by Albert Camus
The Stranger Mortality 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 was with his dog. The two of them have been inseparable for eight years. The spaniel has a skin-disease – mange, I think – which makes almost all of its hair fall out and leaves it covered with brown sores and scabs. After living together for so long, the two of them alone in one tiny room, they’ve ended up looking like each other. […] They look as if they belong to the same species, and yet they hate each other. (1.3.4)
Ah! Meursault has actually hit on his eventual revelation here, but is too ignorant to see it yet. What is it that makes Salamano and his dog look alike? The fact that they are both decaying – both dying. Meursault’s conclusion at the end of the text – that all creatures are made equal by death – is actually right here in front of his face. Too bad; that could have saved a lot of pages, one murder victim, a victim of domestic abuse, and a visit to the guillotine.
Just for something to say, I asked him about his dog. He told me he’d gotten it after his wife died […]. He hadn’t been happy with his wife, but he’d pretty much gotten used to her. When she died he had been very lonely. So he asked a shop buddy for a dog and he’d gotten this one very young. He’d had to feed it from a bottle. But since a dog doesn’t live as long as a man, they’d ended up being old together. "And," he added, "you didn’t know him before he got sick. His coat was the best thing about him." Every night and every morning after the dog had gotten that skin disease, Salamano rubbed him with ointment. But according to him, the dog’s real sickness was old age, and there’s no cure for old age. (1.5.8)
Argh! Here it is again! Salamano’s dog is directly compared to his wife, suggesting that they are in fact equal. Again, Meursault can’t make the connection.