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 I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness. (1.6.24)
Meursault recognizes that his action will lead to "unhappiness," yet he doesn’t stop himself. It’s interesting that he takes the agency for the latter four shots ("I fired four more times") but not for the initial shot ("The trigger gave").
The investigators had learned that I had "shown insensitivity" the day of Maman’s funeral. […] He [the lawyer] asked if I had felt any sadness that day. […] I answered that I had pretty much lost the habit of analyzing myself and that it was hard for me to tell him what he wanted to know. I probably did love Maman, but that didn’t mean anything. At one time or another all normal people have wished their loved ones were dead. Here the lawyer interrupted me and he seemed very upset. He made me promise I wouldn’t say that at my hearing or in front of the examining magistrate. (2.1.4)
Characteristically, Meursault’s honest answer betrays just how detached and apathetic he seems toward certain affairs or concepts. He refuses to adopt the perception that is approved by society; he refuses to lie to save himself.
He started out by saying that people were describing me as a taciturn and withdrawn person and he wanted to know what I thought. I answered, "It’s just that I don’t have much to say. So I keep quiet." (2.1.8)
Meursault attributes his having nothing to say to his passivity. Society apparently judges that other reasons, such as immorality or evil, account for his detachment.