The Meursault Investigation

by

Kamel Daoud

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Harun Character Analysis

The novel’s protagonist, an elderly Algerian man. Harun narrates the novel to the young interlocutor; he revisits his entire life, from his days as a young boy traumatized by his older brother Musa’s murder and Mama’s emotional decline, to his current life as a solitary and garrulous old man, desperate for someone to listen to his story. Although it occurred several decades ago, Harun is still obsessed with his brother’s murder at the hands of Meursault, a French settler who evaded punishment for his crime and even wrote a bestselling novel about it (in fact, Meursault is the protagonist of Albert Camus’s novel The Stranger, and Harun’s narrative is a reimagining of its events from an Algerian standpoint). In his personality, Harun is remarkably similar to Meursault, whom he considers his nemesis: both men remain detached from the events occurring around them, even when doing so makes them objects of suspicion of dislike (for example, despite strong social pressure, Harun refuses to fight for Algerian independence, and both men reject religion as a means of making sense of the world). However, Harun also loathes Meursault’s use of his brother’s death to jumpstart his own literary career; frequently returning to Meursault’s dismissive description of Musa as “the Arab,” he transforms Meursault’s narrative into a critique of colonialist exploitation and racism. Harun has a troubled relationship with Mama, who seems to resent him for outliving his elder brother; she only becomes affectionate towards him after he kills a French settler, Joseph, in an act of retribution about which Harun feels unsettled for the rest of his life. Harun always feels as though he’s living in the shadow of his brother’s martyrdom, unable to extricate himself from his memory. The conflict between brotherly love and resentment is embodied in the two brothers’ names: Musa means “Moses,” who was a biblical hero just as Musa’s murder makes him a hero to his family, but Harun means “Aaron,” Moses’s younger brother who acted as his spokesman just as Harun now tells his brother’s story, deriving a certain power he could never have during Musa’s life.

Harun Quotes in The Meursault Investigation

The The Meursault Investigation quotes below are all either spoken by Harun or refer to Harun. 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:
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Other Press edition of The Meursault Investigation published in 2015.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Well, the original guy was such a good storyteller, he managed to make people forget his crime, whereas the other one was a poor illiterate God created apparently for the sole purpose of taking a bullet and returning to dust – an anonymous person who didn’t even have the time to be given a name.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Meursault
Related Symbols: Names
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

Therefore I’m going to do what was done in this country after Independence: I’m going to take the stones from the old houses the colonists left behind, remove them one by one, and build my own house, my own language. The murderer’s words and expressions are my unclaimed goods. Besides, the country’s littered with words that don’t belong to anyone anymore.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker)
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

And that’s where you go wrong, you and all your predecessors. The absurd is what my brother and I carry on our backs or in the bowels of our land, not what the other was or did.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Meursault, The Interlocutor
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

For centuries, the settler increases his fortune, giving names to whatever he appropriates and taking them away from whatever makes him feel uncomfortable. If he calls my brother “the Arab,” it’s so he can kill him the way one kills time, by strolling around aimlessly.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Meursault
Related Symbols: Names
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Who, me? Nostalgic for French Algeria? No! You haven’t understood a word I’ve said. I was just trying to tell you that back then, we Arabs gave the impression that we were waiting, not going around in circles like today.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), The Interlocutor
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

People in the neighborhood showed my mother his picture in the newspaper, but for us he was the spitting image of all the colonists who’d grown fat on so many stolen harvests. There was nothing special about him […] and his features were instantly forgettable, easy to confuse with those of all his kind.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Mama, Meursault
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Consequently, my mother imposed on me a strict duty of reincarnation. For instance, as soon as I grew a little, she made me wear my dead brother’s clothes, even though they were still too big for me […] I was forbidden to wander away from her, to walk by myself, to sleep in unknown places, and, while we were still in Algiers, to venture anywhere near the beach.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Mama
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Well, yes! I remember that, I remember feeling a strange jubilation at seeing her really suffering for once. To prove my existence, I had to disappoint her. It was like fate. That tie bound us together deeper than death.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Mama
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Arab. I never felt Arab, you know. Arab-ness is like Negro-ness, which only exists in the white man’s eyes. In our neighborhood, in our world, we were Muslims, we had given names, faces, and habits. Period. The others were “the strangers,” the roumis God brought here to put us to the test, but whose days were numbered anyway […].

Related Characters: Harun (speaker)
Related Symbols: Names
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

I realized very young that among all those who nattered on about my condition, whether angels, gods, devils, or books, I was the only one who knew the sorrow and obligation of death, work, and sickness. I alone pay the electric bill, I alone will be eaten by worms in the end. So get lost!

Related Characters: Harun (speaker)
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

At the moment when I committed my crime, I felt a door somewhere was definitively closing on me. I concluded that I had been condemned – and for that, I’d needed neither judge nor God nor the charade of a trial. Only myself.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Joseph / The Frenchman
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

I killed a man, and since then, life is no longer sacred in my eyes. After what I did, the body of every woman I met quickly lost its sensuality, its possibility of giving me an illusion of the absolute. Every surge of desire was accompanied by the knowledge that life reposes on nothing solid.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Joseph / The Frenchman
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

He started stammering, declaring that killing and making war were not the same thing, that we weren’t murderers but liberators, that nobody had given me orders to kill that Frenchman, and that I should have done it before.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Joseph / The Frenchman , The Officer
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

They were going to set me free without explanation, whereas I wanted to be sentenced. I wanted to be relieved of the heavy shadow that was turning my life into darkness.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Joseph / The Frenchman
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

The gratuitousness of Musa’s death was unconscionable. And now my revenge had just been struck down to the same level of insignificance!

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Joseph / The Frenchman
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I know that if Musa hadn’t killed me – actually, it was Musa, Mama, and your hero, those are my three murderers – I would have had a better life, at peace with my language on a little patch of land somewhere in this country, but that wasn’t my destiny.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Mama, Meursault
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

“Everything was written!” Mama blurted out, and I was surprised by the involuntary aptness of her words. Written, yes, but in the form of a book, and not by some God. Did we feel ashamed of our stupidity? Did we contain and irrepressible urge to laugh like foods, us, the ridiculous pair stationed in the wings of a masterpiece we didn’t even know existed?

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Mama, Meriem
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

At one and the same time, I felt insulted and revealed to myself. I spent the whole night reading that book. My heart was pounding, I was about to suffocate, it was like reading a book written by God himself. A veritable shock, that’s what it was. Everything was there except the essential thing: Musa’s name.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Meursault
Related Symbols: Names
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

I was looking for traces of my brother in the book, and what I found there instead was my own reflection, I discovered I was practically the murderer’s double. I finally came to the last lines in the book: “…had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me cries of hate.”

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa, Meursault
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

It shocks me, this disproportion between my insignificance and the vastness of the cosmos. I often think there must be something all the same, something in the middle between my triviality and the universe!

Related Characters: Harun (speaker)
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

I often look out at it from my window, and I loathe its architecture, the big finger pointed at the sky, the concrete still gaping. I also loathe the imam, who looks at his flock as if he’s the steward of the kingdom.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker)
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

The Arab’s the Arab, God’s God. No name, no initials. Blue overalls and blue sky. Two unknown persons on an endless beach. Which is truer? An intimate question. It’s up to you to decide.

Related Characters: Harun (speaker), Musa
Related Symbols: Names
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
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Harun Character Timeline in The Meursault Investigation

The timeline below shows where the character Harun appears in The Meursault Investigation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
Harun opens his story by saying that “Mama’s still alive today.” She could tell many stories,... (full context)
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Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
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Harun says that the story in question is more than fifty years old. People still talk... (full context)
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The forgotten man was Harun’s brother (Musa). Nothing is left of him except Harun, who speaks in his place and... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
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Harun knows that he can’t “imitate” the murderer because Meursault is a brilliant writer with a... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun says he knows his interlocutor has questions, but asks him to pay attention to his... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
It seems to Harun that the murderer, Meursault, must have been tired of living in “a country that wanted... (full context)
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Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun has also read the novel and absorbed its meaning. The protagonist has “a man’s name,”... (full context)
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Harun’s brother, Musa, is “a brief Arab,” who lived only for two hours one afternoon and... (full context)
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Whenever Harun thinks about the novel, he gets angry. Its author, Meursault, gets to discuss everything he... (full context)
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Harun finds it stunning that even after Independence, no one tried to figure out the story... (full context)
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Harun wants to tell the story of his brother, Musa. He tells his interlocutor that by... (full context)
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After the interlocutor has finished reading, Harun explains the passage. After Meursault’s mother died, he “falls into idleness and absurdity,” which he... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Harun sketches out Meursault’s story for the interlocutor. Meursault kills an Arab who, in his novel,... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
For Harun, “the absurd” isn’t a philosophy developed by Meursault but the burden that “my brother and... (full context)
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Harun exhorts the interlocutor to finish his drink. He’s been waiting for someone to listen to... (full context)
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Harun believes the story should be written “from right to left,” starting from when “the Arab”... (full context)
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For Harun, learning another language eventually means letting it “own” him. Sometimes he feels that the French... (full context)
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Harun tells the interlocutor that he only had one brother and no sister. Musa was older... (full context)
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...Musa comes home from the port where he works as a porter and puts young Harun on his shoulders, making sounds like a motor and letting the boy pull on his... (full context)
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Harun’s father abandoned the family years before. Rumors often circulate as to where their father is,... (full context)
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Harun’s family life is centered around Musa, and Musa “revolved around our father,” whom Harun has... (full context)
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To young Harun, Musa is a “simple god.” When Harun first hears of his brother’s death, he feels... (full context)
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Harun never weeps for Musa, but he stops looking up at the sky. Years later, he... (full context)
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In Harun’s view, the story of the murder doesn’t begin with Meursault’s famous opening lines but by... (full context)
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In the next moment, Harun retracts this comment, saying it’s a lie. In fact, “Independence only pushed people on both... (full context)
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Harun warns the interlocutor to make a note of Musa’s name, otherwise he will stop telling... (full context)
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Oran is a city “with its legs spread open toward the sea.” Harun tells the interlocutor to walk through the old neighborhoods and look at the port, which... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Harun’s brother is named Musa, but he will always be known as “the Arab.” For centuries,... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Harun often repeats Musa’s name so it doesn’t vanish. He wants the interlocutor to write in... (full context)
Chapter 2
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During Harun’s childhood, Mama only told him one type of story—that of Musa. Depending on Mama’s mood,... (full context)
Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...describes prophetic dreams foretelling Musa’s death, sometimes a fight with other men in the neighborhood. Harun has no idea which story is true, and at his young age he doesn’t care;... (full context)
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In fact, Harun knows nothing of what happened between Musa’s departure from home in the morning and his... (full context)
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
Thinking back on the event later, Harun believes that he detected “the smell of female rivalry” in the air, an unspoken comment... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
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...not have been fighting over his sister’s honor, because he didn’t even have a sister. Harun thinks that perhaps Musa had a girlfriend and wanted to save her honor by “teaching... (full context)
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Mama never discussed the possibility of a girlfriend, but after Musa’s murder, Harun was often treated in the neighborhood as “the heir of some recovered honor,” even though... (full context)
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Harun knows nothing about the woman Musa was involved with, but Harun heard Musa whisper “Zubida”... (full context)
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
After this, Harun and Mama leave Algiers for good, heading towards the agricultural town of Hadjout. The bus... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Harun wonders aloud why he has ended up in Oran, another large city. People treat the... (full context)
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In Algiers, there’s a custom of calling all unknown men “Mohammed”; Harun does the same thing but substitutes his brother’s name, Musa. It’s also the name of... (full context)
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Harun cannot remember the street he lived on in Algiers; he is frightened of the city,... (full context)
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Harun doesn’t even remember the exact moment he learned of Musa’s death. He only remembers grown-ups... (full context)
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After he realizes what has happened, Harun starts crying, but no one pays attention to him. Mama is nowhere to be found,... (full context)
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
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Harun has named not only the barman but another patron Musa as well. He says that... (full context)
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Harun loves the city of Oran, even though he always insults it. Everyone comes here looking... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...words, her own tiny house, where she’s hunkered down like a piece of luggage. When Harun sees her, he imagines that she embodies “an assembly of ancestors” judging him or wanting... (full context)
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Harun rarely visits Mama. She spends all her time sweeping every corner of her house in... (full context)
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
When they leave Algiers after Musa’s death, Harun and Mama stay with an uncle who treats them badly, consigning them to a shack... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
...problems are from “hunger,” not “injustice.” Epidemics and famines are frequent, and if one of Harun’s playmates doesn’t appear in the morning, Harun knows that he is dead. Harun is often... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...French family, Monsieur and Madame Larquais, who flee quickly after the war, and Mama and Harun are able to appropriate the house for themselves. The house has three rooms, some sheds,... (full context)
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However, in the years while Mama works for the settlers, things are very hard. Harun has to walk miles each day to find work as a farm laborer, competing with... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Now, Mama keeps the house very dark. Harun visits every few months, drinks some coffee, and leaves without saying much to his mother.... (full context)
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
In response to an unheard question, Harun says fiercely that he’s not nostalgic for French Algeria. However, before Independence, “we Arabs gave... (full context)
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Harun doesn’t like Hadjout, and he dreads returning there to bury Mama. It’s also puzzling for... (full context)
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Harun says that he could reveal the “secret” he and Mama have—the fact that one night... (full context)
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While Harun and Mama are still living in Algiers, Mama “convert[s] her anger” into a prolonged period... (full context)
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
...on and refined until it became a masterpiece.” She wants the neighbors to sympathize with Harun, but she herself is rarely affectionate towards him. Harun feels that he is “the dead... (full context)
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...drowned and carries out the proper rituals for a funeral when nobody is present. Afterwards, Harun huddles in bed while the neighbor women comfort Mama. Eventually, Mama wraps her arms around... (full context)
Justice and Retribution Theme Icon
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...a man who abandoned her. Now she’s “twice widowed” and reduced to working for foreigners. Harun loves her, but he’s “never forgiven her” for the way she behaved towards him in... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
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Periodically, Mama becomes convinced that she’s found Musa’s body or heard his footsteps outside. Harun hates Mama’s fantasies, and it’s this that pushes him to learn French, a language that... (full context)
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Harun orders the interlocutor to get another round of drinks. Returning to his tale, he explains... (full context)
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Now, Harun is “indifferent” to the fact that his mother is still alive. She rarely speaks anymore,... (full context)
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Harun remarks that it’s getting dark. He hates the silence of night, because it awakens his... (full context)
Chapter 4
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Since Musa’s body never appeared, Mama “imposed […] a strict duty of reincarnation” on Harun. She makes him wear Musa’s old clothes even though they are too big; she forbids... (full context)
Grief and Family Life Theme Icon
Mama wants Harun to be the “visible trace” of Musa, and Harun complies. Since he’s forbidden to do... (full context)
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In this way, Harun misses out on the fun of being young and the sexual awakening enjoyed by most... (full context)
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Harun often accompanies Mama to search for clues in Algiers, following in the wake of her... (full context)
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After Meursault’s book becomes famous and relegates Mama and Harun to “oblivion,” Harun often remembers their investigations and the pity with which people regarded them.... (full context)
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One day, Mama and Harun finally walk down to the sea, “the last witness on Mama’s list.” She orders Harun... (full context)
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Besides some happy moments, Harun had “a ghost’s childhood.” He knows the interlocutor doesn’t want to hear about his life,... (full context)
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Sometimes, when thinking about the murder and the complete lack of information surrounding it, Harun has wild imaginings. He imagines that he is “Cain” and has killed his own brother.... (full context)
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In Algiers, Mama often takes Harun to the cemetery where there’s a gravestone for Musa, despite his missing body. Harun thinks... (full context)
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Harun has read Meursault’s book many times. Now he summarizes it again: it seems like Meursault’s... (full context)
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
Once, Harun saw a movie in which a man climbs to an altar where he will be... (full context)
Chapter 5
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The next time Harun meets the interlocutor, he praises the man’s patience in staying to hear the story. However,... (full context)
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Harun orders some wine and remarks that it’s becoming harder for wine producers to run their... (full context)
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Harun also warns the interlocutor that he knows almost nothing about the “geography” of his story.... (full context)
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Harun imagines that Musa might have been well-known or famous, if only Meursault had given him... (full context)
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Harun returns to the outline of the story. At two o’clock on a sunny afternoon, Meursault... (full context)
Religion and Nihilism Theme Icon
According to Harun, the entire world Meursault creates is false. He describes a world in which “property is... (full context)
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The mystery seems “more and more unfathomable” to Harun, since he too has “a mother and murder” to grapple with. In fact, he too... (full context)
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Harun returns to thinking about the beach where Musa was killed. When he finally saw it... (full context)
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Harun has been to the beach six times looking for clues. He recounts one such time:... (full context)
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Harun describes his version of the facts this way: “Cain”—that is, the French—came to Algeria to... (full context)
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Again, Harun points out the “bottle ghost,” “my double,” at the other end of the bar. The... (full context)
Chapter 6
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In order to make Mama pay attention to him, Harun used to hide or eat household supplies like bread or sugar. Young Harun enjoys watching... (full context)
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One day, Mama forces Harun to go to the neighborhood mosque, where a young imam supervises unattended children. They get... (full context)
Colonialism and its Aftermath Theme Icon
Harun reflects that he never felt “Arab”—this is a classification imposed by white colonists. Growing up,... (full context)
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Musa only became “the Arab” once he was viewed through Meursault’s eyes. Harun is still bothered by the question of how Musa ended up on the beach with... (full context)
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There’s also the problem of the prostitute. Harun doesn’t like to talk about this much. It seems unnecessary for Meursault to allege falsely... (full context)
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Sometimes, Harun thinks that Algeria as a whole can be understood “in the form of two imaginary... (full context)
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On another note, Harun wonders what Meursault was doing on the beach. According to his novel, Musa was already... (full context)
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Harun wants another drink, so he calls out to the bartender. As he gets older, it... (full context)
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Harun knows that Meursault’s book is very successful, but he thinks it’s a “swindle.” He’s read... (full context)
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Harun breaks off and notices that the “bottle ghost” is absent tonight. He imagines that the... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Meeting his interlocutor again at his own apartment, Harun turns down the offer of a coffee. He says he hates Fridays, which he normally... (full context)
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One of Harun’s neighbors reads the Koran loudly all night on the weekends. No one can tell him... (full context)
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Responding to an unheard question, Harun says he doesn’t know anything more about his father than what he’s already said. There... (full context)
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No woman has been able to liberate Harun from his own mother and her constant unspoken accusations that he hasn’t avenged Musa’s death.... (full context)
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The only exception to Harun’s distrust of women is Meriem, with whom he had a brief relationship in 1963. He... (full context)
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Harun says that Friday is “the day closest to death.” People wear pajamas in the streets,... (full context)
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Harun especially dislikes the prayer hour, when he hears the imam’s voice through the loudspeakers and... (full context)
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In fact, Harun hates all religions, because they “falsify the weight of the world.” Sometimes he wants to... (full context)
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On Friday all the bars are closed. People think that Harun is strange because he doesn’t pray and cultivates his solitude. It seems odd that he’s... (full context)
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Harun keeps his beliefs to himself, because he knows his neighbors are already suspicious of him,... (full context)
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Harun wonders what the “bottle ghost” does on Fridays. Maybe he goes to the beach, or... (full context)
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Harun has sat on his balcony observing the world below for so many years that all... (full context)
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This is only one of Harun’s balconies. The other one is inside his head, and from it he looks out onto... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Harun shoots the Frenchman with seven bullets, two more than Meursault fired into Musa. Mama stands... (full context)
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Behind Harun, Mama breathes softly, much more easily than she has since Musa died. It’s nighttime, and... (full context)
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Harun already knows he won’t be punished for the murder. Outside, the War of Liberation is... (full context)
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After killing the Frenchman, Harun feels a sense of immense freedom. Finally, he’s no longer being silently asked to murder... (full context)
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...already looking at the body and planning the grave they must now dig. She exhorts Harun to work quickly, and sweeps away the sand. As he works to obscure the details... (full context)
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Harun and Mama bury the Frenchman’s body quickly. No one seems to have noticed the gunshots.... (full context)
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Harun didn’t even know the Frenchman he killed. He resumes his story. Moments before the murder,... (full context)
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...Larquais family left three months ago, so since then Mama has commandeered their house, and Harun stays up every night on watch for burglars. On their departure, the family had charged... (full context)
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...trust anyone. Any neighbor could kick them out of the house by brute force. Once, Harun sees a resistance fighter shooting out streetlights so he can plunder in the dark. (full context)
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...of the French have stayed, as they are technically entitled to official protection. One afternoon, Harun walks past a group of them protesting the recent murder of two French people by... (full context)
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When Harun hears noises on the night in question, Mama is already awake and directs him to... (full context)
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Harun is sure that he and Mama thought about Musa simultaneously, believing that killing this Frenchman... (full context)
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After shooting the Frenchman, Harun drags his corpse into the courtyard, where he and Mama bury it with difficulty. The... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Harun insists that he’s not telling the interlocutor about his crime in order to relieve his... (full context)
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The day after the murder, everything seems the same. The only new development is Harun’s conviction that he has condemned himself, without the aid of “judge nor God nor the... (full context)
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In fact, Harun wishes he could go on trial now, as Meursault did. He’d like to see a... (full context)
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Harun says that his life has been more tragic than Meursault’s. In his memory, he acts... (full context)
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Again, Harun says he wishes he could stand trial. However, he blames Mama for his crimes. She... (full context)
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Harun remarks that the interlocutor seems surprised by his articulate French. Harun says that he learned... (full context)
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Harun knows that the only trial he’ll ever have is the one he performs in this... (full context)
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Moreover, the crime forever alters Harun’s ability to love. After talking one man’s life, life itself is “no longer sacred” to... (full context)
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This morning, Harun read an article about an Indian man who has kept his right hand raised for... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The day after Harun murders Joseph, everything is tranquil. He wakes up to the smell of coffee and Mama... (full context)
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Harun sleeps for several hours, but eventually Mama wakes him up to say that the police... (full context)
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Harun already knows that the new authorities don’t want him to account for the murder but... (full context)
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Harun sleeps for three days, while fighting continues to rage throughout the country. Now, thinking back... (full context)
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While Harun sleeps, he sees “people and trees differently, from an unexpected angle, over and above their... (full context)
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Five days later, Harun goes to the town hall. He is arrested and put in a cell with some... (full context)
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...not sure if they believe her, since her newspaper articles don’t even mention his name. Harun feels that he should hug Mama or cry, but he can’t do either. When it’s... (full context)
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Back in his cell, Harun remembers his old neighborhood in Algiers and his arrival in Hadjout. He wonders why he... (full context)
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Harun recalls that during his adolescence, Mama makes him go to school, where he quickly progresses... (full context)
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Unburdened by Musa or Mama, Harun feels free and calm in the cell. However, when the guard comes with his dinner,... (full context)
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Throughout the night, Harun savors his idleness. He feels that he can move between the living and the dead... (full context)
Chapter 11
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At the police station, Harun is questioned several times, but no one seems truly interested in getting to the bottom... (full context)
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...at the idea of judging an Algerian for murdering a Frenchman. The officer says that Harun has been arrested because he killed Joseph on his own, rather than as part of... (full context)
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Harun is led back to his cell, where he looks out the window into the sun.... (full context)
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Harun asks him to explain, and the officer shakily says that “killing and making war were... (full context)
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A soldier enters and places an envelope on the desk. In the ensuing silence, Harun asks whether it counted as before or after the war if he killed Joseph on... (full context)
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The officer asks if Musa was really killed by a Frenchman, and Harun says that he was. After this the officer becomes calmer, although he still mutters about... (full context)
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Eventually, Harun is taken back to his cell. He knows he’s going to be released, but he... (full context)
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Harun explains to the interlocutor why Mama decided he must kill Joseph (he believes that Mama... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Harun thinks that love is “inexplicable.” He’s always puzzled by the way couples touch each other... (full context)
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Harun returns to the subject of Meriem, and their brief affair in 1963. He loved to... (full context)
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Harun still remembers how beautiful Meriem was, especially her smile and her hair. However, even when... (full context)
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Harun tells the interlocutor to look around the city, which contains everything from Ottoman walls to... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Harun wishes he could speak about his life in a better order, but the interlocutor will... (full context)
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As a teenager in Hadjout, Harun finally begins school, where he is one of two Arab students. Both Arab boys arrive... (full context)
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Harun does extremely well in school, and quickly learns French. He’s driven not by a desire... (full context)
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As his French improves, Harun realizes that Mama has sent him to school so that he can revive Musa by... (full context)
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In this way, Harun’s education was “marked by death.” For Mama, everything Harun learns has to relate to their... (full context)
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Both Mama and Harun are taken aback when a young woman (Meriem) arrives at their house in 1963, asking... (full context)
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Harun leaves his bed to find a small, beautiful woman coming into the house. He feels... (full context)
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Harun has never heard of Meursault’s book, and he and Mama are speechless. It seems that... (full context)
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Meriem shows Harun a copy of Meursault’s book. For her, the story seems very simple—the only difficulty has... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...on Meursault’s book, just like the interlocutor. She waits until Mama has left to show Harun the book, which is small and well-designed. Harun is struck by the murderer’s name written... (full context)
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Meriem leaves Harun with the book. Mama is astonished to know that the details of Musa’s murder have... (full context)
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The next day, Mama has developed hostile feelings towards Meriem and warns Harun not to let her in if she returns. However, he just leaves the house without... (full context)
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Finally, Harun is experiencing all the wonder and astonishment of love that “Mama’s vigilance had always managed... (full context)
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When Harun reads Meursault’s book for the first time, he’s enthralled; he feels both “insulted and revealed... (full context)
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Harun feels that the whole book is “a perfect joke.” Instead of teaching him about Musa,... (full context)
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Knowing that she will become obsessed with it, Harun doesn’t show Mama the book. He also hides his meetings with Meriem. They always spend... (full context)
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Harun always knows their affair will end, but he wants to keep it going as long... (full context)
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One day while Harun is lying under a tree with Meriem, he leans over and kisses her. When he... (full context)
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Harun remarks that the interlocutor is smiling, and admits that actually he made this anecdote up.... (full context)
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After Harun realizes that Meriem has gone for good, he smashes all the dishes in the house... (full context)
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Harun tells the interlocutor that this may be their last meeting and tells him to summon... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Harun asks the interlocutor to forgive him for his age and tendency to ramble. He feels... (full context)
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However, despite all the years Harun has lived, he finds he spends most of his time replaying Musa’s story. He can’t... (full context)
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In fact, Harun has been like a “ghost” among the busy people in his neighborhood. He often feels... (full context)
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Harun spends a lot of time on the balcony of his apartment, where he can look... (full context)
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Just as a priest visited Meursault in his cell, lots of imams try to convince Harun to believe in God and become more religious. He imagines a scene in which he... (full context)
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One day, an imam visits Harun and tries to make him pray; when the man says gently that he will pray... (full context)
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Harun tells the imam that he is confident in his own life and the death that... (full context)
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The interlocutor asks if Harun believes in God, and he laughs. He says that people shouldn’t ask other men about... (full context)
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...but her life seems pointless as she doesn’t say or do anything. On the contrary, Harun knows he talks too much—just like Meursault, another murderer who has gone unpunished. He remarks... (full context)
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The bar is going to close soon, and Harun tells the interlocutor that they need to finish their drinks. It seems like a joke... (full context)
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Harun wonders aloud if his story is “suitable,” but it’s all he can give to the... (full context)