Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
*Algiers. Coastal capital of Algeria, a country in North Africa. Although not specifically described, Algiers serves as a general backdrop not only to the main action but above all to Meursault’s struggle with the collective forces of nature arrayed against him.
Beach. Outside Algiers, where Raymond, Meursault’s friend, has a bungalow. When the sun beats down on Meursault, the reflecting light gouges into his eyes, the lazy sea waves turn him lethargic, the fiery beach presses him forward, and the cloudless sky pours a sheet of flame on him. Under this onslaught, he has no other choice but to react in self-defense, first, by erasing the source of the attack (the Arab and his shining knife) and then by firing four additional shots for the four elements of nature.
Prison. Tiny cell in which Meursault awaits his execution. Only a confined space can allow him to concentrate on the essential and to think philosophical thoughts, unmolested by outside distractions and pointless discussions. After his final metaphysical revolt he is ultimately at peace, as evidenced by the stars shining on his face like a celestial projector, instead of the relentless and punishing sun, and by the heat now being replaced by the refreshingly cool night breeze on his cheeks. This Meursault calls “the benign indifference of the universe.”
(The entire section is 511 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Part 1, Chapter 1: Questions and Answers
1. Where does Meursault live?
2. How does Meursault react when he learns of his mother’s death?
3. What happens when Meursault asks his employer for time off to attend his mother’s funeral?
4. Who is Celeste?
5. What happens to Meursault on the bus to the nursing home?
6. How does Meursault feel when he talks to the warden?
7. What do Meursault and the doorkeeper do during the all-night vigil?
8. Who is Thomas Perez?
9. Does Meursault cry at his mother’s funeral?
10. What does Meursault react to during the funeral?
1. Meursault, the narrator of the story,...
(The entire section is 302 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 2: Questions and Answers
1. Why does Meursault worry about his employer when he wakes up on Saturday morning?
2. Who is Marie Cardona?
3. What kind of movie does Marie want to see?
4. How does Marie react when Meursault tells her about his mother?
5. Why does Meursault decide not to eat at Celeste’s on Sunday?
6. What does Meursault do when he’s alone in his apartment?
7. Who does Meursault see from his bedroom window?
8. How does the tobacconist sit on his chair?
9. What does the football fan say to Meursault?
10. How does Meursault feel about Sundays?
1. Meursault worries that his...
(The entire section is 321 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 3: Questions and Answers
1. How does Meursault’s employer treat him when he returns to work on Monday?
2. Who is Emmanuel?
3. How does Celeste react when he sees Meursault?
4. How long has old Salamano had his dog and why does he abuse him?
5. Who is Raymond Sintes?
6. Why does Raymond want to get revenge on his girlfriend?
7. What does Raymond ask Meursault to do for him?
8. Does Meursault want to be Raymond’s friend?
9. What does Raymond say about Meursault’s mother?
10. What does Meursault do after he leaves Raymond’s room?
1. Meursault’s employer is in a good mood on Monday...
(The entire section is 334 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 4: Questions and Answers
1. Where do Meursault and Marie go on Saturday?
2. What does Marie do when Meursault tells her about old Salamano and his dog?
3. How does Meursault feel about policemen?
4. How does Raymond greet the policeman who comes to his door?
5. Why is Raymond shaking when he talks to the policeman?
6. How does Meursault feel about being Raymond’s witness?
7. Why is old Salamano so upset?
8. How does Raymond treat Salamano?
9. When Salamano visits Meursault, what does Meursault tell him?
10. Why does Meursault think about his mother?
1. Meursault and Marie go to the...
(The entire section is 231 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Questions and Answers
1. Where does Raymond want to go on Sunday with Meursault and Marie?
2. What does Meursault’s employer suggest during their ¬meeting?
3. How does Meursault feel about Paris?
4. What does Marie ask Meursault?
5. Does Meursault want to marry Marie?
6. With whom does Meursault eat at Celeste’s?
7. What does Meursault notice about the “robot” woman?
8. What was Salamano’s occupation?
9. According to Salamano, what do Meursault’s neighbors say about him?
10. Why did Meursault put his mother in the nursing home?
1. He wants to go to a friend’s seaside...
(The entire section is 255 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 6: Questions and Answers
1. How does Meursault feel when he wakes up on Sunday morning¬?
2. Where does Meursault first see the Arabs?
3. What does Meursault think about Raymond’s outfit?
4. Who is Masson?
5. How does Meursault feel after he eats lunch?
6. Where do Meursault, Raymond, and Masson go after lunch?
7. What happens when Raymond fights with the Arab?
8. What does Raymond do when he meets the Arab again?
9. How does the sun affect Meursault when he’s walking alone on the beach?
10. What happens when Meursault confronts the Arab?
1. Meursault wakes up with a headache, feeling...
(The entire section is 209 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 1: Questions and Answers
1. What does Meursault think about the magistrate when he first meets him?
2. What does Meursault’s lawyer look like?
3. What charge against Meursault, besides murder, is the lawyer concerned about?
4. Is the lawyer optimistic about Meursault’s case?
5. How did Meursault feel about his mother?
6. How does the lawyer react to Meursault during their first meeting?
7. What does the typist do during Meursault’s meeting with the magistrate?
8. How does Meursault react to the magistrate when the magistrate starts talking about God?
9. How does Meursault feel sitting in the magistrate’s office?
(The entire section is 246 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 2: Questions and Answers
1. What does Meursault hope for when he’s first put in prison?
2. How does the Arab prisoner help out Meursault?
3. What does Meursault feel the first night he spends in jail?
4. How far apart are the prisoners kept from their visitors?
5. What does Meursault long for when he sees Marie?
6. What does Marie do when Meursault is led back out of the Visitors’ Room?
7. Why does the jailer think Meursault is different?
8. Besides women, what else are the prisoners deprived of?
9. As Meursault loses track of time, what are the two words that still have meaning for him?
10. What does Meursault use...
(The entire section is 200 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 3: Questions and Answers
1. During what month does Meursault’s trial begin?
2. What does the special news correspondent from Paris look like?
3. How many judges preside over Meursault’s trial?
4. What is the first thing the judge questions Meursault about?
5. What does the judge ask Meursault about his mother?
6. Following Meursault, who is the first witness called?
7. What does the doorkeeper say about Meursault?
8. Who does the defense call as its first witness?
9. What does Marie do at the conclusion of her testimony?
10. Who is the last witness?
1. The trial begins in June.
(The entire section is 182 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 4: Questions and Answers
1. According to Meursault, what did the prosecutor “aim at” during his closing argument?
2. How does Meursault want to explain his lack of regret to the prosecutor?
3. What does the prosecutor call “the most odious of crimes?”
4. How does the prosecutor compare Meursault’s crime to the parricide case?
5. Since Meursault has already admitted killing the Arab, what verdict does the prosecutor ask for?
6. How do some of the spectators in the courtroom react when Meursault tries to explain his reaction to the sun?
7. What word does Meursault’s lawyer use when referring to Meursault during his speech?
8. What is...
(The entire section is 216 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 5: Questions and Answers
1. How many times has Meursault refused to see the chaplain?
2. The guillotine reminds Meursault of what other type of device?
3. How does Meursault spend his nights in his cell?
4. What subject does Meursault wish he had read more about?
5. What does Meursault do after he refuses to see the chaplain?
6. Instead of a “divine face,” what image does Meursault try to see on the wall of his prison cell?
7. Does Meursault allow the chaplain to kiss him?
8. What happens when the chaplain touches Meursault’s shoulder?
9. When the jailers rush into Meursault’s cell, what do they do to him?
(The entire section is 208 words.)
Compare and Contrast
Topics for Further Study
What Do I Read Next?
Bibliography and Further Reading
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Bree, Germaine, ed. Camus: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962. An early collection of essays by outstanding critics. Includes a translation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s influential “Explication of The Stranger.”
Ellison, David R. Understanding Albert Camus. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1990. An overview of the development of Camus’ themes and writing style. Focuses on Camus as a literary man whose works embody a consistent philosophical outlook. Especially useful for first-time readers of Camus.
King, Adele, ed. L’Étranger: Fifty...
(The entire section is 197 words.)