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.
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)
Why does Meursault shoot four more times? Maybe because, in his mind, the Arab is no more dead once he's been shot than he was when he was alive. Check out the line Meursault shouts at the chaplain, when he accuses him of living "like a dead man."
[…] 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 squeezed my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave. (1.6.24)
At the Arab’s death, Meursault gives agency to the trigger, not to himself.
At first, I didn’t take him seriously. I was led into a curtained room; there was a single lamp on his desk which was shining on a chair where he had me sit while he remained standing in the shadows. I had read descriptions of scenes like this in books and it all seemed like a game to me. […] On my way out, I was even going to shake his [the policeman's] hand, but just in time, I remembered that I had killed a man. (2.1.2)
Because Meursault doesn’t yet take death seriously, he can’t take the accusation seriously. He hasn’t developed his understanding of mortality—that doesn’t come until the very end of the novel.