The Stranger seems to convey the message that passivity is an acceptable way of experiencing life and treating others. For the most part, the narrator/protagonist is an observer – a spectator – of life and its events. He feels detached and alienated from his dead mother. He doesn’t love the woman who wishes to marry him. And, though he participates in life, he observes twice as much. Camus explores in The Stranger the thin line between indifference and acceptance; the novel features this character’s transformation from the former to the latter – a positive transition, in Camus’s world.
From passive contentment to a new absurdist understanding of the world, Meursault’s journey has been one of enlightenment and acceptance.
Meursault’s supposed enlightenment at the end of The Stranger is actually a false revelation; he does not commit to this new outlook, rather examines the possibility of doing so. He is still too passive to act.