Simple Summaries

The Stranger

Albert Camus

Part 1, Part 1: Chapter 1  of The Stranger

·       “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know” is a very oddly nonchalantopening line.

o  A telegram pronounced her dead

·       Meursault= MC = aka M

·       M gets a couple days off and takes a bus to where his mom lived

·       M meets the person in charge of where M’s mom lived and says that his mom being there was still a good choice. He also tells M that his mom will have a religious funeral (but M knows his mom wasn’t a religious woman).

·       The coffin guy asks M if he wants to see his mom’s body but M says no

·       The coffin guy keeps talking an M is annoyed

·       He’s just annoyed

o  “I asked him if he could tum off one of the lights. The glare on the white walls was making me drowsy. He said he couldn't. That was how they'd been wired : it was all or nothing. I didn't pay too much attention to him after that.”

·       M just held vigil over his mom’s body. He smokes and drinks coffee then falls asleep. He wakes up when his mom’s friends come in and he is annoyed.

·       The day of the funeral, the funeral director asks M if he wants to see his mom one more time and M says no. He’s not really worried about it.

·       We meet Thomas Perez, M’s mom’s best friend (or boyfriend?)

·       M feels hot and tired and thinks “There was no way out.” The heat bothers him more than his mother dying.

·       On the way home, he’s excited to sleep


Part 1, Part 1: Chapter 2 of The Stranger

·       M has a four day weekend so he goes to the beach

·       He goes out with a former coworker named Marie and has fun

o  “Her hair was in her eyes and she was laughing. I hoisted myself up next to her. It was nice, and, sort of joking around, I let my head fall back and rest on her stomach. She didn't say anything so I left it there. I had the whole sky in my eyes and it was blue and gold.”

o  “I caught up with her, put my arm around her waist, and we swam together. She laughed the whole time.”

·       Marie ends up sleeping over :eyes:

·       M eats breakfast alone by the window after Marie leaves

·       He watches kids run around and then soccer fans and then random people

·       He clearly enjoys people-watching

·       M seems likehe cannot be phased

·       “After lunch I was a little bored and I wandered around the apartment. It was just the right size when Maman was here. Now it's too big for me, and I've had to move the dining room table into my bedroom.”


Part 1, Part 1: Chapter 3 of The Stranger

·       M washes his hands before lunch (part of his routine, I think)

·       M and Emmanuel run to Celeste’s where they drink and nap

·       M runs into his neighbor whose name is Salamano

o  Salamano hates his dog and abuses it: “Then he left, yanking at the animal, which was letting itself be dragged along, whimpering”

·       M runs into a second neighbor, Raymond, who is a pimp

o  “Raymond is a pimp: “Just then my other neighbor came in. The word around the neighborhood is that he lives off women.”

·       Raymond invites M to dinner. Raymond is a very odd person but M agrees anyway.

o  M thinks: “Generally speaking, he's not very popular. But he often talks to me and sometimes stops by my place for a minute, because I listen to him. I find what he has to say interesting."

·       Raymond was in a fight with his mistress’s brother so he beat her up. She left but now he wants revenge.

·       M says the mistress must be cheating and writes a letter for Raymond to send to attract her back

·       Raymond seemingly decided they are pals now


Part 1: Chapter 4 of The Stranger

·       Raymond sent the letter

·       Marie comes over

o  “When she laughed I wanted her again. A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so. She looked sad.”

·       Raymond beat up the woman

o  “First we heard a woman's shrill voice and then Raymond saying, "You used me, you used me. I'll teach you to use me."There were some thuds and the woman screamed, but in such a terrifying way that the landing immediately filled with people. Marie and I went to see, too.”

·       The womantold the police that the man hit her

·       The cop told Raymond not to smoke will talking to them but Raymond did anyway

·       The cop hit Raymond and warned him not to hurt the police

·       “Raymond turned to the girl and said, "You just wait, sweetheart-we're not through yet." The cop told him to knock it off…”

·       Life just goes on


Part 1: Chapter 5 of The Stranger

·       Raymond invites M and Marie to his beach house for the weekend

·       Raymond asks M to keep an eye out for his mistress’s brother

·       M is offered a promotion where he’d work in Paris and M is indifferent

o  “he asked me if I wasn't interested in a change of life. I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn't dissatisfied with mine here at all.”

·       M’s boss says he lacked ambition but M didn’t care: nothing matters

·       Marie proposes to M and M says he’s indifferent

·       Marie has a monologue (basically) about deciding and then decides they should

·       M tells her about the Parisian job offer and Marie encourages him to take it

o  “Then I told her about my boss's proposition and she said she'd love to see Paris.”

·       Marie leaves, M eats alone until a random woman comes to sit with him

o  “I'd already started eating when a strange little woman came in and asked me if she could sit at my table. Of course she could.”

·       The woman is odd and M follows her

o  “I had already finished and she was still checking away with the same zeal. Then she stood up, put her jacket back on with the same robotlike movements, and left. I didn't have anything to do, so I left too and followed her for a while”

·       Later, M forgets about their encounter at all

·       M runs into Salamano and S says M’s mom liked his dog

·       “He said he supposed I must be very sad since Maman died, and I didn't say anything. Then he said, very quickly and with an embarrassed look, that he realized that some people in the neighborhood thought badly of me for having sent Maman to the home, but he knew me and he knew I loved her very much.”


Part 1: Chapter 6 of The Stranger

·       M is groggy and Marie has to yell at him to get him up

·       They call for Raymond and they all go to the bus to the beach

·       On the way to the bus stop, they see Raymond’s mistress’s brother

o  “Raymond told me that the second one from the left was his man, and he seemed worried. But, he added, it was all settled now. Marie didn't really understand and asked us what was wrong. I told her that they were Arabs who had it in for Raymond.”

·       They justkeep going and head to the beach house

·       M meets Masson’s wife and it makes him think about marriage—specifically with Marie

·       They go swimming until lunch

o  “we swam a few strokes and she reached out and held on to me. I felt her legs wrapped around mine and I wanted her.”

·       The men go for a walk

·       While on the walk, they see “the Arabs” and get into a fight

o  “The distance between us was getting shorter and shorter. When we were just a few steps away from each other, the Arabs stopped. Masson and I slowed down. Raymond went right up to his man. I couldn't hear what he said to him, but the other guy made a move as though he were going to butt him. Then Raymond struck the first blow and called Masson right away”

·       The Arab stabs Raymond and then leave

·       Masson takes Raymond to the doctor and M goes to smoke

o  “Masson immediately said there was a doctor who spent his Sundays up on the plateau. Raymond wanted to go see him right away. But every time he tried to talk the blood bubbled in his mouth. We steadied him and made our way back to the bungalow as quickly as we could.”

o  “I didn't like having to explain to them, so I just shut up, smoked a cigarette, and looked at the sea.”

·       Raymond goes to the beach later and M follows him

·       Raymond is holding a gun but M tries to talk him out of it (and does)

·       Raymond goes back to the house and M goes to the spring

o  “It occurred to me that all I had to do was turnaround and that would be the end of it. But the whole beach, throbbing in the sun, was pressing on my back. I took a few steps toward the spring.”

·       The Arab finds him and has a knife so M shoots (with the gun he took from Raymond)

o  “The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes. That's when everything began to reel. The sea carried up a thick, fiery breath. It seemed to me as if the sky split open from one end to the other to rain down fire. My whole being tensed and I squeezed my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave; I felt the smooth underside of the butt; and there, in that noise, sharp and deafening at the same time, is where it all started.”


o  “Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness.”


Part 2: Chapter 1 of The Stranger

·       M got sent to jail for murder

·       His lawyer tells him that they know he was insensitive at his mom’s funeral and that is suspicious. To this, M says he wasn’t being introspective and then said: “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.”

o  I explained to him, however, that my nature was such that my physical needs often got in the way of my feelings. The day Iburied Maman, I was very tired and sleepy, so much so that I wasn't really aware of what was going on. What I can say for certain is that I would rather Maman hadn't died. But my lawyer didn't seem satisfied. He said, "That's not enough."

·       The lawyer got mad and left

·       The magistrate (judge?) has a meeting with him

o  “He had me sit down and very politely informed me that, "due to unforeseen circumstances," my lawyer had been unable to come. But I had the right to remain silent and to wait for my lawyer's counsel. I said that I could answer for myself.”

·       M is asked why he shot 5 times and why he paused after the first one. M doesn’t answer.

·       The magistrate demands to know if M believes in God, which he does not. The magistrate then concludes that M is a stone cold jerk and refers to him as “Monsieur Antichrist”


Part 2: Chapter 2  of The Stranger

·      M relives his first few days in jail

o  There are lots of Arabs there

o  When asked why he was put in there, he just said he killed an Arab

o  Marie came to visit and told him he needed to have hope. She assures him they will get married but M is not even paying attention.

o  Marie can’t visit more because they aren’t married.

·      M desperately wants to smoke, swim, and have sex so he starts going crazy and sleeping to pass time.


Part 2: Chapter 3  of The Stranger

·      It’s a year later and M is in trial but M is not nervous

o  “My examination began right away. The presiding judge questioned me calmly and even, it seemed to me, with a hint of cordiality.”

·      There are lots of news people there covering his case

·      The trial starts and M is questioned about his choices about hismom

·      M tells the judge that he killed the Arab because “it just happened that way”

·      People from the funeral home say that M was oddly calm at his mother’s funeral and this seems to make M happy.

o  “such glee and with such a triumphant look in my direction that for the first time in years I had this stupid urge to cry, because I could feel how much all these people hated me.”

·      M’s lawyer says that the caretaker smoked with M and that this has nothing to do with it

·      M’s lawyer calls a bunch of M’s friends who say he’s good but are mostly ignored

o  Marie told them about the beach—he went to the beach after his mom died

o  Raymon is a pimp and calls him a pal

·      M’s lawyer demands to know why people are focusing on his momand not the case

·      “I accuse this man of burying his mother with crime in hisheart.” – the prosecuting attorney

·      M realizes things are not going well for him at this point

·      On the way back to prison, he is very observant

o  “Yes, it was the hour when, a long time ago, I was perfectly content. What awaited me back then was always a night of easy, dreamless sleep”


Part 2: Chapter 4 of The Stranger

·      The prosecuting attorney says that M doesn’t seem to feel badly, doesn’t have a heart, and calls for the death penalty

o  The attorney also accuses him of another man’s crime (parricide)

·      M says he didn’t go to kill the Arab, that he did it because ofthe sun

·      The defense attorney says that M sending his mom to a funeral home was a good choice financially and emotionally and then recounts the murder in 1st person

·      M starts daydreaming

·      M is found guilty and sentenced to death


Part 2: Chapter 5 of The Stranger

·      The news paints it as M paying his debt to society but M is focused on freedom

·      M wishes he was just watching the execution, not being executed

·      He wishes they use chemicals that don’t actually kill him instead of the guillotine

o  Since it would hurt horribly if it didn’t work, the prisoner ends up hoping it does

·      M is happy when he wakes up and doesn’t hear people coming to take him from his cell

·      He thinks about potentially being pardoned

·      M didn’t want to meet with the chaplain but the chaplain comes anyway to ask why. M explains his disbelief in God and the chaplain says that’s wrong.

·      M gets angry, yelling that it’s a waste of time and nothing matters

o  “something inside me snapped. I started yelling at the top of my lungs, and I insulted him and told him not to waste his prayers on me.”

·      The guards have to pry M off the chaplain

·      M gives up and hopes people are at his execution yelling with hatred (?)

o  “For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.”

Other notes

·       M lives very much in the moment

·       M is very observant of his physical surroundings

·      He says, while in jail, that if you’ve truly lived one day, you could survive in jail just based off his memories