Summary Of Part 1 Of The Stranger

Essay, Research Paper

Mersault is notified by mail that his mother has died, though he is not sure of the exact date. He notes that the entire funeral moved so fast and deliberately that he remembers nothing except a comment of the nurse and the image of Perez crying. Upon waking up from his 12 hour sleep, Meursault realizes that it is Saturday and that he will receive a total of four days off from work. He notices how the apartment was too big with Mama gone and so he has only kept up what is necessary for his daily life. Meursault returns to work and works hard. The boss is kind. He is relieved to find that Mama was “about sixty” when she died.

On his way home from work, Meursault runs into his neighbor Salamano and his dog. The two have been inseparable for eight years and not only look alike, but hate each other. Meursault’s narration skips ahead a week but fills us quickly in on the details. A fight breaks out in Raymond’s room between him and his girlfriend. The woman screams in such a way that the whole building goes out to see the fight. Later in the day Meursault is visited by Raymond who tells him how his plan had gone along as expected until she slapped him and then he had beaten her. Raymond calls Meursault at his office, which annoys Meursault because his boss does not like them to receive personal calls. Raymond tells him that they are invited to a beach house of a friend of his and that he can bring Marie.

Marie visits Meursault after work and asks if he would like to marry her. He agrees if that is what she would like but still says it does not matter and he does not love her. They go for a walk and Meursault mentions the beautiful women they see. Marie agrees,

leaves and Meursault has dinner at Celeste’s. Meursault finds it difficult to wake up on Sunday but Marie shakes him awake. The day before Meursault had testified that Raymond’s girl had been cheating on him and Raymond got off with a warning. Meursault falls asleep until right before lunch. Meursault devours his lunch and then takes a walk with the other men.

They walk along until they see two Arabs on the beach, one being Raymond’s man. They approach and Raymond and Masson fight with them. Raymond is cut with a knife and he and Masson go to bandage it before returning to the house. Meursault has to explain to the women but does not like to, so says very little. Raymond heads back down the beach later and Meursault follows him although he wants to be alone. They find the two Arabs again, lying on the beach. Raymond wants to shoot but Meursault talks him into giving him the gun, which he will shoot for Raymond if the knife is drawn again. The Arabs back away at the last minute and Meursault and Raymond walk back.

Not wanting to enter the bungalow, Meursault goes back to the beach. He sees Raymond’s Arab again though he did not intend to search him out. The two watch each other, hardly moving. Meursault notes that the last two hours have stood still. Knowing that he could just turn and leave, he cannot help but move forward. The pain of the sun and heat and salt leaves him dazed and unable to breath or think clearly. The trigger gives and he realizes he has shattered the day and happiness. He has shot the Arab. He fires four more times.


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