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The metonymic usage by Camus of the conflict between Raymond and the Arabs to represent the French/Algerian conflict alerts the reader to the deeper meaning of the Arab tough guys on the corner. Meursault, being part of the pied-noir working class, is stuck in the battle between two sides and ends up striking out against the Arabs for almost no reason. The situation has placed him there, just as Camus has placed the Arabs conveniently across the street. Meursault will later say that he knows the day could have gone either way, it would have been just as easy for him to shoot as not shoot.