The book begins with news of the death of Maman’s death. Meursault reacts in an insensitive way to the report. A little later we see him refusing to see his mother’s body and even smoking in the room while sitting on the coffin: This portrays him as an emotionless man to even the most sensitive and personal matters. He uses an emotionless voice when he narrates about the telegram he had received. He doesn’t care whether his mother had died that day or the previous one. About his interests, it’s quite clear that he is not interested in opportunities that can bring growth. He is more interested in knowing things that happen in ‘other’ peoples’ lives but cannot summon the strength to react to them. A good example is when he encounters Salamano abusing his old dog but does nothing about the behavior.
Colonialism is a major theme in ‘The Stranger.’ Aspects that show colonialism in Algeria is that only the French-Algerians in Meursaults narrative are named while the Arabs are not, abuse of Raymond’s Arab mistress and the senseless murder of an Arab by a French-Algerian. This shape Meursault’s life as he is always befriending these people. When the magistrate waves a crucifix at Meursault during questioning, Meursault still doesn’t accept the allegations. The topic of repentance is meaningless to him because he doesn’t believe in God.
Meursault remembers Maman’s story about his father witnessing an execution, that latter made him violently sick: This is when he is in prison, experiencing the same feeling like his father and is desperate for hope. This marks Meursault beginning of change. When Meursault says that he had opened himself to “the gentle indifference of the world,” it means that he had finally accepted he was part of humanity and had no accepted his position in society. He opens himself to the reality of human existence, and this makes him happy.
A writer is not a service “of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it.” Camus meant that the works of writers are expected to help people solve the crisis. A writer thus has to be truthful.