Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Without working up to it, he asked if I loved Maman. I said, "Yes, the same as anyone," and the clerk, who up to then had been typing steadily, must have hit the wrong key, because he lost his place and had to go back. (2.1.9)
Either detachment, ignorance (about the concept of love) or logic accompanies Meursault’s answer. The clerk’s reaction represents society’s judgment that Meursault’s answer is due to detachment, or sociopathy.
Then he looked at me closely and with a little sadness in his face. In a low voice he said, "I have never seen a soul as hardened as yours. The criminals who have come before me have always wept at the sight of his image of suffering." I was about to say that that was precisely because they were criminals. But then I realized that I was one too. It was an idea I couldn’t get used to. (2.1.12)
Meursault struggles to come to terms with society’s judgment of his criminality.
To get to the visiting room I went down a long corridor, then down some stairs and, finally, another corridor. […] The room was divided into three sections by two large grates that ran the length of the room. Between the two grates was a space of eight to ten meters which separated the visitors from the prisoners. I spotted Marie standing at the opposite end of the room… Because of the distance between the grates, the visitors and the prisoners were forced to speak very loud. (2.2.3)
The physical layout of the visiting room symbolizes the chasm between upstanding citizens of society and immoral criminals in prison.