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Free Study Guide-The Stranger by Albert Camus-Free Online Chapter Summary
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PART I

Chapter 6

Notes

The trip to the beach spells disaster from the very beginning. Before Raymond, Mersault, and Marie ever board the bus, they spy a group of Arabs that includes the angry brother of Raymondís old girlfriend. Raymond reveals that he is scared about the situation, for he constantly looks behind him on the bus to see if the Arabs are following. When they arrive at the beach, the Arabs are no where to be seen; therefore, Raymond, Mersault, and Marie stroll to the beach bungalow of Raymondís friend. When they arrive, Raymond introduces Mersault and Marie to Masson and his wife. Masson immediately likes Mersault for his frankness and simple nature.

Mersault and Marie go for a swim, which they both enjoy; the water seems to wash away Mersaultís pains and bad mood from earlier in the day. He looks around him and appreciates the natural beauty of the ocean and the beach. He also reveals that he has a great concern for his own well being. He is always aware of his physical discomforts and reacts to them. When he grows tired, he naps on the beach. He is also bothered by the heat and tries to escape it. It is a reminder of the fact that the heat on the day of his motherís funeral also greatly affected Mersault and did not allow him to concentrate on the loss of his mother.

When Masson, Raymond, and Mersault go for a walk on the beach after lunch, they encounter two Arabs. When they are provoked, Masson and Raymond begin to beat the Arabs; in his typical, non-committal way, Mersault stands to the side and watches. He, therefore, notices that one of the Arabs has a knife. He tries to warn Raymond about it, but it is too late; the Arab slashes Raymondís arms and mouth. The injuries are serious enough that Masson takes his friend to the doctor.


When Raymond returns in bandages from the doctor, he immediately wants to go out on the beach. Mersault knows that he is going in search of the Arabs and follows him. When Raymond spies the Arabs, he asks Mersault if he should shoot the brother of the girlfriend. Mersault strongly advises him to shoot only if he is provoked. Afraid that he will be unable to control himself, Raymond hands his gun to Mersault for safekeeping. The action will result in the total complication of Mersaultís life.

Later in the afternoon, Mersault feels stressed by the womenís concern and goes out to the beach by himself, still carrying the gun. He notices that he is bothered by the blinding light and heat of the sun. As a result, he heads toward the stream behind the rocks to find some relief from his physical discomfort. As he approaches the rock, he sees one of the Arabs lying on the sand. When the Arab reaches in his pocket for his knife, Mersault reaches for the gun. Blinded by the sunlight and the sweat in his eyes, Mersault believes that the Arab is moving the knife towards him. He readies his guns and unintentionally fires a shot at the Arab. When he realizes the man is dead, he fires four more shots into the dead body without explanation. Mersault, who allowed himself to be drawn into Raymondís web, has now committed a murder that cannot be undone. It is ironic that Mersault, the stranger, has killed a stranger without any intention of doing so. The absurdity of the situation is clear.

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