| Quote #16
She just wanted to know if I would have accepted the same proposal from another woman, with whom I was involved in the same way. I said, "Sure." Then she said she wondered if she loved me, and there was no way I could know about that. After another moment’s silence, she mumbled that I was peculiar, that that was probably why she loved me but that one day I might hate her for the same reason. I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t have anything to add, so she took my arm with a smile and said she wanted to marry me. (1.5.4)
Check out the line, "I didn’t have anything to add." Look familiar? This is what Meursault says after his execution sentence is read. Does he honestly never have anything to say? Or is it that anything he could say would be pointless?
| Quote #17
Then he said, very quickly and with an embarrassed look, that he realized that some people in the neighborhood thought badly of me for having sent Maman to the home, but he knew me and he knew I loved her very much. I still don’t know why, but I said that until then I hadn’t realized that people thought badly of me for doing it, but that the home had seemed like the natural thing since I didn’t have enough money to have Maman cared for. (1.5.9)
Old Salamano’s apologetic comment is the first instance of society’s negative opinion of Meursault that Meursault is aware of – at least as far as we’ve seen. Meursault, of course, doesn’t seem to care.
| Quote #18
We [Raymond and Meursault] stared at each other without blinking, and everything came to a stop there between the sea, the sand, and the sun, and the double silence of the flute and the water. It was then that I realized that you could either shoot or not shoot. (1.6.18)
Even if there is no meaning to life, every person faces a choice in every situation. At this point in the book, however, Meursault’s sense of detachment prevents his thinking or acting rationally.