old man who pulls the dog....
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