The Stranger is a book of many facets and meanings most of which are not immediately apparent. In fact without in depth analysis the entire point of the book is easily missed. The manner of story telling in The Stranger is unique and at first hard to come to grips with. It is not the story that is especially complex but the manner in which it is told
The story begins with the death of the central character, Mersault's, mother. The narrator never says that he is not overly distraught over his mother's death, but it is implied through the language he uses when talking of this event. Maman, Mersault's mother, had been living at an old people's home in Marengo for the last few years of her life and Mersault must catch a bus there to go to her funeral. He catches the bus for the eighty-kilometer ride at two o'clock in the afternoon.
While on the bus he falls asleep for most of the ride. Once at the home he meets the director, who asks Mersault if he'd like to see his mother. Mersault's only response is to get up and follow the director to where her coffin is. When he comes to his mother's coffin, he chooses to have the lid left on. This surprises the caretaker and becomes very important later on in the book. Mersault and the caretaker then proceed to have a fairly amiable conversation, smoke some cigarettes and drink some coffee. Maman's friends in the home then arrive and most of them are very distraught, crying, howling and being very demonstrative of their grief.
At the funeral Mersault doesn't cry or shows signs of great emotion, and the funeral proceedings quickly become a blur to him. He is asked if...