Though his appearance in The Stranger is confined to just two chapters, the timing of the appearances of Thomas Pérez are vital to understanding how the society that judges Meursault perceives him.
Thomas Pérez had been "inseparable" with Madame Meursault and he takes her death "very hard." In fact, the doctor refuses to allow him to attend the vigil, presumably because he is overwrought. Pérez's emotional attachment to Madame Meursault stands in stark contrast to the indifference and even annoyance of Meursault at the death of his mother and the cultural and societal expectations that he attend her vigil and funeral and demonstrate his grief for those in attendance. His inability to produce those emotions attracts attention in a way that will come back to haunt him when he is on trial for the murder of the Arab.
Pérez is limping and unwell, yet he insists on following the funeral procession in the extreme heat because of his devotion to Madame Meursault.
Later, at Meursault's trial,...
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