Upon hearing news of his mother’s death, Meursault is dispassionate and nonchalant, as if he’s heard of a poor weather forecast for the upcoming weekend that may inconvenience his plans. “Maman died today” (3).
Throughout the first chapters of the novel, the sun is a symbol for the feelings and emotions, which Meursault cannot deal with. The sun becomes a distraction from Meursault’s everyday life and he cannot handle it. It first presents a problem to Meursault at his mother’s funeral.
The weather during the funeral had been beautiful, keeping a neutral tone on Meursault and he felt no grief or sadness. However, once the funeral procession began to walk the “glare from the sky was unbearable” (16). It was very hot and bright, which made him drowsy and showed how he was disinterested in the funeral and bored.
Again the sun makes another appearance towards the end of chapter six, it is the sun shining in his eyes that allegedly motivates Meursault to murder the Arab man. The sun’s heat and glare are enough for Meursault to kill a man, just as in the whole of life, there is no greater meaning there. Ultimately, the sun appears to encourage Meursault, who is already a rather passive fellow, to begin with, to react to the world with the same indifference as reality itself.
Ironically, heat becomes associated with death and the absurdity of life in general.