by Albert Camus
The Stranger Passivity 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.
Since we’re all going to die, it’s obvious that when and how don’t matter. Therefore […] I had to accept the rejection of my appeal. (2.5.8)
Meursault has logically come to the conclusion that he must passively accept his death sentence.
Then, I don’t know why, but something inside me snapped. I started yelling at the top of my lungs, and I insulted him and told him not to waste his prayers on me. I grabbed him by the collar of his cassock. I was pouring out on him everything that was in my heart. […] He seemed so certain about everything, didn’t he? And yet none of his certainties was worth one hair of a woman’s head. He wasn’t even sure he was alive, because he was living like a dead man. […] But I was sure about me, about everything, surer than he could ever be, sure of my life and sure of the death I had waiting for me. Yes, that was all I had. But at least I had as much of a hold on it as it had on me. (2.5.25)
This is the most active we’ve seen so far, and a big part of his revelation. By bringing in emotions of "anger" and "joy," by "yelling," Meursault breaks away from his old, passive self.
As if that blind rage has washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, I that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much life myself – so like a brother, really – I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate. (2.5.26)
Here’s the big switch. Meursault no longer passively accepts his death, but actively goes towards it. He is no longer passively content, but actively happy.