Who is the ‘Robot Woman’ from The Stranger?

After having read and discussed The Stranger, for an extended period of time, one character that has stood out to me is the ‘Robot Woman’ from the restaurant, and later, the trial. While both keep to themselves, the contrast between them is striking. One instance that stood out to me was when she sat across from Meursault at the restaurant. He recounts how she “ordered her whole meal all at once, in a voice that was clear and very fast at the same time. While she was waiting for her first course, she opened her bag, took out a slip of paper and a pencil, added up the bill in advance, then took the exact amount, plus tip, out of a vest pocket and set it down on the table in front of her” (43). While she seems to have everything figured out for her, in meticulous detail, none of that makes her any more satisfied or better off than anyone else.

Although it cannot be said that she tries to conform to societal systems like love or religion, every action in itself seems to follow a routine. The purposelessness of her routine parallels the futility of clinging to societal systems, and similarly, she doesn’t have any more control over her life than anyone else– she can’t stop Meursault from following her after her meal. However, she is so different from any normal person that she too is an outsider like Meursault. In effect, I feel the ‘Robot Woman’ gives Meursault a binary that he can define himself against, something that represents everything he is not. As a result of their differences, it is likely that Meursault is more content with his life as he doesn’t try to change his circumstances in any way, while the ‘Robot Woman’ is bound to her never-ending routine. 

5 thoughts on “Who is the ‘Robot Woman’ from The Stranger?

  1. Estefania L.

    I completely forgot about this character after reading her scene at the restaurant. However, this makes complete sense, and I agree that her character is used almost to compare and solidify that Meursault is an outsider but content with that.

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  2. I initially felt confused as to her purpose in the novel. After reading your thoughts I definitely can see how the Robot Woman parallels Mersault and represents everything he is not. Furthermore, I think that the character of the Robot Woman is included in the story for the sole purpose as a FOIL of Mersault. Without her, we would not be able to understand the complexity of Mersault.

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  3. Caroline R.

    I agree that Meursault is kind of the “anti-robot woman” or the foil. I like that you bring up how they are just basically extreme versions of a spectrum. They are each like the furthest to either side.

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