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Transcript of The Stranger
Funeral procession of Meursault's mother
Congratulations! You have pushed the metaphorical rock to the top of the metaphorical hill!
Passage (Camus 16-18)
The procession seemed to me to be moving a little faster. All around me there was still the same glowing countryside flooded with sunlight. The glare from the sky was unbearable. At one point, we went over a section of the road that had been repaved. The tar had burst open in the sun. Our feet sank into it, leaving its shiny pulp exposed. Sticking up above the top of the hearse, the coachman's hard leather hat looked as if it had been molded out of the same black mud. I felt a little lost between the blue and white of the sky and the monotony of the colors around me - the sticky black of the tar, the dull black of all the clothes, and the shiny black of the hearse. All of it - the sun, the smell of the leather and horse dung from the hearse, the smell of the varnish and incense, and my fatigue after a night without sleep- was making it hard for me to see or think straight. I turned around again: Perez seemed to be way back there, fading in the shimmering heat. Then I lost sight of him altogether. I looked around and saw that he'd left the road and cut across the fields. I also noticed there was a bend in the road up ahead. I realized that Perez, who knew the country, was taking a short cut in order to catch up with us. Then we lost him again. He set off cross country once more, and so it went on. I could feel the blood pounding in my temples.
After that, everything seemed to happen so fast, so deliberately, so naturally that I don't remember any of it anymore. Except for one thing: as we entered the village, the nurse spoke to me. She had a remarkable voice which didn't go with her face at all, a melodious, quavering voice. She said, "If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church." She was right. There was no way out. Several other images from that day have stuck in my mind: for instance, Perez's face when he caught up with us for the last time, just outside the village. Big tears of frustration and exhaustion were streaming down his cheeks. But because of all the wrinkles, they weren't dripping off. They spread out and ran together again, leaving a watery film over his ruined face. Then there was the church and the villagers on the sidewalks, the red geraniums on the graves the cemetery, Perez fainting (he crumpled like a rag doll), the blood-red earth spilling over Maman's casket, the white flesh of the roots mixed in with it, more people, voices, the village, waiting in front of the cafe, the incessant drone of the motor, and my joy when the bus entered the nest of lights that was Algiers and I knew I was going to go to bed and sleep for twelve hours.
Guiding Discussion Questions
What stood out in this passage?
What did you find interesting?
How does this passage present some of the central themes of the book as a whole?
What literary elements do you notice? (Symbolism, syntax, etc.)
How do these strands repeat in the book?
of the sky”
"monotony of the colors around me”
of the tar”
“dull black of all the clothes”
“shiny black of the hearse”
flesh of the roots”
Light Strand: glowing, sunlight, sun, heat
Tired Strand: fading, don’t remember, fatigue, night without sleep, sleep for twelve hours
"The sun was the same as it had been the day I'd buried Maman" (Camus 58-59)
What word strands do you see?
What colors are mentioned in the passage?
Why did Meursault describe the scene with these colors?
Do colors play a part in other sections of the novel?
The shift from black to dull black to shiny black
black vs white
"There was that same dazzling red glare." (Camus 57)
"Pretty red-and-white striped dress..." (Camus 34)
Frost - metaphor
Character Analysis: Perez
Perez/Human Life: "Fading in the shimmering heat"
Uselessness of emotion, broader theme
Nabokov: separation between reader and character
Water Strand: flooded, sank, shiny, shimmering, tears, streaming, dripping, watery film
Contrast with Meursault: "Big tears of frustration and exhaustion were streaming down his cheeks" (18)
"If you go slowly...she was right. There was no way out" (Camus 17)
"I said people never change their lives..." (Camus 41)
"I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world" (Camus 122)
Myth of Sisyphus
How are the main ideas of the text portrayed in this passage?
Why is Perez significant?