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Quotes

Quote #4

The residents usually weren’t allowed to attend funerals. He only let them keep the vigil. "It’s more human that way," he remarked. (1.1.21)

The sadness of others is such an overpowering feeling that the caretaker has to take measures to control it. This, of course, contrasts to Meursault’s lack of emotion.

Quote #5

I told her Maman had died. She wanted to know how long ago, so I said, "Yesterday." She gave a little start but didn’t say anything. I felt like telling her it wasn’t my fault, but I stopped myself because I remembered that I’d already said that to my boss. It didn’t mean anything. Besides, you always feel a little guilty. (1.2.2)

Rather than feeling sadness over his mother’s death, Meursault feels guilt. In the beginning of the novel, Meursault possesses some semblance of a societal conscience.

Quote #6

It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed. (1.2.11)

Meursault almost defends his not feeling sadness; if nothing has changed, why would you grieve at all?

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