L’Étranger by Albert Camus

After giving up on reading The Plague in French at the beginning of the pandemic, I’m once again determined to read more in French. In fact, I’m now dedicated to learning three languages: Mandarin, French, and Korean. Outside of work, I try to consume everything in one of these three languages: Mandarin for Youtube/podcasts, French for reading, and Korean for plain old language learning. I guess after almost a year, I’ve finally found my Covid hobby. Hopefully it won’t just be a Covid hobby (and not just a hobby either).

1) “Aujourd’hui, maman est morte.”

We had read parts of L’Étranger in French class, but I had completely forgotten the plot.

2) “Mais d’une part, ce n’est pas de ma faute si on a enterré maman hier au lieu d’aujourd’hui et d’autre part, j’aurais eu mon samedi et mon dimanche de toute façon.

One great benefit, beyond the benefit itself, of unlimited vacation is that I don’t have to force myself to take them on Friday or Monday.

3) “Je me suis appliqué à contenter Raymond parce que je n’avais pas de raison de ne pas le contenter.”

Yes because not no.

4) “Mais selon lui, sa vraie maladie, c’était la vieillesse, et la vieillesse ne se guérit pas.”

The older I get, the more I don’t understand why birthdays are celebrated.

5) “Et c’était comme quatre coups brefs que je frappais sur la porte du malheur.”

I liked this ending to Act I.

6) “Tous les êtres sains avaient plus ou moins souhaité la mort de ceux qu’ils aimaient.”

I had to double check what “souhaiter” meant.

7) “‘C’est que je n’ai jamais grand-chose à dire. Alors je me tais.'” – Meursault

I agree with his philosophy. Better to remain silent and be deemed an idiot, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

8) “Il m’a dit que c’était impossible, que tous les hommes croyaient en Dieu, même ceux qui se détournaient de son visage.”

Tous les hommes?

9) “C’était d’ailleurs une idée de maman, et elle le répétait souvent, qu’on finissait par s’habituer à tout.”

A year ago, it was borderline a faux pas to not go outside for a day. Now, a week passes and it feels normal.

10) “J’étais toujours pris par ce qui allait arriver, par aujourd’hui ou par demain.”

Better to look forward than backward.

Every time I read in French, I’m surprised how much I can understand given how little I know. Yes, this is considered one of the easiest books, but it still feels like an accomplishment. One downside of reading in French is that – due to my aversion to using my laptop on my bed – I can’t really lie down and read if I want to easily look words up on the laptop. In total, I jotted down 111 words and added them to Quizlet. Will I actually study them?

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