Free Study Guide: The Stranger by Albert Camus - Free BookNotes|
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THE STRANGER: FREE PLOT NOTES / SYNOPSIS
Mersault argues that his motherís death has no bearing on the murder charges leveled against him. The lawyer responds that the opposition is certain to use the information against Mersault. The head of the Home for the Aged and some of the staff will probably be called as witnesses to testify about Mersaultís attitude and behavior towards his mother and her funeral. The lawyer encourages Mersault to say that he always worked to control his emotions about his mother. Mersault, of course, is unwilling to say such a thing, for he states that he does not lie. When the lawyer finally takes his leave, Mersault feels that he should have been more amiable and tried to convince the lawyer that he was an ordinary person. Of course, everyone who comes into contact with Mersault knows that he is not ordinary. Even Marie has said that she probably fell in love with him because he was odd.
The following afternoon Mersault is taken in for questioning without his lawyer. The Magistrate tells him that he can reserve his answers until his lawyer is present, but Mersault opts to answer for himself. He makes no attempt to negate the Magistrateís charge that he is a "taciturn and self-centered person." The Magistrate cannot believe that Mersault is so naïve and answers his questions with such honesty and bluntness.
The magistrate asks Mersault to again explain the events surrounding the murder. Although he is annoyed that he is being asked to repeat the story again and again, Mersault tells everything that happened on the beach that day. When the magistrate questions him as to why he fired five consecutive shots at the Arab, Mersault corrects him by saying that there was a pause after the first shot. The Magistrate insists on an answer as to why he fired four more shots at the prostrate body, but Mersault says nothing. Holding out a silver crucifix, the Magistrate asks Mersault whether he believes in God. Mersault does not answer him, but talks about other things. The Magistrate asks his question again
When Mersault indicates that he does not believe in God, the Magistrate is shocked. He then tells Mersault that all criminals weep on seeing the crucifix; however, Mersault refuses to accept himself as criminal, even thought the magistrate considers him to the coldest criminal he has ever seen.
There are so many additional questioning sessions involving the lawyer,
the Magistrate, and Mersault during the next eleven months that Mersault
begins to think of the group as a family. There are even moments when
he finds himself enjoying the proceedings. He especially likes it when
the Magistrate calls him "Mr. Antichrist."
This chapter focuses on Mersaultís feelings and his reactions towards the situation and the happenings around him. In the beginning, he is totally disinterested in the proceedings and pays more attention to the physical environment than to his interrogation by the Magistrate. It is hard for Mersault to accept that he is in custody, for he does not think of himself as a criminal. In fact, it takes him awhile to realize that he has really killed a man.
Mersaultís strangeness is clearly developed in the chapter. He never seems
to realize the seriousness of the charges against him and is not worried
about his case. He refuses to hire his own lawyer, but accepts the court
appointed one. When his lawyer questions him about his mother, Mersault
does not try to pretend he loved her. Although he says he was fond of
her, he admits he felt no grief over her death, explaining that he expected
her to die since she was aged. When the Magistrate calls Mersault taciturn
and self-centered, he does not disagree and seems unaffected by the criticism.
When the Magistrate questions him, Mersault makes no attempt to explain
why he fired four shots into the dead body of the Arab. He also refuses
to tell the Magistrate that he believes in God. Additionally, he shows
no emotion when the Magistrate shows him a crucifix. It is no wonder that
the Magistrate is shocked at Mersaultís honesty and bluntness. He has
never seen a criminal quite like Mersault and judges him to be void of
religion, emotions, and morals; he even calls him the "antichrist."
It is amazing that Mersault, a creative young man, has so little emotion
about anything, even about the fact that he has killed a man and is charged
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. 09 May 2017