In The Stranger, how does a specific death scene helps to illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Stranger begins with the death of Mersault's mother. We learn little of who the mother was as a person, but the immediate sense we get is that Mersault doesn't feel much, if anything at all, about his mother's passing. We would expect someone to grieve or at least feel upset by their mother dying, but Mersault subverts our expectation. His lack of feeling in her passing causes others to view him as cold, even monstrous or cruel.

However, Mersault is presented as someone who refuses to play the game of social interactions. He is totally honest about his lack of feeling. He never pretends, like "normal" people do. We see this in later scenes, beyond just his mother's death. For example, he treats his girlfriend, Marie, the same way. He does not delude himself into believing he is in love with her. He is only interested in her as a sexual outlet. When she asks about...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 492 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team