Book Notes Part 2, Chapter 4 Notes from The Stranger

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The Stranger Part 2, Chapter 4

Meursault sits in the prisoner's dock, listening to the summations from the prosecution and defense. He sees the isolation and distance of the person on trial from the rest of the people in the courtroom. He realizes that he is that prisoner, separated from the jury, the audience, the lawyers, the judges, and contemplates his role. "In a way, they seemed to be arguing the case as if it had nothing to do with me. Everything was happening without my participation. My fate was being decided without anyone so much as asking my opinion" Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 98. He listens to the prosecution rant and reiterate every detail of his personality, coldness, indifference to Maman, dates with Marie, and work as the accomplice to Raymond. Meursault still feel separated from himself, the person on trial, but in his mind, also agrees with everything the prosecutor says. He is exhausted and bored, all-the-while drifting off to sleep during the summations. The prosecutor continues to claim that Meursault is a cold-hearted man, problematic to society. After his long, passionate speech about the horrible crimes of this man on trial, the judge asks Meursault if he would like to say anything. He thinks about saying that he did not mean to kill the Arab. Instead, he mutters something about the intense heat of the afternoon. The judge adjourns court till later that afternoon.

Topic Tracking: Detachment 11

When everyone returns to court, the lawyers begin their summations. Meursault cannot believe how long and boring the closing statement is for the defense. He does not understand why the lawyer uses the first person, "I" when referring to Meursault. The case continues to make him feel detached and confused. The prosecutor's summation, however, is strong and powerful. Meursault thinks the prosecutor is a better lawyer than his own. When the two men finish, Meursault is relieved, yet powerless. "But all the long speeches, all the interminable days and hours that people had spent talking about my soul, had left me with the impression of a colorless swirling river that was making me dizzy" Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 104.

Meursault looks around at the courtroom scene and thinks back on his life. It doesn't seem like his own anymore. He can barely feel anything for Marie or his supposed friends. Court is adjourned and people come up to Meursault, congratulating him on the case. Meursault and his lawyer wait for the verdict.

The juror finds Meursault guilty of premeditated murder. His lawyer does not think there is a chance to overturn the verdict, but they can appeal it to a higher court if he desires. Meursault looks again at the people in the courtroom. They look exactly as they did at the opening of the trial. The foreman returns to the courtroom and the judge announces the sentence.

"The presiding judge told me in a bizarre language that I was to have my head cut off in a public square in the name of the French people. Then it seemed to me that I suddenly knew what was on everybody's fact. It was a look of consideration, I'm sure. The policemen were very gentle with me. The lawyer put his hand on my wrist. I wasn't thinking about anything anymore. But the presiding judge asked me if I had anything to say. I thought about it. I said, 'No.'" Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 107

Topic Tracking: Death 8

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