Book Notes Part 1, Chapter 6 Notes from The Stranger

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The Stranger Part 1, Chapter 6

Meursault has difficulty waking up on Sunday and does so only with the help of Marie. On their way out, they stop to see Raymond, who meets them outside in the sun. Meursault is repulsed by Raymond's scruffy appearance. He had testified the previous day for Raymond, allowing him to 'get off' with simply a warning. As they walk away from the building, Meursault notices the group of Arabs staring at them menacingly. They walk away, faster, and still see the Arabs behind them. Raymond tries to joke with Marie about her relationship; yet, she is not amused by his banter.

The threesome catches the bus and arrives at the beach. Marie plays in the sand with her oilcloth as Raymond leads them to his friend's bungalow at the end of the shore. Raymond's friend's name is Masson. Masson spends all his free time on the beach with his sweet, plump little wife. Marie laughs with her briefly about female sentiments and the typical problems with men. Meursault looks at her kindly and thinks, "For the first time maybe, I really thought I was going to get married" Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 50.

Masson, his wife, and Marie swim in the ocean, while Raymond and Meursault watch on from afar. Raymond compliments Marie, and upon her return to Meursault flirts intensely. Meursault is thrilled with the powerful effects of the sun on his tanning body. Everyone goes back inside except for Marie and Meursault, who return to the water to roll in the waves and press their bodies against one another. Masson calls them inside for lunch, where they drink, smoke, and chat. After lunch, Madame Masson and Marie stay behind to nap, while the three men go for a walk on the beach.

On the beach, the three men spot the Arabs coming toward them. Raymond tells Masson to fight the second one, while he takes care of the one he knows - the brother of his ex-mistress. They fight. Raymond's mouth is smashed and his hand is cut open to a bloody pulp. As soon as they feel threatened, the Arabs run off into the sun. Masson takes him to a nearby doctor who allays his fears that he only suffered superficial flesh wounds - he has nothing serious to worry about. When they return, the women weep with horror upon first sight of the injuries. Meursault smokes a cigarette to ignore their whining, while Raymond walks off to the beach. Masson tells Meursault to let him go alone in his bad mood; Meursault, however, does not heed the warning and follows him. They come to the end of the beach, to a little stream and find the Arabs sitting and relaxing. Raymond pulls a gun out of his pocket. Meursault warns him not to shoot anyone unless one of the Arabs pulls out a knife first. He asks for Raymond's gun as protection. He hands it over. "We [Raymond and Meursault] stared at each other without blinking, and everything came to a stop there between the sea, the sand, and the sun, and the double silence of the flute and the water. It was then that I realized that you could either shoot or not shoot" Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 56.

Topic Tracking: Death 4

When the Arabs run off, Raymond returns to the cottage alone. The burning sun coupled with slurring effects of the alcohol forces Meursault into a state of unrest. He cannot see a thing and feels a strong throbbing within him as he struggles to walk through the water and the sand. The Arab (who they recognize as Raymond's ex-mistress' brother) returns to the stream with a knife. Meursault pulls out the gun, in what he feels as defense. The combined effects of the afternoon (the heat and alcohol) make him feel as if he's being attacked and beaten. He pulls the trigger and shoots.

"The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes. That's when everything began to reel. The sea carried up a thick, fiery breath. It seemed to me as if the sky split open from one end to the other to rain down fire. My whole being tensed and I squeezed my hand around the revolver. The trigger gave; I felt the smooth underside of the butt; and there, in that noise, sharp and deafening at the same time, is where I tall started. I shook off the sweat and sun. I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I'd been happy. Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness." Part 1, Chapter 6, pg. 59.

Topic Tracking: Observation 4
Topic Tracking: Death 5

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