Man and the Natural World Quotes Page 7
How we cite our quotes:
The sun was starting to burn my cheeks, and I could feel drops of sweat gathering in my eyebrows. That sun was the same as it had been the day I’d buried Maman, and like then, my forehead especially was hurting me, all the veins in it throbbing under the sun. It was this burning, which I couldn’t stand anymore, that made me move forward. I knew that it was stupid, that I wouldn’t get the sun off me by stepping forward. (1.6.24)
Meursault notes that the sun is much like the day he buried Maman – we wonder if his repressed anger/sadness/emotion in general from her death has anything to do with his sudden lashing out here.
[…] the Arab drew his knife and held it up to me in the sun. The light shot off the steel and it was like a long flashing blade cutting at my forehead. At the same instant the sweat in my eyebrows dripped down over my eyelids all at once and covered them with a warm, thick film. My eyes were blinded behind the curtain of tears and salt. All I could feel were the cymbals of sunlight crashing on my forehead and, indistinctly, the dazzling spear flying up from the knife in front of me. The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes. That’s when everything began to reel. The sea carried up a thick, fiery breath. It seemed to me as if the sky split open from one end to the other to rain down fire. My whole being tensed and I squeeze my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave. (1.6.24)
Meursault’s description of the sky splitting open to "rain down fire" is oddly religious. Could it be that he feels he ought to be punished (for not grieving his mother’s death), and that this self-destruction is why he pulls the trigger?
I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings. (2.1.4)
That’s about as explicit as it gets. You can apply this line to all of Meursault’s words and actions in The Stranger.