The Constant Funeral Face

In part one of The Stranger, it becomes clear that the main character is not like the common main character. Camus’ Meursault differs from the stereotypical idea of a main character, lacking morals and emotions. Meursault disconnects from the world through his not pessimistic view of the world, but his “who cares” view. Putting together possible explanations as I was reading through the pages, I found a quote that, to me, was a correct way to view his personality. “Marie made fun of me because, she said, I had on a ‘funeral face’”(47). Some readers may look right over that comment, however it stood out in particular. 

Throughout the previous chapters and the following chapters where that line takes place, it can be easily inferred that Meursault doesn’t understand and lacks knowledge about his surroundings. He walks into every room with a straight face and just agrees with what others around him are saying. Meursault struggles to locate his own emotions towards events, people, and places. Meursault acts as if he has no meaning or explanation to the everyday activities that he involves himself in, he just does them without any justification. 

Immediately after starting the first chapter of part one, I could pick up that Meursault was not a character in books I have read about before. Following his mother’s death, he had no reaction whatsoever. The first thought and concern he had was whether his boss would be mad at him for leaving work. Whether he is just an unemotional person or leaning more towards lacking morals and social cues, it still didn’t sit well with me. 

From the ending of part one, Meursault killing the Arab was just the beginning for the world and his “friends” to understand his lack of meaning and morals. 

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