L’Etranger; the stranger, the outsider. Through the story, Meursault seems to have no emotion or response to experiences and people. For this, he is seen as strange and an outsider. Meursault does not explain or focus on his emotion or relationship with people; he shows it through his aesthetic view of nature. Meursault explains all of the nature he comes across, but provides very little detail is regarding the people around him. This is done throughout the entire story and adds to the formation of Meursault’s character.
Meursault draws attention to nature initially during his mother’s funeral. When first arriving at the home, Meursault mentions the “beautiful late afternoon sunset”. One would believe that in mourning the sunset would not be an initial thought, but rather the emotions of loss and thoughts of the relationship with that individual. Not once during funeral chapter does Meursault mention anything to how he feels about his mother or about the relationship they had. Also during his mother’s funeral, Meursault spends a lot of the time with thoughts regarding the sun and heat. “The sun was beginning to bear down on the earth…”, “… the sun bearing down making the whole landscape shimmer with heat”, “… how fast the sun was climbing in the sky”. During the funeral these thoughts took all of Meursault’s attention away from the funeral itself. Meursault is so focused on his surroundings that the readers learn very little about the funeral
itself. Because of this, I believe the sun and heat is a distraction for Meursault and does not allow him to omnisciently share his emotions with the reader.
At first read Meursault’s disconnect with his emotions and personal relationships create a difficulty in understanding him for the reader. The holding in of his emotions and thoughts of people and situations also cause him to seem very guilty during the trial. They affect the trial so much that the judge accuses Meursault of being the root of all evil, that he is the cause for even other murders that have occurred.
The lack of emotion towards people Meursault has makes him seem callous and disrespectful to the reader. At his mother’s funeral Meursault showed no emotion because he was focused on the heat. At his mother’s vigil he thinks “It was pleasant; the coffee had warmed me up, and the smell of flowers on the night air was coming through the open door.” he finds it pleasurable to the point that he is able to fall asleep.