Robot Lady Dines-In

In The Stranger, a strange woman entered Celeste’s and asked Meursault to sit with him. She was quite peculiar and described as having “robotlike movements” (43). Her actions serve as a foil to Meursault’s character.

The robot lady was very driven, quick-moving, and meticulous. She “studied the menu feverishly” and ordered in a “clear and very fast” voice (43). She had a no-nonsense attitude, getting straight to the point. She wasted no time between meals by checking off radio programs “one by one, and with great care” (43). She so deeply cared about checking off the radio programs and then proceeded to continue on with her life with “incredible speed and assurance.”

Meanwhile, Meursault’s character is the opposite. He is passive, soft-spoken, and unmotivated. When asked to move to Paris, he claimed he “wasn’t dissatisfied with [his current life]” and “had no ambition” (41). He does what other people tell him to do and has very little free thought of his own. He would rather stay stagnant than pursue satisfaction. He does not even find passion when being proposed to. He was indifferent and his reasoning for getting married was simply because Marie had wanted to.

yThe robot lady is assertive while Meursault is passive. The robot lady preemptively added up her dinner bill and placed the cash on the table (43). Meursault does whatever other people tell him to do. He prioritizes practicality over happiness. He accepted Raymond’s dinner invitation only so he wouldn’t have to cook for himself (28).

Meursault begins to display motivation and interest by following the robot lady for a while after she left the restaurant. Although this change in character was short lived as he regressed to his old ways and “forgot about her a few minutes later” (44). Maybe Meursault is right: “people never change their lives” (41).

One thought on “Robot Lady Dines-In

  1. ELIAS N.

    I agree that the robot lady represents drive and ambition and that Meursault represents a lack of that. However, I believe that the biggest point that is being made about Robot Lady is that her actions are taken to an extreme that seems uncomfortable and inhuman. Similarly to this, Meursault’s trait of carefreeness and perpetual contentness, often seen as a positive trait, is taken to an inhuman extreme through Meursault’s character. I agree with you that they both represent opposites. I think they also represent extremes of characteristics that are often admirable in moderation, and yet are seen as unnatural when one posesses those characterists in excess.


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