The novel immediately starts off with Meursault receiving word that his mother died. He seems pretty indifferent as he goes through asking off work and attending the funeral. When he returns home from the funeral, he pretty much goes straight back into normal life as if nothing was different. He enters a relationship with Marie and befriends his neighborhood pimp, Raymond. Throughout, he remains detached from reality around him, being indifferent to the fact that his girlfriend is in love with him.
His apathy (somehow) results in his engagement to Marie and they (along with Raymond) go on vacation to the beach. While at the beach, Meursault shoots and killed an Arab man who was the brother of Raymond’s mistress. After his arrest, Meursault’s attorney seems disgusted at his detachment and indifferentness to the murder in addition to his mother’s death. When Meursault meets with the magistrate, the magistrate claims that Meursault is the antichrist. Meursault easily adapts to life in prison, hardly even noticing what he was missing from before.
Eventually, he is sentenced to death. He freaks out on the chaplain and finally accepts that he will die and life holds no greater meaning. He finally feels happy (which is something) Significant Passages Quotation/Summary (include pg. #) Significance (relation to theme, turning point for plot or character, show meaning of title, change in technique/effect, etc. ) “Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter. ” “I would rather not have upset him, but I couldn’t see any reason to change my life. Looking back on it, I wasn’t unhappy.
When I was a student, I had lots of ambitions like that. But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered. ” I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn’t dissatisfied with mine here at all. “It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed. ” “Mostly, I could tell, I made him feel uncomfortable. He didn’t understand me, and he was sort of holding it against me.
I felt the urge to reassure him that I was like everybody else, just like everybody else. But really there wasn’t much point, and I gave up the idea out of laziness. ” “I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored” This passage can act as a turning point for Meursault. Now that he’s in jail and it’s obvious he’s not going to win his case, he realizes that no matter what happens in life, once you die nothing else is going to matter.
Just because someone is more righteous doesn’t mean their death will be any different than someone like Meursault. This shows that Meursault once was an actual human being that fit into society. He had dreams and goals and obviously something had to happen that made him not care anymore. Again, Meursault is finding acceptance in his life. He realizes that life is a constant thing no matter what you do in it or how you live it. This shows that at least he thinks of his mother and how she’s gone.
Since his mother hadn’t really been in his life for a while, nothing seemed different for him and even though it’s sort of understandable, it’s a bit odd as well. I think this is where we see that Meursault doesn’t really separate himself from others in society as society has done to him. He believes he’s just like everyone else and that there is little difference to be seen. I guess this is his way of saying that jail isn’t much different from the outside world. He’s not necessarily missing out on anything and any memory or experience that he could get on the outside, is similar to what he could do while in jail.
Characters (major and significant minor) Name Role in the Story Significance Adjectives Meursault Marie Cardona Raymond Salamano Narrator/Protagonist Love interest/sort of, kind of fiancee of the protagonist. Sleazy pimp/neighbor of the protagonist. Neighbor of the protagonist He’s the main character of the story who seems to show little emotion after the death of his mother and murdering a person. She’s Meursault’s girlfriend, whom he met the day after his mother’s funeral. She’s in love with him even though he’s indifferent about his feelings towards her.
Although it’s not confirmed, Raymond is totally a pimp and is the reason Meursault is in this mess in the first place. He gives Meursault the gun and technically the person Meursault killed was only there because of Raymond. Although he’s merely a neighbor of Meursault, Salamano drags Meursault’s attention towards himself a lot. Whether it’s because he’s beating his dog or talking about his wife, Meursault has shown some pity for him. Detached, apathetic, indifferent Loving, nonjudgmental, accepting Manipulative, violent, sleazy aggressive, remorseful, lonely.
Setting (place & time) Significance of opening scene French Algeria in the early 1940s. The opening scene gives the readers a type of first impression of Meursault. He’s just found out that his only living relative has died and he shows a significant amount of indifference that leads the reader to believe that Meursault doesn’t care or in this case doesn’t match up to the societal norm. Symbols/images/motifs and what they represent: Significance of ending/closing scene The sun is mentioned twice in the book both having the same effect on Meursault.
It’s distracting and also leaves him irritable which leads the nursing home people to believe that he wants to be anywhere but his mother’s funeral and it also leads Meursault to killing the Arab. In the closing scene it is seen that Meursault has come to accept everything that is going on and we see a new side to who he is. All this time we think he is this apathetic character when really he just thinks that life is just pointless. Major Conflict Related works for discussion: Society versus Meursault The Catcher in the Rye Major Themes Literary devices and their effects Mortality Life and it’s true meaning Religion The Afterlife