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Quotes

Quote #28

[…] for the first time in years, I had this stupid urge to cry, because I could feel how much all these people hated me. (2.3.14)

Buckling under the pressure, Meursault relinquishes his detachment. He is beginning to feel the force of condemnation against him.

Quote #29

[The caretaker] answered the questions put to him. He said I hadn’t wanted to see Maman, that I had smoked and slept some, and that I had had some coffee. It was then I felt a stirring go through the room and for the first time I realized that I was guilty. (2.3.15)

Interesting! Meursault realizes that he is guilty – of being cold-hearted, not of shooting the Arab. At this point, not only does he realize that he is on trial more for his character than his crime, but he condemns himself for that very character.

Quote #30

In a way, they seemed to be arguing the case as if it had nothing to do with me. Everything was happening without my participation. My fate was being decided without anyone so much as asking my opinion. (2.4.1)

Meursault accuses others of having his own sense of removal; they judge the case as though he isn’t there. It’s interesting, though, that this is how he treated other people (like the soldier on the bus, or Perez at the nursing home) up until now.

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