Emotionless Action

Throughout Albert Camus’s novel, The Stranger, Meursault displays his lack of emotion and drive through his words and actions. In the beginning of part I, Meursault’s lack of emotions can be seen in his behavior during the time of his mother’s death. The day after his mother’s funeral, Meursault went to the beach and asked out his former coworker Marie. When she discovered his mother had passed, “She wanted to know how long ago, so I said ‘Yesterday.’ I felt like telling her it wasn’t my fault, but I stopped myself… it didn’t mean anything. Besides you always feel a little guilty”(20). Meursault told Marie his mother had died only a day before as if it had no significance whatsoever. Later in Part I, this same lack of emotions is seen when Marie asks Meursault if he wants to marry her and if he thinks marriage is serious. Meursault states “That evening Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said it didn’t make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to”(41). Even for a notion as big as marriage, Meursault didn’t seem to care at all if he did or did not marry Marie which is very out of the norm for a typically human being. For most people, their mother’s death and their marriage/engagment are two very significant and emotional events however in Meursault’s case, he did not experience any strong opinion or feeling. This trait of Meursault could be caused by his experience in school where he states “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”(41). Due to this experience in his life, Meursault no longer has strong ambitions which provides some reasoning to his lack of emotion in the events occurring in his life.

4 thoughts on “Emotionless Action

  1. Danielle W

    My post on Part 1 is also related to the subject of Meursault’s apathy. I like your alternate perspective of the subject and how you included the part of the story where Meursault “learned very quickly that none of it really mattered”. I think this is an important thing to include because it provides some indication as to why he is the way he is. If a person believes that nothing matters, then it is likely that person does not believe the way they live their life matters. This reminds me of the Myth of Sisyphus because it also questions the meaning of life and the happiness that comes from knowing one’s purpose.

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  2. Zach B

    Yeah, I think it is really strange how little emotion there is. His mom dying does not even seem like that big of a deal to him. It is definitely not a typical thing to see.

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  3. AVA ECKMAN

    I do think that it is important to recognize the lack of emotion that Meursault has with those two events (the funeral and Marie asking to be married) to further show his character. I think that the fact that he remains emotionless though is maybe tied to his relationship with his mother, or lack of one. Because of this he is unable to form meaningful relationships with other people in his life like Marie and that’s why he cannot give her an answer about love or marriage.

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  4. I think it is very interesting that he has such lack of emotions. I never put together the part that he used to have them but as he grew older he had less ambition which made him part of the way he is now. Very good point Sofia!

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