Part 1, Chapter 3: Summary and Analysis
Part I, Chapter 3 Summary
Meursault returns to work on Monday. There's a stack of invoices on his desk, and he works hard to get through them. He and his coworker Emmanuel run to catch the streetcar to Céleste's. After lunch, Meursault heads home to nap, then returns to work. When he comes home later that night, he runs into Salamano, his neighbor. Salamano's dog, a spaniel, has a skin disease, and Salamano frequently berates the dog, calling him names. Nevertheless, the two are inseparable.
Meursault's other neighbor Raymond invites him over for dinner. Raymond "lives off women," a polite way of saying that he's a pimp. He has a short fuse, too, and has recently gotten into a fight with the brother of his mistress. Her Highness, as Raymond calls her, lived off the money that he gave her. He paid for rent and food and even gave her spending money, but she kept insisting that it wasn't enough. He began to suspect that she was cheating on him, so he beat her.
Even though Raymond and his mistress have broken up, he still has sexual feelings for her. Ever since the fight, he has been obsessed with the idea of punishing her. He finally asks Meursault to write her a nasty letter on his behalf. Meursault agrees. Raymond really appreciates it.
Part I, Chapter 3 Analysis
When Meursault feels the blood pounding his ears at the end of the chapter, it foreshadows what will be his eventual downfall: that letter and his friendship with Raymond. Though he never says so, his physical response to this scene with the letter indicates that he knows it was a bad idea.
Camus draws a parallel between Raymond and Meursault: though temperamentally the two men could not be more different, they were both nevertheless financially responsible for another—in Meursault's case, his mother, and in Raymond's case, his girlfriend. Both women were incapable of supporting themselves, though for different reasons. The parallel characterizes...
(The entire section is 504 words.)