by Albert Camus
The Stranger Sadness 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.
The investigators had learned that I had "shown insensitivity" the day of Maman’s funeral. […] He [the lawyer] asked if I had felt any sadness that day. […] I answered that I had pretty much lost the habit of analyzing myself and that it was hard for me to tell him what he wanted to know. I probably did love Maman, but that didn’t mean anything. At one time or another all normal people have wished their loved ones were dead. Here the lawyer interrupted me and he seemed very upset. He made me promise I wouldn’t say that at my hearing or in front of the examining magistrate. (2.1.4)
Meursault doesn’t understand the impact of his words and lack of emotion. Of the lawyer’s reaction, he says "he seemed very upset," as though he (Meursault) has not considered how odd his own statement was.
To another question [the director of the home] replied that he had been surprised by my calm the day of the funeral. He was asked what he meant by "calm." The director then looked down at the tips of his shoes and said that I hadn’t wanted to see Maman, that I hadn’t cried once, and that I had left right after the funeral without paying my last respects at her grave. (2.3.14)
Even the director is embarrassed for Meursault (he looks down at his shoes) and his inability to grieve.
[The caretaker] answered the questions put to him. He said I hadn’t wanted to see Maman, that I had smoked and slept some, and that I had had some coffee. It was then I felt a stirring go through the room and for the first time I realized that I was guilty. (2.3.15)
How interesting that Meursault’s not caring about his mother’s death ends up causing his own death.