Discuss Meursault's emotional indifference to the death and funeral of his mother in The Stranger. In what ways is he a "stranger?"

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Camus's The Stranger, the protagonist Meursault is relatively unmoved by the death of his mother.  He is concerned that his mother has died, and he travels back to her home and attends the ceremony and vigil.  Others around him are clearly distraught; however, Meursault has not been close to his mother and feels that he grieves accordingly.  After the funeral, Meursault realizes that the death of his mother has not had a large impact on his life, so he is ready to move on with things.  When later his is tried for murdering someone, the community is more disturbed to find out that he knows little of his mother's life and that he is not upset by her death.  In this way, Meursault is a "stranger" to the conventions of society--he does not fit into the model of behavior that society has created for its members and more importantly, Meursault does not see the need to fit in.  (British publishers of the novel translate the title as The Outsider which speaks more strongly to Meursault's "otherness" in this situation.)