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.
He gave the policeman a warm handshake. I noticed then that everyone was waving and exchanging greetings and talking, as if they were in a club where people are glad to find themselves among others from the same world. That is how I explained to myself the strange impression I had of being odd man out, a kind of intruder. (2.3.4)
Why does Meursault refer to his feeling like an outsider as a "strange impression?" You’d think he would be used to such a feeling by now. This passage reminds us that Meursault is actually less aware than the reader of his own strange nature.
The reporters […] all had the same indifferent and somewhat snide look on their faces. One of them, however, much younger than the others, wearing gray flannels and a blue tie, had left his pen lying in front of him and was looking at me […] examining me closely without betraying any definable emotion. And I had the odd impression of being watched by myself. (2.3.7)
The courtroom spectators represent society; they are there to judge Meursault, the detached, nonconforming outsider. Ironically, however, the spectators are a pretty detached group themselves. Even more ironically, Meursault identifies with one of them, signifying that he is also beginning to judge himself by society’s rubric.
To another question [the director of the home] replied that he had been surprised by my calm the day of the funeral. He was asked what he meant by "calm." The director then looked down at the tips of his shoes and said that I hadn’t wanted to see Maman, that I hadn’t cried once, and that I had left right after the funeral without paying my last respects at her grave. (2.3.14)
Feeling no sadness over his mother’s death, Meursault’s detachment is starting to get him into real trouble.