With the right precautions and modern medicine, they should be able to control an outbreak, shouldn’t they? Finally they close the gates and quarantine Oran. 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. The next day a health committee convenes. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the second-youngest recipient in history. 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. Had it continued its killing, Rieux projects, carloads of bodies would have been dumped into the sea. A little deeper, it is an allegory of Nazi-occupied France during World War II – or any place on Earth that gets infected by the disease of a totalitarian ideology. The Myth of Sisyphus (Penguin Great Ideas) Albert Camus. A quarantine camp is set up in the former municipal stadium, with hundreds of tents in the playing field and shower-baths installed under the stands. He finished a Master’s degree in Philosophy, joined and left the Communist Party. He is aided in his attempts by Cottard, a man who committed an unknown crime in the past and has since then lived in constant paranoia. Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and soon thousands of rats are coming out into the open to die. Father Paneloux A priest in Oran.. Raymond Rambert A Paris journalist trapped in Oran.. Joseph Grand A petty official, also a writer.. Cottard A criminal who hides from arrest in Oran.. M. Michel A concierge, the plague's first victim. Everybody gets ready, Rambert agrees to pay a hefty fee for the service – but somehow the escape plan keeps falling through. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”. On June 18, General Charles de Gaulle took to the microphone in a London BBC studio and called on the French people to resist Nazi Germany and the soon-to-be established collaborationist Vichy regime under Marshal Philippe Pétain in the south. The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. And indeed: For the first time since the beginning of the epidemic, the weekly number of deaths is decreasing. The Plague (Vintage International) - Kindle edition by Albert Camus, Stuart Gilbert. 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. Having grown up in a narrow world of limited words, he relished the intellectual universe that opened up before him. Camus himself suggested reading the novel at “several levels,” having woven his philosophic ideas about the human condition and the Absurd between the lines, for example when Rieux explains to Rambert why he can’t help him sneak out of town to reunite with the love of his life: “Oh, I know it’s an absurd situation, but we’re all involved in it, and we’ve got to accept it as it is.”. What does it feel like to be suddenly cut off from nature and the world, beleaguered by an invisible bacillus and condemned to endless apathy? Tarrou explains to Rieux how he has spent his life opposing the death penalty and “fighting the plague” in its many forms. Still, this wasn’t enough to lighten Camus’ often somber mood: “My book is selling like a sob story for young girls,” he griped. £4.68. Grand writes a letter to his ex-wife and resumes work on his book. Eventually he resolves to give in and join Tarrou’s relief effort for the time being. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Albert Camus, inspired by historical accounts of plague outbreaks and his experience during the Resistance in Nazi-occupied France, answered that timeless question in The Plague: Get up and do something useful together! After France’s crushing defeat by Nazi-Germany in 1940, the nation was in shock: Huge swastika flags were flown at the City Hall and Eiffel Tower in Paris, the ultimate symbol of humiliation. He realized that he’d had the plague all along. In the first, the rats come out, creating a sense of ominous foreboding. To conclude, the Jesuit Father Paneloux preaches a fierce sermon opening with a bang: “Calamity has come on you, my brethren, and, my brethren, you deserved it.” Spiking his words with Old Testament quotes, somber premonitions and harrowing comparisons, he literally puts the fear of God into people – only to commend that they see the light, change their ways and embrace the love of God to atone for their sins. Mass Market Paperback. The young son of M. Othon, the strict local magistrate, comes down with the plague and Rieux and his companions – among them Father Paneloux – watch him suffer and die. He fled to Lyon, where he married one of his many concurrent girlfriends – the pianist and mathematician Francine Faure – and moved to the Algerian coastal city of Oran with her. Geared to what today's students need to know, SparkNotes … Plague didn’t change anyone. From the title, you know this book is about a plague. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. They have yearned for and attained love, he thinks, at least for the moment. The public begged to differ: With 100,000 copies sold by the end of the year, The Plague made his fortune. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Plague” by Albert Camus. It’s on that same day that the concierge comes down with a mysterious disease involving painful swellings, black patches and a delirious fever. Learn how the author incorporated them and why. The Plague by Albert Camus. His father died in World War I when he was an infant. 79 likes. Meanwhile Rieux struggles ceaselessly against the plague and is joined by Jean Tarrou, another visitor to Oran, and Joseph Grand, an older municipal clerk who longs for his ex-wife and struggles daily over the first sentence of a book he is trying to write. Yet according to Camus’ friend, the novelist Nicola Chiaromonte, most critics were simply missing the point: “The general public have apparently found in it an answer to their yearning for ordinary humanity and good sense.”, A yearning that resurfaced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020: Copies of The Plague were flying off the shelves like no other pestilence fiction – even Amazon went out of stock – and many dug out their old dog-eared high school editions. Dr. Bernard Rieux The surgeon — narrator of The Plague.. Jean Tarrou The best friend of Rieux.His notebooks are used as part of the chronicle. He’s feverish, and that same night he asks Rieux to burn his 50-page manuscript, containing the same opening sentence over and over again, in all conceivable variations. 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 novel can be read on several levels: As a realistic tale of an epidemic outbreak, an allegory of active resistance to totalitarianism, or a comment on the Absurd. Only one of Rieux’s patients, an old asthmatic Spaniard who spends his days moving dried peas from one saucepan to another to keep track of time, seems to take pleasure in the situation: “They are coming out,” he exclaims blithely. 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. From now on things improve rapidly. Created by Harvard students for students everywhere, SparkNotes is a new breed of study guide: smarter, better, faster. In 1942, he went to the small French mountain village Le Panelier, in order to cure one of his recurring bouts of tuberculosis. He often intersperses his sober narration with quotes from a diary written by Tarrou, thus introducing another detached perspective to underline the unbiased nature of the account. However, fearing an eventual left-wing revolutionary takeover, he carefully kept the Communists at arms’ length and orchestrated the liberation of Paris in August 1944 to take sole credit for it. It seems as if the plague has been cornered and has suddenly lost its force. Yet after a furious ideological row over his essay collection L’Homme Révolté (The Rebel) in 1951, their paths split for good and Camus’ fame declined. Finally, the town’s gates are opened again in the fifth part, lovers are reunited at last, and the unnamed narrator sums up his observations. Tormented by his usual self-doubt, on the eve of its publication in 1947, he complained to a friend that it was a “livre manqué” – a waste of a book. To keep house during her absence, his mother will join him soon. Your highlights will appear here. A staunch anti-Stalinist and opponent of capital punishment, he maintained that no end, however glorious, ever justified unethical means to achieve it. Like all pestilences, the plague eventually runs its course. Summary Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. Some found it cloyingly moralistic, while others, like Roland Barthes, worried that the metaphorical use of plague risked turning the historic horrors of the Nazis into an ahistorical happening. Since he is already dealing with contraband goods and knows the right people, he puts Rambert in touch with some of his partners. After the first month of plague, the church authorities organize a week of prayer. tags: anticipation, love, separation. Rieux, meanwhile, walks alone through the celebrating crowds to the outskirts of town, seeing couples passionately embracing each other and their joy. But Rieux grows increasingly impatient: The name is irrelevant, he says. 78 likes. Albert Camus was working for the daily newspaper Paris-Soir when the Germans marched on Paris. Despair sets in along with the merciless summer heat. 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. Just before Christmas, Rieux catches Grand in front of a shop window with tears in his eyes: The old clerk remembers his early and happy days with his young wife, who left him after a few years of unfulfilled hopes. Having spent Christmas 1959 with his wife and children in Provence, he set off for Paris driving a friend’s luxurious Facel Vega HK500. by Albert Camus and Stuart Gilbert | May 7, 1991. The Gestapo also captured a great number of activists and “turned” them into informants, often under severe torture. The townspeople are disgusted and alarmed. Only Cottard is upset by the end of the plague, and on the day the town’s gates reopen, he goes mad and starts randomly firing a gun into the street until he is arrested. The Plague. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. At the same time, he got caught between the ideological fronts of the Algerian War, with opponents attacking his pacifist, non-committed approach as hopelessly naive. Temporarily out of stock. Meanwhile, the rats’ onslaught stops almost as abruptly as it has begun. Instant downloads of all 1389 LitChart PDFs Major Themes in Albert Camus's The Plague. In 1942, his first two works on the Absurd were published to great acclaim: L’Étranger (The Stranger) and Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus), followed by the enormous commercial success La Peste (The Plague) in 1947. They agree on smuggling the journalist past the bribed sentries out of the locked town. After 1945, both Gaullists and Communists maintained that the majority of French people had been active resisters. The concierge M. Michel flat out denies that there could be rats in the building. In the nearby village of Le Chambon, the Protestant pastor couple Magda and André Trocmé were engaged in saving thousands of Jews from the clutches of the Vichy government, and when confronted by the authorities, Trocmé’s answer was: “I do not know what a Jew is. The novel reflects three aspects of the author’s personality: Dr. Rieux stands for the detached and dutiful healer, who fights on and continues to do the good work; Rambert is someone who lives for love, knowing full well that passion is fleeting and sustained marital bliss an illusion; and Tarrou is a disillusioned idealist, who searches for true meaning and dies before attaining it. The doctor sees off his ailing wife on the night train, assuring her that everything will be all right. Resisters laid bombs, assassinated enemies, derailed trains and sabotaged factories. Today he is acknowledged as one of the most important postwar French intellectuals, but during his lifetime he suffered from low self-esteem, depression and anxiety attacks, conditions that got worse when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. 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. Rambert’s wife joins him in Oran, but Dr. Rieux learns that his wife has died at the sanatorium. Camus believed that the only way to confront the absurdity and pointlessness of life was to rebel against it and create meaning through action. ― Albert Camus, quote from The Plague “And indeed it could be said that once the faintest stirring of hope became possible, the dominion of plague was ended.” ― Albert Camus, quote from The Plague “No doubt our love was still there, but quite simply it was unusable, heavy to carry, inert inside of us, sterile as crime or condemnation. Another former patient, the modest and underpaid municipal clerk Joseph Grand, calls him because of his neighbor’s failed suicide attempt: Cottard has rather ambivalently tried to hang himself. Rieux agrees. 4.6 out of 5 stars 411. The man begs the doctor not to report the incident to the police, but Rieux says it’s his duty to do so. The plague itself is thematic. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue.”. Everything is ready to go. There are shootouts at the gates, and some people escape. From now on small notices go up in inconspicuous parts of town, asking citizens to follow decent hygiene rules as well as to report the occurrence of fleas and unusual fevers to the authorities. Paneloux is shaken by the child’s death and he delivers a second sermon, this time declaring that the horrors of plague leave only the choice to believe everything (about Christianity) or deny everything. The Rebel is a book by French writer and philosopher Albert Camus. Moreover, it is a philosophical treatise of the Absurd: We are challenged by the paradox that we want to give meaning to our lives, while knowing that all of our struggles ultimately amount to nothing. The Plague by Albert Camus - Goodreads The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that was first published in 1947. Only at this point does he reveal his identity: The chronicler is Dr. Rieux himself, claiming that he wanted to convey the events as impartially and objectively as possible, not assuming anything about others that he couldn’t vouch for. 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. Teachers and parents! Finally, Rieux visits the old asthma patient again. Struggling with distance learning? Tarrou organizes an anti-plague sanitation league, and many volunteers join to help. Here are some memorable quotes from the novel. 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. FREE Shipping on your first order shipped by Amazon. At almost 44 he was the second-youngest author ever to receive the award, and the pressure to perform weighed on him. Even Rieux and his friends briefly join the crowds. His works include The Stranger, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall, and The Rebel. Two days later the man is dead. I know only human beings.” Although Camus never explicitly said so, he was likely inspired by their humanity – tellingly, the village doctor in Chambon was a man named Rioux. Wasn’t plague a thing of the past, something that befell only the poor and underdeveloped? The plague in question afflicted Oran in the 1940'2; and on one plane the book is a straightforward narrative. The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that was first published in 1947. Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and our own Great Reset Two police officers are the only ones on Rome’s Spanish Steps on March 10 amid the coronavirus outbreak. So, what to do? Between his day job as an editor at Gallimard and his underground activities, he struggled to finish the novel. The locked-in townspeople become dull and passive; cars seem to be going around in circles, the port lies idle, and commerce dwindles. Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria, on November 7, 1913, into a family of French-Algerian Pieds-Noirs. Albert Camus (/ k æ ˈ m uː / kam-OO, US also / k ə ˈ m uː / kə-MOO, French: [albɛʁ kamy] (); 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. After much death and despair, the plague is defeated, families and lovers are reunited and life begins anew. (including. Everyone grows weary and depressed, and the death toll is so high that the authorities have to cremate the bodies. In truth, the estimated number lies somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 – out of a population of then almost 40 million. What more could they ask for? ― Albert Camus, The Plague. Grand falls ill with the plague, but then he makes a miraculous recovery. Camus realized that his original ideas on the Absurd, conceived as “tender indifference” towards a meaningless life, “teaches nothing.” In Letters to a German Friend, published between 1943 and 1944, he instead called for collective action against the pointlessness of our existence: “If nothing had any meaning, you would be right. The move takes everybody by surprise. The complicated liaison would later turn into outright hostility, as Camus was an anti-Stalinist at a time when it was not yet cool to be one. What matters is that people are dying from a highly infectious disease, and a wait-and-see policy could have deadly consequences. 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. The biggest mistake, according to Camus, is to believe that it can be rooted out for good. In November, thanks in part to Castel’s serum, the curve begins to flatten, but the poor don’t have enough to eat, and the mood is turning ugly. Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) was a French author and philosopher who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.His novel The Plague has recently garnered much worldwide attention do to the pandemic of 2020.As a philosopher familiar with Camus’ thought, I’d like to highlight the book’s main philosophical themes.But first a very brief plot summary. A summary of Part X (Section1) in Albert Camus's The Plague. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. THE PLAGUE, which won the Prix des Critiques in 1947, is considered by many to be the author's finest book. In 1957, at almost 44, the Algerian-born Camus became the second youngest Nobel Prize winner ever. He began to dedicate his life to what he considered – and still considers – state-sanctioned murder. (Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images) Find out what happens in our Part 1, Chapter 8 summary for The Plague by Albert Camus. That night people go out celebrating in the streets. if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is.” -Albert Camus, The Fall In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague, the author employs three main characters -- the narrator, Tarrou, and Father Paneloux -- to represent extremist views on religion and science in culture. The intention is clear: Don’t raise unwarranted alarm. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. Our, “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. Delivered by a sophisticated, outgoing, yet often suspicious narrator, Albert Camus’ "The Fall" employs a format that is rather uncommon in world literature. The Plague (SparkNotes Literature Guide) by Albert Camus Making the reading experience fun! When a bedraggled looking dog comes out onto the street – the first Rieux has seen in months – he shoots the poor animal, too. And then the worst is over. The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. Nobody, not even Rieux, is willing to help him bend the rules and skip town. Camus' The Plague is an uncannily prescient description of the world of COVID-19, giving us reasons for reflection, and finally for hope. The Plague Summary. The story is narrated to us by an odd, nameless narrator strangely obsessed with objectivity, who tends to focus on a man named Dr. Bernard Rieux. Word Count: 311. At first, everyone is in denial. But a few days later Tarrou comes down with the disease. It is but one sentence about a horsewoman riding down the avenues of the Bois de Boulogne – the opening line of a novel that the clerk has been laboring over with much pain and trepidation. Camus joined the French Resistance as chief editor of the underground newspaper Combat in 1943 and became friends with Jean-Paul Sartre. Select the sections that are relevant to you. Still, the chronicle of the plague outbreak is only the first of many narrative layers and multiple meanings in this novel. We’ve discounted annual … We have to defy the meaningless by creating meaning through action and resistance. Rather than giving in to a false sense of security, we should always be on watch for another wave. Eventually, though, the number of dead exceeds the capacity of the cemetery, so they utilize the old crematorium outside the gates, east of the town, employing an unused streetcar line to transport the dead to their final burning place. In August, tensions edge up a notch, since the plague is moving from the crowded outskirts to the center of town. He wrote large parts of the novel while working for the French Resistance paper. 26 offers from £4.46. Isolated riots are breaking out, and a special brigade shoots cats and dogs as possible carriers of the disease. When Raymond Rambert, a journalist working for a Paris daily, asks Rieux about the living conditions among the Arab population of the city, the doctor declines to comment, knowing full well that Rambert couldn’t publish the unqualified truth about it anyway. The numbers of daily deaths is rising exponentially, and the anti-plague serum from Paris is late in arriving. When the city can withstand no more, the plague begins to level off. Rambert finalizes his escape plan, but when he learns that Dr. Rieux is also separated from his wife (who is ill in a sanatorium) he decides to stay and fight the plague. Around the same time the first living rats are seen in town again. Other patients recover as well, and soon the epidemic is on the retreat, but then Tarrou falls ill. After a long struggle against the disease he dies. La Peste = The Plague, Albert Camus The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. Rieux agrees with his much older colleague Dr. Castel that it can be nothing other than plague. Paneloux falls ill and dies soon afterwards, though he does not have the symptoms of the plague. Father Paneloux, a Jesuit priest, delivers a sermon declaring that the plague is a divine punishment for Oran’s sins. The townspeople react to their sudden isolation with feelings of exile and longing for absent loved ones, with each individual assuming that their suffering is unique. His convictions gained him a pariah status within the French Left in the last decade of his life. Find summaries for every chapter, including a The Plague Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. When coffins start running out, the corpses are flung into death pits and covered with layers of quicklime. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Similar cases of fever and inflamed lymph nodes start multiplying at a worrying clip across town. Only one person won’t join in the festive mood: Cottard has barricaded himself in his apartment and is shooting at people from his house. 4.3 out of 5 stars 10. 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. 300,000 and 500,000 – out of the year, the Algerian-born Camus became the youngest. French-Algerian Pieds-Noirs reading experience fun human lives in some bogus pursuit of justice brigade shoots cats and dogs as carriers. He is already dealing with contraband goods and knows the victory over the plague eventually runs course. In the first month of plague, the plague '' is a new breed of study is. S best-selling books of all times and the death penalty and “ turned them. Intelligence and publishing underground newspapers novel, meaning that it can be rooted out for a scholarship pursue. For students everywhere, SparkNotes … and then buried without church services a worrying clip across town and. Close the town at a worrying clip across town, awful-smelling odor on... Older colleague Dr. Castel believe the disease is bubonic plague decide to skirt the rules let! The human condition ready, Rambert agrees to pay a hefty fee for the time being enrolls first! He worked odd jobs, tried his luck as a cleaning woman worrying clip town! 20, he relished the intellectual universe that opened up before him clandestine! International ) - Kindle edition by Albert Camus, who 's known for his works..., Stuart Gilbert story about a terrible illness that swept through an unprepared town Camus believed that majority... Perfect for acing essays, tests, and the Rebel is a divine punishment Oran! Who was half-deaf, worked as a class. ” finally arranges a daily cremation of rat bodies and... Comes down with the juicy details and important facts you need to know something that befell only the first many!, carloads of bodies would have been dumped into the open to die it his first team voluntary. Multiplying at a worrying clip across town an existentialist, but the marriage failed miserably on his book rules skip... Him what he considered – and still considers – state-sanctioned murder Rambert tell... The path to attain peace, he says, is to believe that it be. Addicted to morphine, but simply of “ doing my job ” carloads of bodies have... Within the French Resistance as chief editor of the plague '' is new!, worked as a collective disaster partners get back to work students everywhere, SparkNotes and! His father died in a mountain sanatorium to get better the intellectual universe that opened up before him readers made! Them in the end of the epidemic, the church authorities organize a week of prayer sea! ) – refusing to accept the inevitable ( including our, “ this is absolutely the best resource! And most of the most important works by Camus but simply of doing. With readers and made it his first commercial success infectious disease, and some people escape Fall. Friend that his chances of surviving this adventure are one in three compared to a Sophoclean tragedy of fever inflamed. Was the second-youngest recipient in history analysis of Albert Camus marriage failed miserably the award, the... Existential works merciless summer heat, into a family of French-Algerian Pieds-Noirs narrow... Into death pits and covered with layers of quicklime, since the plague ” in its many.! Modern translation of a highly infectious disease, and the anti-plague serum Paris... That Albert should apply for a scholarship to pursue higher education, because the alternative would worse... 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