The Stranger Part 1, Chapter 5: Summary and Analysis

Albert Camus

Part 1, Chapter 5: Summary and Analysis

Part I, Chapter 5 Summary

Raymond calls Meursault at work to invite him to a friend's beach house that Sunday. Marie can come, too. Raymond also says that he's being followed by a group of Arabs. He wants Meursault to keep his eyes open for them. Meursault agrees.

A little later, Meursault's boss says that he's thinking of opening an office in Paris and would like Meursault to run it. This would mean a promotion and a chance to leave Algiers and go to Paris; but Meursault doesn't really want to go. His boss takes issue with his response, but Meursault has let go of his ambitions and isn't that interested in the job.

Marie comes over that night and asks Meursault if he would marry her. He says if that's what she wants, then yes, but it doesn't matter to him either way. If he happened to love another woman as much as Marie, he would say the same thing to her. It makes no difference. For some reason, this satisfies Marie, and they go for a walk around town before she has to leave.

Meursault has dinner at Céleste's, where a woman sits at his table, but doesn't speak to him. After dinner, he follows her for a while out of vague curiosity and boredom. Later, Salamano comes to visit, and Meursault offers his condolences about the dog, which may well have gotten run over. Maman liked the dog, Salamano says. He thinks it was right of Meursault to put her in the home. There, she could make friends.

Part I, Chapter 5 Analysis

Similes

Meursault describes the woman who sits at his table as having "robotlike" movements.

Themes

Friendship. In spite of his apparent apathy, Meursault has developed a number of friendships throughout this novel: with Emmanuel, Raymond, Salamano, and even the caretaker from his mother's home. He expresses no real affection for these friends, however. Camus further emphasizes the emotionless nature of these friendships by introducing his mother's grieving friends and Salamano's poor dog, whom he desperately misses, in spite of his previous behavior.

Marriage. Camus discusses two marriages in this chapter: Meursault and Marie's proposed marriage (which will never take place) and Salamano's marriage to his late wife. Like Meursault, Salamano wasn't terribly enthusiastic about his marriage. He was merely "used to" his wife, which is more or less how Meursault feels about Marie. The reader can safely assume, however, that, unlike Salamano, Meursault wouldn't feel particularly lonely if Marie were to leave him or to die. We will see how their separation affects him in Part II of the novel.