Study Guide

The Stranger Part 1, Chapter 4

By Albert Camus

Part 1, Chapter 4

  • Meursault works hard all week. Raymond tells him the letter is sent, so the plan is in action. Meursault goes to the movies twice with Emmanuel, who has trouble following the plot.
  • On Saturday, he frolics (yes, that's right, "frolics") with Marie on a beach a few miles outside Algiers. After all afternoon in the sun, the two hurriedly catch a bus home to go at it ("go at it" being yet another useful euphemism for sex).
  • That morning, Marie asks Meursault if he loves her. He responds: 1) that's an irrelevant question, and 2) no, he doesn't.
  • Marie is sad, but not enough to gather her dignity and head for the door.
  • As the two fix their lunch, a fight breaks out in Raymond's room; they hear a woman's loud shriek. The duo gathers, along with others on the landing, to witness Raymond hitting a woman repeatedly.
  • Was that even part of the plan?
  • Luckily, a cop shows up, so the woman runs to him for protection.
  • The cop questions Raymond, who disrespectfully smokes a cigarette. The policeman responds by smacking Raymond across the face.
  • The cop sends the woman home and essentially tells Raymond he had better have a good lawyer.
  • With the commotion over, everyone leaves. Meursault and Marie go back to their non-love-infused lunch until Marie takes off and Meursault has… a nap. Again.
  • At three p.m., Raymond knocks on Meursault's door to tell his story. He executed the plan with his mistress, but then, having been spit at in the face, she slapped him, and he retaliated.
  • The two go for a walk. Raymond asks Meursault to be a character witness for him; Meursault agrees, since all he has to do is state that the woman had cheated on Raymond.
  • After a brandy or two, the men shoot a game of pool. Raymond then suggests visiting a whorehouse, but Meursault declines, because he "[doesn't] like that."
  • So the two leisurely stroll back to their apartments; Meursault thinks they shared a nice moment, showing that he thinks of scheming against women as a brotherly sport.
  • A ways from the apartment, the pair encounters Salamano standing at the entrance steps, flustered and missing his dog.
  • Salamano reveals that his dog disappeared when they were at the Parade Ground, and most likely ran off from there.
  • Raymond points out that the dog might have gotten lost and will probably find his way back. Either way, Salamano is distraught, since anyone who finds the dog will shoot him down because of his disgusting scabs. No person would want such a creature.
  • On that cheerful note, everyone parts ways. A minute later, Salamano knocks on Meursault's door, looking for comfort. Meursault tells him about the pound, and suggests that he go there to find the dog.
  • Disappointed and still distraught, old Salamano goes back to his apartment.
  • As Meursault prepares for bed, he overhears Salamano crying. This reminds him of his mother, but he brushes the thought aside before he comes to the obvious conclusion that he is a callous jerk who can't even cry for his mother, which of course we're all thinking too.