Meursault’s Lack of Emotion Results in Divergence From Society

From the beginning of Albert Camus’ novel, “The Stranger”, the main character Meursault demonstrates a distinct lack of emotion towards typically moving events such as death and relationships which leads to a distinct separation from society. After attending his mothers funeral services and returning home, Meursault’s deepest thoughts are about finally going to sleep. The next day, although boring, results in him reflecting 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” (24). Meursault’s apparent lack of grief towards the death of his mother divides him from the typical societal response to death. He continues on with his daily activities such as going to breakfast at his favorite restaurant, going to the beach, and returning to work after a weekend instead of the archetypal actions such as reconnecting with loved ones, evaluating ones feelings, or reviewing fond memories of the deceased. Meursault further demonstrates his nonchalant view of life after his girlfriend Marie asks him if he loves her. Marie questioned Meursault about his true feelings to which he responds, “…she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so. She looked sad” (35). Meursault’s clear lack of acknowledgment of typical feelings shared in a romantic relationship makes his character appear disconnected from the world around him. Meursault even recognizes that Marie reacts negatively towards his indifferent response, however his unemotional perspective on life renders him incapable of understanding her sadness. Meursault’s uncaring and dispassionate attitudes of generally important events of his life cause a downfall in his relation to society.

One thought on “Meursault’s Lack of Emotion Results in Divergence From Society

  1. Sarah K

    I agree, I think that Meursaults unusual lack of emotions towards all things in life, not just death gives us some insight into how he approaches society as a whole. Like everything else, he is very disconnected and it seems like he truly does not care about anything in life at all. Although we know that Meursault is a human being it sometimes seems like he is not due to his total disconnect from the world and people around him


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