He tells his mother that the day has been "as usual." Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Plague” by Albert Camus. When the designation is officially announced the news seems good, for it means that although death, for awhile, is the victor, at least ignorance has been defeated. But neither does it attack it forthrightly; instead, the Church injects reason into the plague's power. Tarrou's notebooks are once again inserted to buttress Rieux's narrative. Rieux is terribly exhausted to try and explain himself in terms of his own values and metaphysics. Summary Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. There is further irony in Father Paneloux's being an expert in deciphering ancient inscriptions. Remembering his wife, Paris, and evening walks, Rambert visits the railway station. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Of particular interest is how the plague binds men together and then, ironically, cuts them apart and rebinds each man within himself. By the end of Part 11, then, all of the principal characters — Rieux, Tarrou, Rambert, Grand, and Paneloux — have joined to battle together as plague fighters. The earlier chapter dealt with Rambert's futile but legal attempts to leave Oran; this chapter is a record of his vain trys to illegally escape. They come for help and for blessing, but find themselves intimidated, browbeaten, and charged with criminal acts; they receive spiritual death, a parallel to the death of the rats. Oran's enemy is not a textbook villain. He then visits Cottard, who acts strangely paranoid about people “taking an interest in him,” and asks the doctor if … Plague, the disease, was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Chapter 17 concerns his illegal attempts. In a parallel to his belief that men have individual value, he realizes that once again evil too has its individuality. To try to right an unsatisfactory past is impossible for all three men. He seizes their minds and grips until they are united in their shame. It is easy to imagine a man who now pits himself against the absurdities of the universe as once accepting the challenge that medicine offered. Summary. There is only a collective destiny, not individual; emotions of fear and deprivation prevail. It was likely terrifying, yet what takes shape within people during a harrowing Sunday sermon has partially dissolved even by Monday morning. His name is on paper; he is calling attention to himself. Truth has a victory. Truth comes only after unbiased thought, repeated analyses, and admitted mistakes. We do not feel horror when the plague is proclaimed; the horror of the disease has already saturated us. Buy Study Guide. Then, when this energy was depleted, it was replaced by a lethargic drift, and hope of escape has been replaced by a hope of the plague's waning. And joins two ideas innocuously; but, however, follows a statement, qualifying it with a second statement. To initially commit oneself is, simply, the most difficult trial. The first-person narrator is unnamed but mostly follows Dr. Bernard Rieux.Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and soon thousands of rats are coming out into the open to die. Only for the present is he trapped. I will be giving a summary that does not spoil the ending. But, for Cottard, during their conversation eagerness begins to build steadily. His big hands grasp the pulpit; the connotation is exact. The next step is make-believe: waiting for the renewal of train services, the jingle of the phone, of the doorbell. At one time Rambert's collaborators insist on meeting in a hospital section of Oran, a section full of wailing relatives, clotted together in hopeful masses, crying for news from within. A strange thing has begun happening in Oran. Like the cathedral, the station affords relief from the searing midday sun of Oran. Few Oranians, it would appear, do. Although Tarrou's plan of action is exceptional, Rieux cannot describe its members in such language. But alarming inquisitions — emotionally colored, misunderstood, and ignorantly interpreted — can be chaotic to a people panicking in the terror of a disaster. Madame Rieux The mother of Dr. Rieux. All rights reserved. And there is even an added risk when one uses a but. The sermon prescribes soul-flailing and prayer, but not practical precautions. He does not say that "we" — if he is a brother to his brethren — have deserved the plague; he steps outside his judgment. There is also a more subtle factor, but one which is important in Rambert's decision. This is Christian and also existential. There is nothing of genius in Grand, but because he is a human being, we should see that he does possess something admirable. * The plague does not abate during the cold spells, and is more and more in the pneumonic form. Tarrou flings the facts in Rambert's face after Rambert has been particularly ugly and maudlin. Here was revolt. Explore the facts of the plague, the … He has moved from the fringes of Oran's social structure into one of its major supports by becoming a part of a common solid unit combating a common enemy. They seem like children blaming their mother because rain has begun to fall. Again we read of the old Spaniard counting his peas, imagining that he has accomplished a twentieth-century feat by abolishing clocks from his house. The plague has sealed the harbor. He was born into a family, which his mother had passed. There are two possible reasons: first, Rieux has doctored him, shown kindness, and offered to protect him; second, Rieux is a doctor and can function meaningfully only when people are sick or dying. Rieux therefore does not have to be encyclopedic. He wants Rieux to give him a certificate of release. To communicate like this is to be seemingly ambiguous, but both men have learned now that the other is aware of man as a being alone in an indifferent world. Neither does Rieux believe that callousness is the general rule. Plague is no longer an irritant or even a frightening, shadowy menace. And is a simple joiner, whereas but can imply a stand on an issue. The novel is set in the 1940s in the Algerian city of Oran. Man is his own savior and fashions his own values in terms of intelligence, persistent courage, and a belief in the absolute value of the human individual. Before the congregation enters the church, they undergo a baptism of soaking rain. Buy Study Guide. He has talent and training for reporting and here is a subject for him. For the remainder of Chapter 10, Rieux leaves his commentary to record three conversations: one with Cottard, one with Grand, and one with Rambert, the journalist. Absurd, perhaps, but also admirable. Jacques Othon A young victim of the plague, son of the police magistrate. In the first sentence, Rieux means that the word truth be understood conversely. As beset with difficulties as he is, he has worked to produce nothing less than the best. Rats are emerging into the streets, where they move awkwardly in a sort of dance, then bleed profusely and die. There is only one word to describe such irony: absurd. He explains that Cottard has always lived in a state of fear, as he distrusts everyone as a possible police informant, … His goal was to return to the woman he loved. Tarrou doesn't comment, yet the implication is there. He confesses for the first time the circumstances and the consequences of his failed marriage. After he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive some of Dr. Castel's plague serum. It makes the death of the day seem flawlessly beautiful; death in Oran is torturous, ugly, and foul-smelling. You should remember that this is a reversal in policy. Rambert is a journalist and, however valid and heartbreaking his discovery that he has a potential for human warmth and love, nothing can alter the black-bordered present. Grand is, in his small but meaningful role, more human than the radio announcers who assuringly maintain that the world Out There suffers with Oran. Usual involves agonizing dying, shrieking relatives, and an ineffectual and insufficient serum. To write about the plague is quite a worthwhile task; in fact, for Rambert this seems his only rational course of action. Rieux sees Grand as having crossed a line of indifference and, even with only his little goodness of heart, as having adhered to the human condition. The Plague Summary. Rambert believes that perseverance can finally, literally, pay off. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of a narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran.The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. All these activities are their answers for ways of living under a sentence of death. In this scene Grand's character loses much of its previous vagueness. Grand continues that he has always wanted to write and justify himself, but he sees his failure to find the words as a flaw in his will power and in his vocabulary. Rieux is the narrator and he does not comment. Previous But for Rambert it is as evocative as a holy statue. Grand has, besides general troubles with conjunctions, an additional problem which he explains in detail to Rieux. The Oranians are lucky because their suffering is selfishly and limitedly personal. Self-deception, of course, can only be confessed by Rambert. For the present we know very little about Cottard, but should be aware of his increasing uniqueness. This will be his life's labor and, even though it may seem impossible to us, at least he has not compromised. He is a journalist, trapped here without a loved one and outside his home. Cottard meets Rieux in the morning, two days after the gates have been closed. Because this first chapter of Part II is a jumble of summary, perhaps it is best to begin considering Oran's new environment and the adjustment of the townspeople toward it. Dr. Castel An elderly doctor who perfects a new plague serum. The sentence is stuffed with superlatives and promises. 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