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In the novel, Albert Camus creates a number of character foils for Meursault's character in order to bring out various features.
Meursault and Thomas Perez – The relationship that Thomas has with Meursault's mother is one of the few in the novel that show a real emotional attachment. This is a contrast to the relationship that Meursault had with his mother. Whereas Meursault shows indifference to her death, Thomas is truly hurt.
Meursault and Raymond Sintès – This is one of the more obvious foils in this novel. Raymond is insincere and telling lies is nothing new to him. He is somewhat thoughtless – this can be seen in his letter to his mistress, which was quite ruthless. On the other hand, Meursault is very honest about what he feels. He doesn't see the need to lie about things in order to conform with society's morals. This is precisely why he didn't shed 'false tears' at his mother's funeral.
Meursault and Salamano – When Salamano's dog is lost, he is heart-broken. This emotion that Salamano expresses exacerbates Meursault's lack of feelings because when Meursault's mother dies, he shows indifference.
Meursault and the 'Robot Lady' – Whereas Meursault just likes life to happen as it does, this lady (whom he meets at Celeste's diner) is the exact opposite. In this sense, these two characters are polar opposites – she counts the money at the diner to the exact coin. On the other hand, if Meursault were a few francs off, he probably wouldn't care because it is part of his nature to avoid conflict.
- Character foils
- English translations from the French
- In popular culture
- Selected film adaptations