Salamano as a Character
A neighbor is one who is living or located close to another, but in a hidden manner, Salamano is different from that as he helps Meursault to learn from him and to understand life in a different way. In “The Stranger,” by Albert Camus, Salamano is an elderly man who lives with his dog, which is also old; Salamano’s interesting relationship with his dog and his actions in certain situations shed light on motifs in the story. Salamano, as a symbol of death and old age, along with his relationship with his dog contrasts with Meursault’s relationships leading up to his realization of his existentialist mindset and beliefs of the lack of meaning in the world.
Initially, it appears that Salamano and his dog are inseparable. In every scene that either of them appears in, the other one always follows suit accompanying the other. Despite how close they are, Salamano violently abuses and physically beats his dog. He even goes to the point of telling his neighbors, like Meursault, of his distaste for the dog and how he almost wishes that he did not have the dog. In his narration, Meursault mentions that speaking about Salamano, “He was with his dog. The two of them have been inseparable for eight years.” From this, we see that without exaggeration, everytime that Meursault saw Salamano, he was accompanied by his dog. This demonstrates that even though there appears to be extreme hatred and distaste in the relationship between Salamano and his dog, they have an unspoken relationship where they are always in each other's presence. It gets to the point where, “After living together for so long, the two of them alone in one tiny room, they’ve ended up looking like each other” (Camus 26). The relationship between Salamano and his dog has been rooted from an extended period of time together. Either because Meursault always sees them together or because they have both grown old together and have ailments similar to that of older people, he categorizes them as the same. Nonetheless, it is justified to conclude that Salamano and his dog have built a very strong bond despite their abusive relationship, due to the fact that they are always in the presence of one another.
Perhaps the two are so close because of the fact that Salamano replaced his family with the dog. After speaking with Salamano, Meursault recalls ,“When she died he had been very lonely. So he asked a shop buddy for a dog and he’d gotten this one very young” (Camus 44). This goes along with Meursault’s theory that man can get used to anything, like himself in the prison. In a way, just like the relationship with his wife, who Salamano mentioned he did not care for, he filled a void with the dog. Similarly, he treated the dog almost exactly how he treated his wife and children, in an abusive manner. There is also a sense of lack of care for those close to him which relates to that of the relationship with Meursault and his mother. It appears that both Salamano and Meursault do...