Man and the Natural World Quotes Page 6
How we cite our quotes:
[…] my head ringing from the sun […] the heat was so intense that it was just as bad standing still in the blinding stream falling from the sky. To stay or to go, it amounted to the same thing. A minute later I turned back toward the beach and started walking. There was the same dazzling red glare. The sea gasped for air with each shallow, stifled little wave that broke on the sand. I was walking slowly toward the rocks and I could feel my forehead swelling under the sun. All that heat was pressing down on me and making it hard for me to go on. And every time I felt a blast of its hot breath strike my face, I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists in my trouser pockets, and strained every nerve in order to overcome the sun and the thick drunkenness it was spilling over me. With every blade of light that flashed off the sand, from a bleached shell or a piece of broken glass, my jaws tightened. (1.6.19-20)
The description of the heat accompanies Meursault’s rising annoyance perfectly, foreshadows the impending conflict perfectly, and illustrates properly just how absurd and irrational his forthcoming actions will be.
[…] a blending halo of light and sea spray. I was thinking of the cool spring behind the rock. I wanted to hear the murmur of its water again, to escape the sun and the strain […] and to find shade and rest again at last. (1.6.21)
Nature’s conditions are so brutal that the only thing on Meursault’s mind is escape and peace.
But most of the time, he was just a form shimmering before my eyes in the fiery air. The sound of the waves was even lazier, more drawn out than at noon. It was the same sun, the same light still shining on the same sand as before. It occurred to me that all I hate to do was turn around and that would be the end of it. But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my back. (1.6.23-24)
Meursault is throbbing in the sun just as the beach us. Camus’s descriptions of the sun-drenched conditions complement Meursault’s confused thoughts as we build toward the climax.