The Stranger

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Marie Cordona Character Analysis

Once a typist in Meursault's office, Marie is young, beautiful, easy going, and openhearted. Her romantic feelings for Meursault seem authentic and she is genuinely discouraged when Meursault confirms he doesn't love her as an individual, that he'd marry any woman like her. Still, she is remarkably resilient and is able to cultivate closeness and happiness with Meursault in spite of his chilly attitudes.

Marie Cordona Quotes in The Stranger

The The Stranger quotes below are all either spoken by Marie Cordona or refer to Marie Cordona. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Stranger published in 1989.
Book 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

Once we were dressed, she seemed very surprised to see I was wearing a black tie and asked me if I was in mourning. I told her Maman had died. She wanted to know how long ago, so I said, "Yesterday." She gave a little start but didn't say anything. I felt like telling her it wasn't my fault, but I stopped myself because I remembered that I'd already said that to my boss. It didn't mean anything. Besides, you always feel a little guilty.

Related Characters: Meursault (speaker), Marie Cordona, Madame Meursault
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

Meursault has happened to run into a woman he used to have a relationship with, on a day that happens to be the day after his mother died. For Meursault, that sequence means little if anything – his stance towards or interaction with life prevents him from assigning any significance to a particular sequence of events. Nor does his mother's death imply, for him, that he should act a certain way or inhibit himself in a certain way. The only way Meursault can think to make his mother's death signify something would be for it to have been "his fault" – an attitude that, of course, has everything to do with himself and nothing to do with Maman, or with his relationship with her. 

Meursault is moving through these days without seeming to make active choices at all – though it is, of course, a choice for him to spend time with Marie, the way he describes these events suggests that they take place of their own accord. Marie doesn't share Meursault's passive, absurdist relationship towards the world, so for her it is shocking for him to be acting romantically towards her when his mother has just died. Meursault's guilt, if it exists at all, seems to be related to this gap between Marie's expectations and his reality, more than it has to do with his own lack of grief at his mother's death.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Stranger quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Book 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

…[Marie] asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn't mean anything but that I didn't think so. She looked sad.

Related Characters: Meursault (speaker), Marie Cordona
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

Meursault obviously is attracted to Marie, and he often finds her company pleasant. But for him, these elements don't come near to love – an emotion which itself, in his point of view, means nothing, since none of life's emotions can mean anything. On the one hand, then, Meursault's statement reflects his attitude towards life and towards the world. He can't imagine feeling anything that strongly, since he is too passive, and he doesn't even believe in such a strong feeling in the first place. 

In addition, however, Meursault is indifferent towards the feelings of others, in this case Marie, who may not share this same philosophy. Marie obviously does believe in love, and does want Meursault to love her. But Meursault refuses to reassure her or to try to explain himself, based on his absurdist attitude. Relationships for him are casual, transient unions that involve no responsibilities or commitments, especially ones that might make him say something he didn't believe.

Book 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

That evening, Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said it didn't make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to. Then she wanted to know if I loved her. I answered the same way I had the last time, that it didn't mean anything but that I probably didn't love her. "So why marry me, then?" she said. I explained to her that it didn't really matter and that if she wanted to, we could get married. Besides, she was the one who was doing the asking and all I was saying was yes. Then she pointed out that marriage was a serious thing. I said, "No"...She just wanted to know if I would have accepted the same proposal from another woman, with whom I was involved in the same way. I said, "Sure."

Related Characters: Meursault (speaker), Marie Cordona (speaker)
Page Number: 41-42
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage is quite unlike a typical scene of a marriage proposal. Meursault comes across as cold, while Marie seems quietly distraught even as she is intent on figuring out exactly how Meursault feels about her. As a result of her questions, we learn that, once again, Meursault both doesn't love Marie and doesn't think love really exists, nor that it would be worth pursuing if it did. At the same time, he has no feelings against Marie – he does enjoy spending time with her – and with such a lack of animosity, he considers it perfectly acceptable for them to get married. While Marie considers marriage as an important step, as a declaration of love and commitment, Meursault thinks of it as an act of convenience, which doesn't mean anything one way or another, but which he'll take part in should Marie really want to. 

Meursault also shows great coldness in suggesting to Marie that she means nothing to him as a unique individual: she could be replaced with any woman at all, and he would feel the same way (even if the way he feels is indifferent and passive). While this interchangeability is part of Meursault's general belief in the inconsequential, random nature of events, its logical conclusion when applied to human beings proves difficult for Marie to bear.

Get the entire The Stranger LitChart as a printable PDF.
The stranger.pdf.medium

Marie Cordona Character Timeline in The Stranger

The timeline below shows where the character Marie Cordona appears in The Stranger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 2
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
...is Saturday and Meursault takes the streetcar to the public beach where he runs into Marie Cordona, a former co-worker whom Meursault had "had a thing for." They swim together and... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
When they get dressed after swimming, Marie is startled to see that Meursault is wearing a mourning tie and further shocked to... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 4
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
The next Saturday Marie comes over as planned wearing a dress that makes Meursault want her more than ever.... (full context)
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
They hear a woman screaming and being beaten in Raymond's apartment. When Marie asks Meursault to get the police, Meursault tells her he doesn't like policeman. Another neighbor... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 5
Relationships Theme Icon
...Meursault to his beach house that weekend. When Meursault says he already has plans with Marie, Raymond invites Marie too. Raymond then adds that "he'd been followed all day by a... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
That evening, Marie asks Meursault if he wants to marry her. He says it makes no difference to... (full context)
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Marie has to go so Meursault eats alone at Céleste's. "A strange little woman" enters and... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 6
Relationships Theme Icon
Sunday morning, Meursault, Marie, and Raymond set out for the beach as planned. Meursault notes that he testified at... (full context)
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
...outskirts of Algiers where Raymond's friend, Masson, has a bungalow with the Parisienne, his wife. Marie and the Parisienne laugh together and Meursault "for the first time…really thought I was going... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
..."sort of waiting for something to happen." From his cell he can see the sea. Marie visits and the two of them sit in the row along with other prisoners and... (full context)
Relationships Theme Icon
Marie waits at the bars even when Meursault has to walk back to his cell. Soon... (full context)
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
...looks forward to his lawyer's neckties just as, before prison, he looked forward to holding Marie. "Killing time," he spends hours remembering every object, color, crack, detail in his apartment in... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
...The witnesses are called and the director, the caretaker, Thomas Pérez, Raymond, Masson, Salamano, and Marie "stand up" from the "shapeless mass of spectators…only to disappear." Meursault notices the strange little... (full context)
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
The defense calls witnesses: Céleste, Marie, Masson, Salamano, and Raymond. Céleste calls Meursault "'a friend'" and has prepared a long-winded defense,... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
After Marie is questioned by Meursault's lawyer, the prosecutor questions Marie. He gets her to describe her... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
One evening, Meursault is thinking about Marie, who has long since stopped writing letters to him. He thinks she might have tired... (full context)