An Unhappy Ending, or Just a Realistic One?

Throughout the novel, Nadia and Saeed’s relationship becomes increasingly more strained and increasingly more platonic than romantic. Towards the end of the novel, there is a clear shift when Nadia moves into her own room, and she and Saeed start to miss their meetings, eventually forgetting to miss the meetings altogether. “While the first shared weekend walk that they skipped was noticed sharply by them both, the second was not so much and the third almost not at all, and soon they were meeting only once a month or so, and several days would pass in between a message or call”(222). As time begins to pass, they both shift away from their dependence on one another. They form separate relationships and allow themselves to have new beginnings. Their relationship had been significant, and made a big impact on them both in major ways, but had just stopped serving them. It was no longer beneficial, for them to remain together. I recall when I was reading that I hoped there would be a moment where their love was rekindled, and they lived happily ever after in the company of one another. However, I soon realized that this was in no way shape, or form realistic, nor would it be fair to Nadia or Saeed. They had changed one another so drastically, they were no longer a fit. I believe that the end of the story, while almost neutral, is fitting for the narrative. When Nadia and Saeed meet up after so many years away from one another, there is a comforting vibe to the novel, especially when it stated ” they rose and embraced and parted and did not know, then, if that evening would ever come”(231). They are reminiscing on past promises and connect physically one final time as if to finally close the book on their relationship, which I think is the most realistic, optimistic ending possible.

Meursault: Cold and Heartless, or All-knowing?

Throughout the novel, The Stranger, we are often presented with the idea that Meursault is unfeeling and doesn’t really confront his emotions. He often comes off as cold, closed off, and unable to love. When he attended his mother’s funeral, he didn’t want to see her body and never so much as shed a tear for his dead mother. Despite this, he felt as though he “was able to understand Maman better”(15). While he didn’t have an outwardly expressive legubious reaction to the death of his mon, he was able to foster a deeper connection and understanding of her even afer her passing. Towards the end of the novel, he states that she “must have felt free and ready to live it all again. Nobody, nobody had the right to cry over her”(122). He obviously has found peace in her death, maybe due to the fact that his own is impending. He is able to find comfort in the fact that she has died and is reliving her life elsewhere. I found it immensly interesting how right at the end of the novel Meursault brings up the fact that he feels no one should be allowed to cry over her. Is this beause of his own guilt about not being sad at her funeral, or because she is happy and free now in death. He was simply ahead of his time, not crying for her at any point, because he new she was free, and that death had offered her this freedom.

Why Do People Love People Who Don’t Love Them Back?

A common theme that stood out to me in the first part of this novel was how much Marie loves Meursault, and how indifferent Meursault is towards Marie. “When she laughed I wanted her again. A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so. She looked sad. But as we were fixing lunch, and for no apparent reason, she laughed in such a way that I kissed her”(35). Obviously, we can see that there is no apparent termination to the relationship upon the realization that Marie and Meursault are not on the same page emotionally. Meursault, while not in love , is still very physically attracted to Marie, only truely caring about her in a sexual, physically affectionate nature. He is positively indifferent in any conversation with her regaurding the future as well as feelings. “That evening Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said that it didn’t make any dfference to me and that we could if she wanted to. Themn she wanted to know if I loved her. I answered the same way I has the last time, that it didn’t really mean anything but that I probably didn’t love her”(41). The relationship dynamic is so interesting in the way that Meursault is willing to do almost anything to make Marie happy and keep her in the relationship even if it is not really something he wants to do. I almost wonder if he’s doing this as a way to avoid confict or if he simply does not actually care. I also find it peculiar that Marie continues her relationship with Meursault because she does care how he feels about her. She loves him and wants him to love her even though he has stated on several occasions he does not feel the same way.