The Stranger Part 2, Chapter 2
Reality sets in as Meursault is placed in his prison cell. He realizes that the small room is now his home, since he cannot have visitors. He thinks of Marie not able to visit him, for she is technically not his wife.
He is first put into a cell with several other Arabs who taunt him until he tells them that he is in prison for killing an Arab. They become quickly silent. Eventually, he receives a visitor who he hopes is Marie. The visitor is Marie and she is standing amongst a group of visitors who consist of Moorish women and one heavy white woman. They take turns yelling at their respective loved ones behind bars, screaming messages of love and longing. Meursault wants to take Marie in his arms, go swimming, and feel her skin against his. When it is her turn to yell, she asks him if he needs anything. She then tells him that when he gets out of prison, they will get married. She smiles during the entire visit. Meursault is frustrated by the constant commotion and noise in the visiting area. Soon, each prisoner affectionately says goodbye to his respective mother, wife, or friend. Meursault realizes that he can and must get used to this type of life. "At that time, I often thought that if I had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowing overhead, little by little I would have gotten used to it" Part 2, Chapter 2, pg. 77.
Meursault misses the touch of a woman. He doesn't much think of Marie in particular, but rather of women as a whole. He becomes friendly with the head guard in the prison confides in him about this typical frustration of prisoners - the lack of conjugal visits and feminine touch. The guard tells him that it is his punishment - lack of freedom. Meursault slowly realizes what the guard means by this when he cannot smoke a cigarette, and does not have his belt, shoelaces, tie, and everything else he brought with him to prison. As the weeks pass, Meursault gets used to this new lifestyle, without freedom. He lives his days by his memories, thinking of his room, his furniture, the beach.
"And the more I thought about it, the more I dug out my memory things I had overlooked or forgotten. I realized then that a man who had lived only one day could easily live for a hundred years in prison. He would have enough memories to keep him from being bored. In a way, it was an advantage." Part 2, Chapter 2, pg. 79
As the months pass, Meursault simply must pass the time in prison. For him, that is the hardest part. He sleeps approximately 16-18 hours a day, eats when meals are prepared, and keeps busy by reading and re-reading the same clip from an old newspaper about a man who was missing for years and years later returns home with a fortune. He is soon murdered and his family therein dies because of the tragedy. After rereading the clip, Meursault thinks back to Maman's funeral and the nurse saying that there is no way out of prison. He acknowledges his presence in prison, yet again.