1. Describe Meursault’s general impressions of the funeral of his mother. What types of images does he concentrate on? What does this tell us about the character? 3. Who does Meursault meet the day after the funeral and what do they do? 4. What does Raymond Sintes ask Meursault to do and why?Please discuss what the following quote tells us about Meursault. “Mamman 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” Part 1; Chapter 1 (p. 3)

QUESTION

The Stranger Part 1 Quiz/discussion questions (distance learning)

1. Please discuss what the following quote tells us about Meursault. “Mamman 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” Part 1; Chapter 1 (p. 3)

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1. Describe Meursault’s general impressions of the funeral of his mother. What types of images does he concentrate on? What does this tell us about the character? 3. Who does Meursault meet the day after the funeral and what do they do? 4. What does Raymond Sintes ask Meursault to do and why?Please discuss what the following quote tells us about Meursault. “Mamman 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” Part 1; Chapter 1 (p. 3)
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2. Describe Meursault’s general impressions of the funeral of his mother. What types of images does he concentrate on? What does this tell us about the character?

3. Who does Meursault meet the day after the funeral and what do they do?

4. What does Raymond Sintes ask Meursault to do and why?

5. Please discuss what the following tells us about Meursault. “It occurred to me that all I had to do was turn around and that would be the end of it. But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my back…The scorching lade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes. 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 end to rain down fire. My whole being tensed and I squeezed my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave; I felt the smooth underside of the butt; and there, in that noise, sharp and deafening at the same time, is where it all started. I shook off the sweat and the sun. I know that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I’d been happy.” Part 1; Chapter 6 (page 58)

ANSWER

Analyzing Meursault’s Character in “The Stranger” Part 1

Introduction

Albert Camus’ novel “The Stranger” explores the existential themes of meaninglessness and detachment through the character of Meursault. In Part 1 of the novel, Meursault’s unique personality and outlook on life are revealed through his reactions to events and interactions with other characters. This essay aims to discuss and analyze Meursault’s character based on selected quotes and events from Part 1.

 Meursault’s Indifference and Lack of Emotional Attachment

The quote, “Mamman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know,” reflects Meursault’s detached and indifferent attitude towards his mother’s death. He receives the news with minimal emotion, questioning the exact day of her passing and considering it irrelevant. This quote suggests that Meursault lacks the conventional emotional response to the death of a loved one, indicating his overall indifference towards the expectations of society and conventional norms of grieving.

Meursault’s Observations at the Funeral

During the funeral of his mother, Meursault’s attention is drawn to physical details and sensory impressions rather than the emotional gravity of the situation. He focuses on elements like the heat of the sun, the reflections on the coffin, and the physical appearances of people attending the funeral (The Stranger Part One: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis | SparkNotes, n.d.). This preoccupation with sensory details rather than emotional connections reflects Meursault’s detachment from societal expectations and his tendency to experience life primarily through his senses.

Meursault’s Encounter with Marie

The day after the funeral, Meursault meets Marie, a former coworker, and they spend time together swimming and going to the movies (Chapter II, n.d.). This interaction portrays Meursault’s tendency to live in the present moment and prioritize physical experiences. He engages in immediate pleasures without dwelling on the past or contemplating the future, further emphasizing his detachment from societal norms and conventions.

Raymond Sintes’ Request

Raymond Sintes, Meursault’s neighbor, asks him to compose a letter to lure Raymond’s mistress back, despite knowing that she is unfaithful. Meursault agrees to help him without questioning the moral implications. This act illustrates Meursault’s amorality and lack of personal judgment. He is indifferent to the consequences of his actions and seems to be guided more by the present circumstances rather than moral considerations.

Meursault’s Transformation at the Beach

In this pivotal scene, Meursault describes an intense sensory experience at the beach where he encounters the scorching heat and blinding light (Symbolic Meaning of Sun in the Stranger by Albert Camus: [Essay Example], 1717 Words, 2023). This overwhelming experience triggers a transformation within him, leading to the impulsive murder of an Arab man. Meursault’s reaction to the harsh environment suggests that he is influenced by immediate physical sensations rather than rational thought or emotional reasoning. It highlights his tendency to act in the present moment, disregarding the consequences or moral implications.

Conclusion

Meursault’s character in Part 1 of “The Stranger” is portrayed as a detached and indifferent individual who prioritizes immediate physical sensations over emotional connections and societal expectations. Through his unconventional reactions to events and interactions with others, Meursault embodies the existential themes of meaninglessness and detachment prevalent in the novel. Camus uses Meursault’s character to explore the consequences of a life lived solely through the senses, devoid of emotional engagement or moral considerations.

References

Chapter II. (n.d.). https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/s/the-stranger/summary-and-analysis/part-1-chapter-ii 

Symbolic Meaning of Sun in The Stranger by Albert Camus: [Essay Example], 1717 words. (2023, February 2). GradesFixer. https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/truth-dawning-the-sun-as-a-symbol-for-meursaults-awareness-in-albert-camus-the-stranger/ 

The Stranger Part One: Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis | SparkNotes. (n.d.). SparkNotes. https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/stranger/section1/ 

 

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