All the way up to this sentence, I judged Meursault, the protagonist of The Stranger (Albert Camus), as mentally detached and emotionally absent; which he is. But when I read this, it became clear to me that in this sentence, Camus wanted to convey that Meursault, who seemingly gave up all hopes for life, was heretofore ambitious and desirable. Why him giving up his studies altered his philosophy of life, Camus does not clarify in this sentence.
There are countless reasons the reader of this novel could come up with. Taking into account the previous events, we can speculate that his mother has a lot to do with it. This may also be why Meursault handles his mother‘s death with dispassion. Meursault’s father can be another cause. After all, we hear nothing about him and we are left to wonder about him. I cannot assure you to a full degree that the reason is to blame for Meursault sudden change in mentality.
The actual fact that Meursault had to give his studies up, despite the reason, might be the blame itself, if this makes any sense to you. Suppose he was forced abruptly to quit his education he worked really hard for during his antecedent life. This sentence leaves me to wonder. Wonder if Meursault would have turned out caring, and loving, and most of all, ambitious for life.
Because then, the people around him, would not have been left heartbroken like Marie, who Meursault does not seem to emotionally care about intensively (or at all), and forgotten, like Meursault’s mother who deserved better attention. Most of all, would Meursault still be a stranger because of his familiar indifference.