The Stranger Part II Chapters 1 and 2 Summary

     Part two of the novel takes place after Meursault's arrest for the crime of murder. While in jail, he was questioned by a magistrate and a lawyer. Meursault tried to explain that his physical needs become a priority over his emotions, so on the day he buried his mother, he didn't cry because he was so tired. They questioned him about why he shot the gun five times, especially since he paused after the first shot, but Meursault didn't know how to respond. At one point, the magistrate took out a crucifix and waved it in Meursault's face telling him that he must repent and God would forgive him. Meursault showed a bit of fear at this point, but he vehemently denied any belief in God. He was annoyed by the questioning about life, and he kept forgetting that he was a criminal. This investigation into his case lasted eleven months, and then they were ready for the trial to begin. At his final interview, the judge led him to do the door and called him Monsieur Antichrist before sending him back to his cell. Even though it is clear that Meursault's existentialist view means he does not believe in the afterlife, and he doesn't mourn the things of this earth, he does begin to show some signs of emotion upon going to jail.

     In chapter two, he mentions that when he was first put in the holding cell with a bunch of Arabs, they were laughing at him until they asked what he did, and he replied that he had killed an Arab, which shut them up. A few days later, Marie came to visit him. The visiting room forced the visitors and the prisoners to be separated by two large grates with eight meters between, which forced people to shout across to one another. Marie told him that he had to have hope. She believed he would get out and that they would get married.

     At first he had trouble in his cell, but he remembered his mother telling him that eventually you could get used to anything, which he did. He thought about women, which the guard said was typical of all prisoners. Meursault was upset that they took away his cigarettes and struggled initially with the withdrawal. He took to mentally walking through his apartment and detailing every object inside. Then he started to sleep a lot more than he ever had previously. He found a small, worn newspaper clipping between his straw mattress and bed planks about a Czechoslovakian man. When he was young, he left his village to seek his fortune then returned twenty-five years later to surprise his family. However, his mother and sister, not realizing it was him, killed him in order to rob him. When they found out his identity, they both commit suicide. All the days blended one into another while he waited for his trial. One day he took a tin plate and tried to smile at it, but he couldn't make his face move. Then he realized that his ears had been ringing for days because he had been talking to himself.

     This book reads like a memoir chronicling Meursault's thoughts as he journeys through this time in his life. It contains factual, often short, sentences surprisingly devoid of emotion. Readers may try to diagnose Meursault, wondering how someone could behave in such a way with so little empathy, but the diagnosis will prove elusive.

Related Links:

The Stranger Part II Chapters 1 and 2 Quiz
The Stranger Part II Chapters 3 and 5 Summary
The Stranger Part I Chapters 1 and 2 Summary
The Stranger Summary
The Stranger Quotes
The Stranger Important Characters
The Stranger Quiz
Literature Summaries
Albert Camus Facts

To link to this The Stranger Part II Chapters 1 and 2 Summary page, copy the following code to your site: