Inevitable Death and Indifferent Life In Albert Camus’s novel, The Stranger, the character Meursault is indifferent to all emotions and relationships in life. He is even indi fferent in his relationship with his mother, Maman, showing no emotion at the news of her death and at her funeral. Even though Meursault does not have emotional connections with Maman, he remembers her after he had been sentenced to death for murder. Reflecting on Maman’s past sayings and actions, Meursault leams from her that death is inevitable and with that he can rebel against societal rules and live life his OWn way.
Meursault learns from his mother that death is inevitable. Initially, after he was sentenced to death, Meursault grasps onto the “possibility of escape, a leap to freedom” (109), and the possibility of getting out of the prison and the execution alive. He was unwilling to accept his inevitable death and held onto the hope of every small and unlikely chance of surviving. Then he recalls a story that Maman used to tell him about his father going to “watch a murderer be executed land] just the thought of joining had made him sick to the stomach” (110). In response to his father’s reaction of vomiting, Meursault says, “I remember feeling a little disgusted by him at the time. But now I understood, it was perfectly normal. How had I not seen that there was nothing more important than an execution, and that when you come right down to it, it was the only thing a man could truly be interested in?” (110).
Meursault says that there is “nothing more important than an execution” because he realizes that death is inevitable. With the acceptance of the inevitability of death, Meursault also leams from Maman to reject societal rules and live life his own way with indifference. Meursault says, “I felt as if I understood why at the end of her life she had taken a “fiance”, why she had taken a beginning again” (122). He says that since she was so close to the end of her life, she “must have felt free” (122). At the end of her life, Maman had felt free to rebel against societal rules knowing that death was inevitable and took Perez as a “ftiance” with indifference to society because it made her happy at the moment and she knew that it will not matter after her death and the indifferent world will not care even if she stray from a societal norm.
Meursault realizes this and “opened [himself] to the gentle indifference of the word” (123). He realizes that the world is indifferent, Tike him, and the things he do will not matter. He reflects that he “had been happy” (123) with the way he lived his life with indifference and that he “was happy again” (123) because he at the moment is still living the way he wants to, with indifference to society. In Albert Camus’s novel, The Stranger, Meursault learns from his mother even though he is emotionally indifferent to her. Meursault learns from her death is inevitable and with that he can rebel against societal rules and live life his own way.
After his sentencing, Meursault still grasped onto the hope that he would make it get of the prison and the execution alive. It was only until he thought of his mother and the story that she told him about his father that he finally accepts the inevitability of death. From Maman’s relationship with Perez, Meursault also learns the happiness of living indifferently, freely according to his own will, and without adhering to rules of society.