by Albert Camus
The Stranger Isolation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Matthew Ward's translation, published by Vintage International published in 1989.
Then he offered to bring me a cup of coffee with milk. I like milk in my coffee, so I said yes, and he came back a few minutes later with a tray. I drank the coffee. Then I felt like having a smoke. But I hesitated, because I didn’t know if I could do it with Maman right there. I thought about it; it didn’t matter. I offered the caretaker a cigarette and we smoked. (1.1.13)
Although Meursault feels a twinge of self-consciousness here (he is unsure as to whether he is doing the right thing), he ultimately excuses it as something meaningless. This can be seen a detachment or remorselessness, depending on the context.
That’s when Maman’s friends came in. there were about ten in all, and they floated into the blinding light without a sound. They sat down without a single chair creaking. I saw them more clearly than I had ever seen anyone […]. But I couldn’t hear them, and it was hard for me to believe they really existed. (1.1.15)
Meursault is content being a spectator in life, and may even be slightly solipsistic (solipsism is the belief that the self is all that we can truly know exists). This is certainly one explanation for his self-prescribed isolation.
Soon one of the women started crying. […] I thought she’d never stop. […] The woman kept on crying. […] I wished I didn’t have to listen to her anymore. But I didn’t dare say anything. (1.1.16)
Meursault is so unattached and without pain over his mother’s death that others’ expressions of sadness annoy him more than they affect him.