Close Reading: “The Stranger” By Albert Camus
The opening of “The Stranger” Meursault is informed of his mother’s death. Meursault tells us: “I got a telegram from the home: “Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.” That doesn't mean anything.” (page 3); a very strong statement to set the mood of this chapter. When he finished reading the telegram his first thought is: “That doesn't mean anything.” this can give the reader the idea that Meursault is disconnected, cold, and perhaps that he may have never been very close to his mother. Throughout the first chapter Meursault appears cold, and disconnected, perhaps because of his neutrality in his approach to his mother’s death. Another good example of this disconnection that Camus establishes is when Meursault's boss is displeased with him for taking time off “I even said “It's not my fault.” He didn't say anything. Then I thought I shouldn't have said that. After all, I didn't have anything to apologize for." (p.3)
There is a passage on pages six and seven where the caretaker of the home Meursault's mother lives offers Meursault to see the body: “He was moving towards the casket when I stopped him. He said, “You don't want to?” I answered, “No.” He was quiet, and I was embarrassed because I felt I shouldn't have said that.” He “felt” he shouldn't have said that, he's still very human, and at times somebody you can connect with when he goes through moments like this. Later on you can understand more so: “He looked at me and then asked, “Why not?” but without criticizing, as if he just wanted to know. I said, “I don't know.”...” Meursault comes off as an absurdist; perhaps he doesn't see much of a point in seeing his mother again.
Something about Meursault's character seems to really show itself (p. 16-17) when he is describing the scenery. “...All around me there was still the same glowing countryside flooded with the moment there is something that catches his interest, or benefits him, his...
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