Chapter 5 of The Stranger by Albert Camus

Spoilers are presumably abundant below. 

I haven’t been keeping up with doing these blogs posts about my summer reading book (because it does help me go over the chapter, and I’ll have them to refer back to later), and because Chapter 6 is such a massive, important chapter I’ve decided to do that one on its own and do chapter 5 in a separate post.

Meursault, Meursault, Meursault, what am I to do with you? His passivity kills me sometimes. His conversation with his boss, after his boss conveys he believes life in Paris would allure Meursault, is worth re-writing.

“I said yes but that really it was all the same to me. Then he asked me if I wasn’t interested in a change of life. I said that people never change their lives, that in any case one life was as good as another and that I wasn’t dissatisfied with mine here at all” (Camus 41).

I disagree that people never change their lives; however, it demonstrates existentialism, that people do not really control their lives. As far as one life being as good as another, that is very debatable, and I’m not quite sure what to think of that statement yet.

“…I couldn’t see any reason to change my life. Looking back on it, I wasn’t unhappy. When I was a student, I had lots of ambitions like that. But when I had to give up my studies I learned very quickly that none of it really mattered” (Camus 41).

I believe the key phrase here is when he says “I wasn’t unhappy”, not “I was happy”. Similar to his passive nature, Meursault displays a contentment and “okay” attitude toward life. It might not be great or even good, but it’s not bad. The scary thing is that this sounds exactly like my one friend, and this type of attitude makes me sad.

He and Meursault are quite alike. He is very non-feeling about a lot of things. I hold happiness in the highest esteem, greater than achieving any goals of greatness, and I’m always afraid he’ll never be truly happy. I know most people aren’t truly happy, but they at least have something that makes them joyful on a regular basis-family parties, friends, hobbies, vacations, etc-and he doesn’t seem to have a lot of those. Well, that might be a lie, he does thoroughly enjoy quite a few activities. It’s just that he’s so I-don’t-care-about-myself and I-don’t-want-to-be-a-burden that I feel he’ll never pursue what he loves, which is what I think life is all about.

I’ve found lots of people have lost ambitions and dreams from their youth, and though this also makes me quite depressed, I understand it’s a part of life. Notwithstanding this, many individuals attempt to strive for the best in what they have, and my friend and Meursault are also alike in the way that they do not endeavor in this way.

Marie makes me laugh. But now I’m wondering if I’m like her in a way…

AH scary thought. No I don’t think I’d marry someone who flat out said he probably doesn’t love me. I don’t mind passivity, because I can deal with it and want to be there for my friend, but in matters of the heart, passivity is a no-no. And I don’t think my friend is like that.

Oh yes, so marriage isn’t a very big deal apparently. Didn’t these two just start hanging out?

And uh, what’s with the little old lady and Meursault following her? Stalker much? Just like, you seem someone peculiar, and your first thought is to follow them around for a bit?

More of Salamano and his sad dog story. I was squeaking throughout Meursaults life story.

Another thing that makes me sad is when people marry people and then realize they don’t really love them and end up not happy. I want so desperately to avoid this. As they say in Rent, “I’d be happy to die for a taste of what Angel had-someone to live for, unafraid to say I love you” (Larson). Yanno, hopefully death can be avoided, but I really don’t want to end up in one of those marriages.

I really wonder if Meursault truly feels guilt for having to put Maman in a home. I mean, like he states, it’s the reasonable and proper thing to do, and I completely understand that. But to me it sounds like a situation similar to having to put your dog down-you know it’s what you have to do, but you really don’t want to do it and feel sad about it. I mean, considering his personality, I doubt he does, but I like to ponder.

And now, to end the chapter with one of the saddest quotes ever,

“He [Salamano] gave a little smile, and before he left he said, ‘I hope the dogs don’t bark tonight. I always think it’s mine'” (Camus 46).

Insert doggy sadness here. Any thoughts about the book or any of the quotes or whatever is always welcomed.

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