As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself—so like a brother, really—I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.
These are the last lines of the novel. After his meeting with the chaplain, whose insistence that Meursault turn to God in the wake of his death sentence puts Meursault into a “blind rage,” Meursault fully accepts the absurdist idea that the universe is indifferent to human affairs and that life lacks rational order and meaning. He moves toward this revelation through the course of the novel, but does not fully grasp it until he accepts the impossibility of avoiding his death. Meursault realizes that the universe’s indifference to human affairs echoes his own personal indifference to human affairs, and the similarity evokes a feeling of companionship in him that leads him to label the world “a brother.”
As opposed to earlier in the novel, when Meursault was passively content at best, here Meursault finds that he is actively happy once he opens himself to the reality of human existence. Meursault finds that he is also happy with his position in society. He does not mind being a loathed criminal. He only wishes for companionship, “to feel less alone.” He accepts that this companionship will take the form of an angry mob on his execution day. He sees his impending execution as the “consummation” of his new understanding.