To provide the details of the confrontation on the beach in Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger, one should return to the part of the story where Raymond, Meursault, and Masson get into a fight with the two Arab men and, soon after, Meursault shoots one of the Arab men with a revolver. These scenes take place in chapter 6, the final chapter of part 1.
One should probably provide some background details as to why the Arab men are following Raymond. Remember, Raymond has a violent fight with a girl. His abuse brings the police to his door and attracts the attention of the Arab men. One of the Arab men who is tailing Raymond is the brother of the girl that he beat up. The Arab men follow Raymond, Meursault, and Marie to the beach, where they meet up with Raymond’s friend Masson.
On the beach, a fight ensues. Raymond is stabbed with a knife. The wounds are not deep. Raymond requires some bandages but is, basically, fine. Following the stabbing, Raymond and Meursault stroll on the beach some more. They see the Arab men again. Raymond considers shooting one of them, but they disappear before he has time to provoke them.
Raymond and Meursault return to the bungalow, but, for some reason, Meursault can’t bring himself to go inside. Returning to the beach, Meursault spots the Arab man who stabbed Raymond.
The sight of the man makes Meursault think about the incident again. He realizes that he has the chance to walk away, yet it’s as if something outside of himself compels him to stick around. Think about how Meursault emphasizes the light, the heat, and the wind from the sea. It’s like these elements force Meursault to shoot the Arab man. He didn’t pull the trigger so much as the trigger “gave.” The way in which the revolver goes off is a key detail. It suggests that, even though Meursault fires multiple shots, he is, somehow, a passive participant in the murder.