The ending of chapter one of The Stranger is absurd and ironic. Really, it makes me laugh. The flood of sensory imagery used by Camus at the end suggests a kind of stream-of-consciousness montage that Meursault wants to forget. Comically, it ends with him asleep (after also sleeping through the vigil).
By the way, Merusault (Camus) also describes the events leading up to the Arab's death on the beach and his own death by guillotine using a similar flood of imagery and long, extended sentences.
Maman's death is a blur to Meursault: he can't wait to get the funeral over with and get home. And I don't blame him. The entire process is ridiculous, if you think about it. Meursault has to wear black, sit up all night watching over a dead body. Then, in the heat of sub-Saharan Africa, he's supposed to walk behind a casket for a country mile, escorting a bunch of old people, only to put the body in a casket and cover it with dirt and flowers. Certainly, it's a sadistic ritual, and Meursault hates the whole grieving process.
Notice the mention of Perez. It's ironic to note that it sounds like, from his description of the funeral, that Meursault is the one who fainted, but instead of heat exhaustion, Meursault suffers from death exhaustion. Meursault and Perez are foils. Whereas Meursault sleeps during the vigil and can't wait for the funeral to be over, Perez stays awake all night and faints during the procession. Meursault is an anti-mourner, while Perez is a professional one. What's worse? Camus would say the latter.
Meursault hates the culture of death because it does not affirm life. Why should he mourn someone who died of old age and natural causes? Who was among friends? Who did not suffer? Must we push ourselves to the brink of death also for the sake of a dead body? What are we trying to prove with the guilt and denial? After all, Perez nearly joins her.
Some have said that Meursault suffers from an Oedipus Complex, that he in fact loves his mother too much so as not to even look at her dead body in the casket, that Meursault sublimates his hurt and anger into apathy so as to dispel the entire episode from his memory out of Oedipal guilt. I like the theory, but I'm not sure I buy it completely.
Meursault, at the end of chapter 1 and at the end of the book, is the same: he does not follow cultural conventions. Like Bartleby the Scrivener ("I prefer not to"), Holden Caufield ("sleep tight ya morons!"), Melville ("No in thunder"), and Hester Prynne (wearing the scarlet letter silently on the gallows), Meursault is descended form a long line of literary heroes who willfully detest an illegitimate society that, ironically, detests them.
The end of this chapter is a parody of the funeral, a mockery of the grieving process, a satire of the culture of death, a ridicule against guilt.