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Word Count: 1,759
The murder of the Arab is clearly the central event of the novel Camus placed it in fact right in the middle of the book It is the last incident recounted in part 1 so its importance is underscored by a structural break in the story It is related in one of the longer chapters which records in fine detail the events of the day even when their relevance is not obvious - for example several paragraphs are devoted to describing how Marie and Meursault frolic in the sea The murder marks an obvious change in Meursaults life from free man to prisoner and some more subtle associated changes such as his increasing introspection and concern with memory Meursault himself describes the shooting in terms that emphasise both the destruction of a past and the start of something new and there in that noise sharp and deafening at the same time is where - it all started - I shook off the sweat and the sun I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day the exceptional silence of a beach where Id been happyThis violent crime also interrupts the routine flow of the story Until the murder nothing very dramatic has happened and nothing dramatic seems likely to happen Partly of course this air of normality results from the way Meursault tells the story His mothers death could have been a momentous event but he begins the novel with the statement Mother died today Or maybe yesterday I dont know The matter-of-fact tone and the uncertainty combine to make us feel that this is not a significant event In many stories the first moments of love seem portentous Of his first night with Marie Meursault says Toward the end of the show I gave her a kiss but not a good one She came back to my place When I woke up Marie had gone One could hardly be farther from romantic
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