“I was listening, and I could hear that I was being judged intelligent. But I couldn’t quite understand how an ordinary man’s good qualities could become crushing accusations against a guilty man” (100).
In The Stranger, Albert Camus presents the character, Meursault, as having childlike honesty. He seems not to have the capacity to lie or understand lies. This section when Meursault is being tried for the murder of the Arab draws many parallels to a child’s reaction to evil in the world. I believe that Meursault’s life with his mother was one in which lies were not told. The truth was all that was necessary and nothing beyond that. The two of them ran out of things to say to each other because they already knew the truth.
Meursault is a rather misunderstood character. The way in which he goes about his life, not caring about much of anything, is perceived in our culture as obscure and worrisome. This, however, is exactly what Camus was trying to illustrate in his novel. Albert Camus states in a preface to his novel that “…[Meursault] is foreign to the society in which he lives…And this is why some readers have been tempted to look upon him as a piece of social wreckage.” Camus raises the question of how Meursault refuses to play the game of society to which the answer is simply: he refuses to lie. I believe this principle is one Meursault obtained from his Maman. We, as readers, do not know much about their relationship, but I do not believe it is entirely fair to state that he did not care for his mother. After all, she raised him and helped him become the man he came to be. This relationship may have been a reflection of Camus’s relationship with his own mother. As a deaf woman, she could not hear lies and therefore Camus could not tell her lies. Lies are completely verbal and cannot be acted out which allowed for complete honesty, which is exactly how Meursault refused to play the game.