minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean
anything but that I didn’t think so.
In this passage from Part One, Chapter 4,
Meursault relates an exchange he has with Marie. With characteristic
emotional indifference and detachment, Meursault answers Marie’s
question completely and honestly. Always blunt, he never alters
what he says to be tactful or to conform to societal expectations.
However, Meursault’s honesty reflects his ignorance. His blunt words
suggest that he does not understand fully the emotional stakes in
Marie’s question. Also, in Meursault’s assertion that love “didn’t
mean anything,” we see an early form of a central idea Meursault
later comes to understand—the meaninglessness of human life.