Book Notes Part 1, Chapter 3 Notes from The Stranger

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The Stranger Part 1, Chapter 3

Back at work on Monday, Meursault remarks that his boss is extra nice to him, asking the age of his mother and feeling relieved after hearing that she was around sixty years old. The work on his desk has piled up high, but Meursault does not feel like doing it. Instead, he and Emmanuel, a dispatcher in his company run away to Celeste's where they eat, smoke, and frolic. Meursault wants to boil some potatoes, so he heads home and bumps into his neighbor, Salamano, a decrepit lonely man whose only companion is a spaniel dog with a skin disease which has unfortunately been transmitted to its owner.

On his continual way home, Meursault runs into another neighbor, Raymond Sintes, a shorter, young man with a nose like a boxer. The two comment on the pathetic lifestyle of Salamano and begin to talk about their own lives. Raymond tells Meursault about the woman he lived with who he had recently discovered was cheating on him. With powerful sentiments of anger, hatred, and revenge, they unanimously discuss ways in which to punish her, through physical violence or even through public denouncement as a prostitute. "He [Raymond] asked if I thought she was cheating on him, and it seemed to me she was; if I thought she should be punished and what I would do in his place, and I said you can't ever be sure, but I understood his wanting to punish her" Part 1, Chapter 3, pg. 32. Meursault discovers that this horrible woman is Moorish - an Arab. Raymond remarks that he considers Meursault a friend and will cease using the title, monsieur, when he speaks with him. Time has flown by and the two feel a common bond as they talk all evening. Raymond does not ask Meursault about his mother, for he (like Meursault) understands that things like this happen and that it is best not to dwell on them. People die and life goes on. As Meursault leaves, he feels content with his new friend.

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"I got up. Raymond gave me a very firm handshake and said that men always understand each other. I left his room, closing the door behind me, and paused for a minute in the dark, on the landing. The house was quiet, and a breath of dark, dank air wafted up from deep in the stairwell. All I could hear was the blood pounding in my ears. I stood there, motionless." Part 1, Chapter 3, pg. 33

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