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Not that these men lack principles. They have their code of morality, which is very well defined. You 'don't let your mother down'. You see to it that your wife is respected in the street. You show consideration to pregnant women. You don't attack an enemy two to one, because 'that's dirty'. If anyone fails to observe these elementary rules, 'He's not a man' and that's all there is to it. This seems to mejust and strong. 39 But even if Celeste could find the words to express the importance of this rather macho ideal, the implication of the second part of L'Etranger is that he would not be understood.
Even when, as a result of his involvement with his neighbour, Raymond Sintes, he finds himself standing on a beach facing a group of Arabs who are threatening them with a knife, he never comments on the danger. But he does note that the toes of the Arab on the left are set very far apart. Raymond is said to be a pimp, and although this accusation is never proved, a certain amount of what happens in the novel suggests it is true. He suspects one of his girls, an Arab woman, of cheating him over money, and wants to punish her.
From the moment that the movement of revolt takes place, this tragedy becomes aware of its collective nature. It is an adventure in which everybody is involved. The first step forward for a mind possessed with the idea of the strangeness of the world [Ie premier progres d'un esprit saisi d'etrangete] lies in the recognition that it shares this strangeness with all other men and that human reality, as a whole, suffers from this distance from itself and from the world. 61 3 Evil, Allegory and Revolt There are several ways in which La Peste carries on the themes and atmosphere of L'Etranger.