Summary. The church service occurs during a torrential downpour and when Rieux uses such words as the "swelling tide of prayers," the "backwash" of invocation, the "overflow" of the congregation, he is building, tongue-in-cheek, image support for a major irony. Here we go. A strange thing has begun happening in Oran. The word connotes a continuance, an evolution. The Oranians are lucky because their suffering is selfishly and limitedly personal. It is a burden to talk to Tarrou. All rights reserved. Grand has, besides general troubles with conjunctions, an additional problem which he explains in detail to Rieux. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Atlantis Plague” by A.G. Riddle. As the chapter ends, Rambert has given up almost all hope for escape. The form has one function: locating his next of kin and, probably most important, determining who will pay funeral and burial costs. Buy Study Guide. Here is evidence of the latest gossip — the epidemic of attempted escapes. To write about the plague is quite a worthwhile task; in fact, for Rambert this seems his only rational course of action. A decision, in an existential sense, is never irrevocable. One cannot utter a but impersonally; a new dimension of the speaker is apparent. It is hard, for example, for him to choose between but and and. Albert Camus' gritty philosophical masterpiece, The Plague, tells of the horror and suffering that accompanied a plague as it swept through 1940s Algeria. And so most of them either run from realizing what the plague involves or give up. It is, however, not the cave of safety that critics often accuse it of being. A small village in Derbyshire called Eyam, 6 miles north of Bakewell, has a story of tragedy and courage that will always be remembered. The events of the novel, the narrator says, take place in an unspecified year in the 1940s in Oran, a French town in Algeria in Northern Africa. The words try, in addition, to jog with the horses' trotting pace. In the novel, as in any other art form — music, painting, poetry — rhythm is necessary; the tempo and the modulation of mood must be in balance before an artist is satisfied. Reasons, per se, without emotional fuses, are seldom as terrifying to people as a phenomenon which seems monstrously superhuman and destructive. And because there is the sense of a philosopher behind them, the sketches remain convincing. Rieux's task becomes more difficult. The sentence is stuffed with superlatives and promises. In bed, however, for a quarter of a century, he is little more than a verbal mainspring of his timepiece of peas. Later, however, he reveals what is probably closer to the truth. Plague offered crucial questions that had to be answered. Like Cottard , he feels the need for random human contact. His chances are I to 3 for coming out of this undertaking alive. In general, there seem to be two ways of coping with the quarantine. 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. The sermon prescribes soul-flailing and prayer, but not practical precautions. It is a sharp focus on the ineffectiveness of his hope and perseverance versus the absurd. * The plague does not abate during the cold spells, and is more and more in the pneumonic form. Could he justify himself? Tarrou was sensitive to such incongruities as the plague's seeming to relax at dawn. As beset with difficulties as he is, he has worked to produce nothing less than the best. He identifies his mortal foe as creation and its natural processes. Plague is no longer an irritant or even a frightening, shadowy menace. Death can easily become the norm, sensitivity an outmoded burden. He is short with Rieux, who doesn't understand the writing project or the weeks spent on one word. The only honest courage was to rebel against the mores of Oran that urged acceptance of a barren marriage as inevitable and final — even good because it had been decided and contracted. Time is killing the Oranians while they imagine that they are "killing" it. The present, the now, is particularly frightening because it is seen against and as a part of a sequence of days and nights of living and dying. You should remember that this is a reversal in policy. It is the 1940s in Oran, a French-occupied Algerian colony. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. They undress and jump into the water. Within, he senses a vague feeling of kinship with Tarrou and so he makes himself speak seriously with this fellow. The priest is probably more at fault for what he failed to do than for what he actually effected. 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 has not always had these attitudes. Grand's stature as a hero is equated with his capacity for commitment and the sustaining of that commitment. It makes the death of the day seem flawlessly beautiful; death in Oran is torturous, ugly, and foul-smelling. Nor does common sense seem to care when taverns boast that spirits are the most effective agents against infection. Tarrou, up to now, has been fairly nondescript, but instead of becoming more familiar as the book progresses, he becomes more notable. This lesson will focus on the summary … Only for the present is he trapped. Summary Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. He could be easily tagged a psychotic if he didn't mutter that "We'll all be nuts before long." Cottard's revelation that he is a blackmailer and a criminal makes little difference to Rambert. Even the buboes begin to diverge from their initial appearance; now they swell and harden, refusing to burst. The defunct iron stove is fired only by memory now; its function is ornamental during the plague's duration. This new variety of plague increases its successful destructiveness by threatening the townspeople with pulmonary innovations. After he leaves Rambert, Dr. Rieux considers the journalist's slur that medicine has hardened him and that he deals only in abstractions. It has a positive, growing quality. Jeanne Grand The divorced wife of the petty official. The bubonic plague that struck Europe in 1665 in London is no doubt one of history's worst tragedies. The town is smug and placid, stiflingly hot, and everyone is bored with the “same feverish yet casual air” (4). There is always scope for insight, growth, and change. There is only a collective destiny, not individual; emotions of fear and deprivation prevail. He must produce a perfect work to be left behind for posterity. Here you should be aware of the parallels between his faith and that of the religious townspeople. More than anyone else in Oran, Dr. Rieux has continued his declaration of war on death and on the plague. In a later chapter, the sea will consecrate this friendship between the two men. But we should remember that the plague is unrespecting. 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. He explains that every fifteen panfuls of peas is his feeding time. Why? The Oranians, you remember, seldom looked at the bay or responded to the natural sea beauty on their city's edge. At the root of Oran's panic is probably the resurgence of fresh deaths. He refers to natural beauty in the midst of Oran's dying world. His attempt to write the perfect book is cerebral, a kind of passionless fantasy. Buy Study Guide. Grand is thorough in his numerical analyses; he is even creative, taking great pains to plan graphs that will be as lucid as possible. But for the doctor, a seduction of oneself with the myth of a life beyond death or a destruction of oneself through suicide or apathy can be only the acts of a coward. Grasp is exactly what he does to the congregation that fills his church. Her phrasing is as ambiguous and as uncommunicative as the doctor's "as usual.". Paneloux concludes his sermon saying that a prayer of love might help matters. Rieux's anxiety about his wife intensifies his exhaustion. Complete summary of Albert Camus' The Plague. The tone is less intense. The plague has sealed the harbor. It is necessary now to have a breather — to relax before the next burst of theatrics. He is caught within a strange city, the probable victim of a hostile and indifferent disease. He is a journalist, trapped here without a loved one and outside his home. As for adjusting — to face a problem does not necessarily mean that one faces it honestly. In addition, Rambert's attempts to escape have a rather interesting quality of setting within this larger dimension of irony; Camus gives them a sporting image. Death and sickness are both concepts and realities; Rieux deals with them in both senses. Rieux notes that the journalist talks "incessantly, as if his nerves were out of hand." This is how it was, he seems to be saying and his tone is that of a man who has survived, but only barely. He honestly admits to occasional periods during which pity dies and he becomes indifferent, but it is during these times that he sleeps and forgets and heals an exhausted mind and body. The laundry was found to be infested with fleas, and the epidemic started. Neither does Rieux believe that callousness is the general rule. Although Tarrou's plan of action is exceptional, Rieux cannot describe its members in such language. A critical analysis seems the proper place to call attention to some of the mechanics of esthetic pleasure in literature. There is additional irony in the chapter's imagery. The plague appears to have started in the parish of St-Giles-in-the-Fields outside of London's walls in 1664. The other important decision in this chapter is made by Paneloux; he agrees to help Rieux and Tarrou. A sense of humor, objectivity, and responsibility are all tested and proven during his illness. The only man in town who seems content is Cottard. A lucid evaluation of the crisis has been achieved, the enemy has been revealed and can now be confronted. He was born into a family, which his mother had passed. And besides the dead, he speaks of the living, especially of their habits — such as the old man waiting for the cats — the habits such people retain lest they lose their sanity. Before too long, thousands of the creatures are making their way to … They float and drift, completely at peace. Both systems — Oran's civic structure and Oran's underground — are ironically built of similar bureaucratic labyrinths and both refuse Rambert's request with the same kinds of Kafkaesque ambiguities. Albert Camus: The Plague - Summary and Commentary from an Existentialist and Humanist Point of View Bubonic plague is a disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Perhaps this enormous natural symbol of death, more than most any other factor, staggers them. The Black Death pandemic resulted in the deaths of up to 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351. There is nothing of the heroic in this. Self-deception, of course, can only be confessed by Rambert. In a parallel to his belief that men have individual value, he realizes that once again evil too has its individuality. This concept of separation is increasingly walling in the city and its prisoners. Truth has a victory. Largely because their pasts are full of remorse. To try to right an unsatisfactory past is impossible for all three men. The Black Death was a devastating global epidemic of bubonic plague that struck Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s. This means that all is well seem as important as knowledge does the meaning of the magistrate., simply, the Church, never erring, once again evil too has individuality. It forthrightly ; instead, the most concise and satisfactory texts for communication flawlessly beautiful ; death in Oran illusion... Is certainly not the only factor to consider this undertaking alive pleasure in.. 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