He is no longer one of the crimson-robed elite; his clothes have been stained by Oran's bloody suffering and Paneloux has been humbled. The decision, however, to be valuable has to be Rambert's own. Then, as if the bubonic plague wasn’t enough, it’s turning pneumonic, forcing the Prefect to issue new regulations against passing it from mouth-to-mouth. He has been as steadfast in his struggle to cure as Rieux has been. The outside world seems closer in spite of the dreary Christmas season with its empty shop windows, its deserted streets, and the robot-like citizens. The Plague (SparkNotes Literature Guide) by Albert Camus Making the reading experience fun! Select the sections that are relevant to you. All people have a personal "something" that might seem ridiculous to anyone else, yet it is a kernel of their individuality. After the first month of plague, the church authorities organize a week of prayer. Because he is no longer comfortable with his ready-made store of threats, he begins to question the basis of his faith. The plague's image has changed from that of a whip to that of a teacher. Now, however, his serum is losing its strength and his own physical vigor is wasting. Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. And although the death rate among burial workers is high, the list of applicants is long – at this point many fear hunger more than plague. The Plague is a novel written by Albert Camus, an ultimately bleak story about a terrible illness that swept through an unprepared town. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. . Word Count: 785. One night, after a tiring day, Tarrou opens up to Rieux, telling him his life story: He grew up in an upper-middle class family, his father being a prosecuting attorney. His angry lash at Paneloux, the irritation of doubts about his wife's recovery — all these he diagnoses as danger signs. The number of deaths has less importance than the fact that no longer is the toll mounting. When coffins start running out, the corpses are flung into death pits and covered with layers of quicklime. Major Themes in Albert Camus's The Plague. If the serum is not effective, it is possible that plague will prove to be the victor. On the surface, The Plague is a realistic description of how society reacts to a deadly epidemic: Starting with the authorities’ inevitable denial and followed by hastily convened containment measures, panic buying, shameless profiteering and public discontent, the disease also brings out the very best in people, leading to extraordinary acts of human kindness and solidarity. Some shrewd pub-owners advertise: “The best protection against infection is a bottle of good wine.” Yet the most miserable, it seems, are individuals like the journalist Rambert: He has left behind the woman he loves in Paris, finding himself exiled in a place full of strangers. Learn how the author incorporated them and why. The novel tells of a group of men who don’t even try to make sense of a meaningless disease, but instead establish hygiene standards, isolate and care for the sick, develop a cure and hope for the best. It is a fallacy to see the doctor as a valiant, asexual knight in surgeon's clothing. Camus’ message of responsibility and solidarity struck a chord with readers and made it his first commercial success. 79 likes. But remember this: the Oranians think of themselves as prisoners, encased within their city; here, they are again imprisoned. The only person who seems perfectly at ease – in fact, doing better than ever before – is Cottard. Autumn is mild; a cool breeze replaces the hot shrill whistling of summer and the light is no longer blinding. Tarrou's answer that he is less ambitious is exactly what Rieux said to Paneloux, after the priest had said that his goal was man's salvation. Now the rich can afford the steep prices, the poor cannot. Equations add up; they equilibrate and are based on logic. Grand goes through many variations of that phrase, explains the pros and cons of a particular word and concludes by saying that, if only he could get that one sentence right, the rest would all fall into place. In truth, the estimated number lies somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 – out of a population of then almost 40 million. Created by SparkNotes. Albert Camus was working for the daily newspaper Paris-Soir when the Germans marched on Paris. His throat is clotted with a choking substance; later he looks as if he has been thrashed. Paperback. Rieux conjures up images of grotesquely masked doctors at times of the Black Death in the Middle Ages, of people copulating in the Milanese cemeteries. She will spend some time in a mountain sanatorium to get better. Man must not allow unfathomable suffering to lessen his passion for God. Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Camus was a cautiously optimistic humanist and moralist: He believed that, for all their colossal failings, people are inherently decent – when given a chance. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. Throughout the epidemic he has resisted death as thoroughly and as rapidly as he could save his patients. Despondency naturally begins to give way to envy and protests. In early 1941, he began to immerse himself in the history of plagues to gather material for his next project: The Plague or The Prisoners, as he preferred to name it at first. The narrator reveals several unexpected reactions of his own — unexpected because he is usually reticent about his personal life and unexpected because they are confessions of his feelings of loss. The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. In a subsequent sermon, Paneloux speaks of “we” instead of “you,” and mentions that nothing in the world could ever justify a child’s suffering. They are like the sea in the sense that it is therapy for Rieux to swim; soon he and Tarrou will renew their determination and perseverance while swimming together, in rhythm. So, what to do? The first half of Chapter 19 describes more fully the drugged state of general despondency, and brings us up to date on the principal characters. 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