What drives Meursault to kill the Arab? This murder seems completely irrational and unjustifiable. While Meursault's detached attitude and lack of emotion sets him apart from society, he never appeared insensitive enough to kill someone. Maybe it was for self defense, but he admits himself that "all I had to do was turn around and that would be the end of it". Once Meursault shoots the Arab once why does he precede to shoot his victim four more times?
Meursault seems to focus on external senses rather than emotional ones. " I could feel my forehead swelling under the sun"(37), " It was pleasant; the coffee had warmed me" (9), "the summer night air flowing over our brown bodies felt good"(35), " my mouth was stinging with the salty bitterness"(34). Often times when Meursault is feeling overheated he acts on that sensation and goes for a swim. Rather then acting on his love for Marie he acts on his lust. When told it was lunch time he " got up right away because he was hungry"(51). In all these instances Meursault responds almost instinctively. This may be the reason he killed the Arab. " I was thinking of the cool spring behind the rock. I wanted to hear the murmur of its water again, to escape the sun... and rest gain at last" (57), This thought makes it seem like Meursault would do anything to avoid this intense heat. Since Meusault is caught up in this moment he may associate the Arab with the pain he is feeling from the sun. This could have lead him to violently kill the Arab so he could escape the heat.