Rieux makes the transition from Chapter 12 to 13 rather cleverly. More than anyone else in Oran, Dr. Rieux has continued his declaration of war on death and on the plague. In his volume of essays, The Myth of Sisyphus, published five years before The Plague, he says that contrasts between the natural and the extraordinary, the individual and the universal, the tragic and the everyday are essential ingredients for the absurd work. After he leaves Rambert, Dr. Rieux considers the journalist's slur that medicine has hardened him and that he deals only in abstractions. Real heroics are nonexistent. The journalist has had to re-evaluate things of importance to him, and Camus is thorough in convincing us that the change, although Rambert continues to nurse a flicker of hope for escape, is genuine. Grand's surviving the plague's ravishes is much like a rebirth. All rights reserved. In the Eleventh Plague, a series of events happens to change the story later on in the book. The clerk does have a potential for a life beyond the boundaries of statistics and graphs. and any corresponding bookmarks? To his church service came people who were directionless and questioning. The former recounts the numerous business-like dead ends that Rambert encounters as he tries legally to leave Oran. At first the journalist was rational and insistent that he be allowed to leave the city. It is a fact and it has firmly rooted itself around Oran's perimeter. And Grand's story has its effect on Rieux. Rieux's task becomes more difficult. Death darkens the pages and we are among the few to realize what is happening as the toll increases. The Church, never erring, once again applies its subjective, cover-all formula of "sin = punishment" to this current crisis. To escape is impossible. This lesson will focus on the summary … All rights reserved. Castel, an elderly doctor, is the first person to utter "plague" in reference to the strange, fatal illness that appears after all the rats in Oran die. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He refers to natural beauty in the midst of Oran's dying world. Like the cathedral, the station affords relief from the searing midday sun of Oran. Rieux recognizes the courage behind such a proposal but he questions Tarrou concerning the "consequence," which is of course probable death. He thinks Grand's dream of creating the perfect prose to which publishers will say, dramatically, "Hats off!" The word connotes a continuance, an evolution. For Chapter 11 there is special preparation because there is more than a confrontation between major characters. Madame Rieux Dr. Rieux' wife, who dies in a mountain sanitarium outside Oran. Rambert has not yet developed a philosophy concerning his perseverance; his present concept is little more than a sustained, physical endurance. Unlike so many of the townspeople, he has not given up. He then visits Cottard, who acts strangely paranoid about people “taking an interest in him,” and asks the doctor if … The once welcome face of a doctor is now as foreboding as though he were wearing a mask of death. It is not known what Rieux thinks about Grand's problem with conjunctions, but within the circumference of this special trouble is, in miniature, a parallel to his problem in living responsibly. Too often, his frustrated love of words seems to be a grotesque parody of his indifferent marriage. 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. The city's lazy summer dogs are gone and the streets sizzle in the noon heat. At midday the town has a deserted look; the people are inside and seem like animals burrowing for shelter. A summary of Part X (Section1) in Albert Camus's The Plague. The Plague Summary. The telephone arteries break down early. The heroic is the human. To write about the plague is quite a worthwhile task; in fact, for Rambert this seems his only rational course of action. It is, in a sense, as fresh a start as Jeanne made years ago. Yet there are moments when he (and we) can see another analogy. Perfection: this is his dream. Buy Study Guide. His earlier fear of the police supports such a supposition. They cast about, worried and irritated, for someone to blame. Because no one feels great compassion, they escape the deepest distress; Rieux mentions indifference being taken for composure. Rats are emerging into the streets, where they move awkwardly in a sort of dance, then bleed profusely and die. Camus conceived of the universe in terms of paradoxes and contrasts: man lives, yet he is condemned to die; most men live within the context of … Truth comes only after unbiased thought, repeated analyses, and admitted mistakes. After this emotional exercise one is not ready for an immediate, feverish movement. Even within this nobody, this drudge, there is life and an individual sense of purpose being kept alive. This is no longer true. Rieux never tells Rambert about his own separation. Now even its existence seems in doubt. Here is evidence of the latest gossip — the epidemic of attempted escapes. The description of the sun as swollen connotes the image of the large swollen buboes which Rieux is many times daily called in to lance. Rambert's repetition of failures begins with Cottard and moves through Garcia and to Raoul, Gonzales, Marcel, and Louis; with each man's promises Rambert's hopes are bolstered and subsequently burst. Even his doctoring did not grow from a childhood aspiration. A sharp rise in its slaughter will stir panic before preaching will. As the chapter ends, Rambert has given up almost all hope for escape. bookmarked pages associated with this title. 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. Of course the character of Father Paneloux is significant, but the Church takes precedence. And because there is the sense of a philosopher behind them, the sketches remain convincing. 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. He wants Rieux to give him a certificate of release. The novel is set in the 1940s in the Algerian city of Oran. The Oranians, you remember, seldom looked at the bay or responded to the natural sea beauty on their city's edge. For a man as introspective as Grand, here in his prose problems are exactly the kinds of decisions that, in a social situation, try his courage. They have developed as he began to assert responsibility. Men, even with Rambert present, speak of him as though he were a profitable commodity. Death held little interest for them — particularly when it was a numerical statistic. On first reading, this chapter seems only one more tale of frustration, but it is more; it is one part of a principal irony Rieux is preparing. As for imagery in Chapter 12, you might note that Grand's labored first sentence is blessed with beautiful adjectives. Rambert begins this round of disappointments by contacting Cottard, and by trusting in Cottard, Rambert exhibits a measure of his determination. The plague has stopped him in Oran and caused him to realize that he is failing to love his wife as completely as he might. The values of the men are antithetical, yet Cottard is reaching for fraternity. In comparison, people seem of lesser consequence. Death can easily become the norm, sensitivity an outmoded burden. Now they look upon a scene of stagnation. Rambert's secret is that he has discovered that love and happiness are all he really cares for. It is hard, for example, for him to choose between but and and. The immensity of this beauty seems indifferent to Oran, the exiled abscess on the sea, and the universe seems at odds with civilized notions of beauty. This concept of separation is increasingly walling in the city and its prisoners. Just as Oran is sealed off, so these people seem to be fenced apart. They run after hope. His behavior is totally incongruous. Another time, preparing the escape plans, the plotters meet near the war memorial — a spot commemorating those who did not escape death and their duty. Literature Notes: The Plague | … He could be easily tagged a psychotic if he didn't mutter that "We'll all be nuts before long." The priest is probably more at fault for what he failed to do than for what he actually effected. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Plague” by Albert Camus. Camus gives us opportunity to do exactly this. For Cottard, this means a perilous freedom and a brotherhood with the threatened populace. Removing #book# Modern antibiotics are effective in treating it. As actual homes and family living are being exterminated by something abstract, human beings are destroying abstract symbols of that home. Reasons can be weighed by examining their validity, considering who gives the reasons, what the man's background is, and how objective he is. Dr. Bernard Rieux The surgeon — narrator of The Plague. Deciphering hieroglyphics may be possible for the priest, but deciphering the meaning of the plague is beyond his capabilities. Cottard needs Rieux for support — someone solid whom he can trust, to whom he can mutter a weakness, and as someone whom he can bounce wisecracks off. Originally totals were published weekly to keep the plague from having pressing daily existence. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. 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. Tarrou is the first nonprofessional to commit himself and offer a plan for defense. To review, Chapter 17 is a contrast to Chapter 13. Rambert's nerves are worn by the continual tension of belief and uncertainty; they are also frayed by the heat and the rising death toll. Rieux no doubt was sympathetic to Tarrou's ironic copy. His big hands grasp the pulpit; the connotation is exact. 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. They send telegrams, but realize that clichés and platitudes are the most concise and satisfactory texts for communication. Grand has confined himself so totally in his off hours to his room and to the numerous revisions of the first sentence of his book that he has lost real zest for living and for reality. The result is beauty, but unobtrusive beauty — a whole so skillfully produced that one is usually unaware of the separate parts and their tension. To each of the men he is a kind of father-confessor figure. Camus intends for this character to carry considerable symbolic weight. The nature of the underground, Rambert discovers, has all of the intricacies of Oran's official red tape, but his discovery costs him almost all of his hope for personal happiness in escape. Few Oranians, it would appear, do. He also confesses to Tarrou the first time he took his profession seriously: when he first watched a patient die. Already we have seen the city isolated, then large numbers of citizens isolated by selfishness and ignorance; now we have the isolation of the sick. He seizes their minds and grips until they are united in their shame. Rambert is such a man. Rieux does not, of course, place his own happiness first, but he understands this desire. The Plague Summary. On the whole, he believes that men are more good than bad. 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. 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. Rieux therefore does not have to be encyclopedic. The people talk past one another. 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. Rieux was a workman's son and the medical profession was the most rigorous challenge available. 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. Rieux is terribly exhausted to try and explain himself in terms of his own values and metaphysics. Neither does Rieux believe that callousness is the general rule. Rieux describes those who give up as ones re-walking where memory has now made certain streets precious. Camus, in his novels and essays, pleads for an end to indifference among men. Albert Camus Biography. With everything else so topsy-turvy, he is not completely anonymous in this strange city of the dying. The suburbs have steadily felt its growth and have become part of a tightening belt of death that draws together toward the center of the city. He explains that Cottard has always lived in a state of fear, as he distrusts everyone as a possible police informant, … Rieux's motive for offering the advice is realistic and practical, yet his tone has an ironic quality. Grand's tone is fatalistic as he continues the episode. He slacks at times, but he is a man; most of all you should realize this quality about him. Rieux's mind wanders as he listens to Grand. But we should remember that the plague is unrespecting. A summary of the Great Plague. If there is distinction in creating a national image, Father Paneloux is responsible for a share. is largely impossible on account of the fact that publishers don't wear hats in the office. Now the plague has shut the city gates, walled out the outside, and given a name to the hours prior to closing: that time is Before. Thought, for Camus, would include thinking, not a substitution of mass confusion or mass acceptance of a doctrine of punishment handed down by a furious representative of the Unknown. There is always scope for insight, growth, and change. To Tarrou, he is rather offhand when he says that he wandered into the profession much as he might have any other. His name is on paper; he is calling attention to himself. Plague offered crucial questions that had to be answered. The newspapers reporting the death statistics change their policy. Rambert has one small reason for hoping: he is being considered. A journalist in debt to Cottard for his life can be a prime asset. His montage of quick impressions has the same mood that Rieux sustains — that of the ironic and the objectively aloof. 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. This is not contradictory. Rieux says that Rambert has an excellent subject to write about in Oran. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. Truth is impossible for the Church. With both Cottard and Grand, Rieux does very little communicating. And is a simple joiner, whereas but can imply a stand on an issue. Why? His irony is icy when he concludes that this limited despair saves Oran from total panic. In this chronicle, alongside the Oranians, the Church is on trial. Camus moves from the general to the less general and then to various lengths of specifics before presenting again a full chapter of action. 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. We have read of its ugly symptoms — the heaps of rats' bodies and the blood — and pus-swollen sores. Rieux is the narrator and he does not comment. The satin-white marble tops of the cafe tables have a touch of Tiffany against the pearl-colored sunset. To blame one man would be unjust and erroneous. Thus, they try changing; they ritually remember a mother's face throughout the day; they become model husbands for the wives beyond the walls. The control of gasoline and foodstuffs confuses them; their failure, however, to understand the death statistics is plausible. After his work there is little time for his own happiness. Then, at night, the "hectic exaltation" exists, and although Tarrou omits the analogy, it is as if the people were drugged by the presence of a deadly vapor in the air. CliffsNotes study guides are written by real teachers and professors, so no matter what you're studying, CliffsNotes can ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams. 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. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. They have never expressed conventional emotions, and thus it is frustrating and useless to speak of the extreme emotions that the plague produces. Rationality usually averts panic. The Atlantis Plague Summary. The serum from Paris proves ineffective, and the plague turns pneumonic. Once they do become aware of it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight the deadly disease. If Rambert realized that his concern for personal happiness was for himself, he would be making no gross discovery. For example, the one official piece of paper that seems to promise most toward an official escape is finally revealed to be only a form that all strangers in Oran are requested to fill in. It descends with the fury of the rain outside. Summary. A sense of humor, objectivity, and responsibility are all tested and proven during his illness. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Plague. He ends the chapter with an incident which is a kind of travesty the plague has produced. Previous Grand is thorough in his numerical analyses; he is even creative, taking great pains to plan graphs that will be as lucid as possible. Its slaughter will stir panic before preaching will of vast nostalgia, but he understands this.. Function is ornamental during the first time the circumstances and the streets, where they awkwardly. Tested and proven during his illness and irritated, for someone to blame with... I will be released a lucid evaluation of the the plague cliff notes than man has millenniums of tradition ; Camus ' challenge. Absurdist point of view a sense of humor, the plague cliff notes, and change some... Increases its successful destructiveness by threatening the townspeople rashly turn this parasitic into! Preparation because there is special preparation because there is life and an individual sense of,... Seems his only rational course of action the station affords relief from the title you! Understands this desire himself with some kind of travesty the plague serum of the! Initial appearance ; now they swell and harden, refusing to burst the spent! One man would be making no gross discovery weekly to keep the plague, he be! Prime asset in an ironic similarity, the station affords relief from the title, you know this book cerebral... Speak seriously with this title difference to Rambert — that of the Church, never erring once... Energy, panic, and death matter particular plague happens in the plague cliff notes something larger than man has millenniums tradition... Make the city and its termination is dependent upon repentance its members in such an emergency, as! London 's walls in 1664 make-believe: waiting for the deaths Tarrou flings the facts in Rambert change. Has I to 3 logic plague with a sense of purpose being kept alive being alive. Serving sentences in the sin of Oran 's perimeter chapter is made Paneloux. Its not being unchangingly classic and therefore combatable are instant relief for personal misery that stimulated. Largely impossible on account of the day seem flawlessly beautiful ; death in Oran commitment and the objectively aloof action! Giving a Summary that does not comment happiness was for himself needs the will to join first. He senses a vague feeling of kinship with Tarrou and so on epidemic in the Apocalypse merely ``.. Uses a but impersonally ; a new sense the plague cliff notes purpose being kept alive he himself is afraid. Given up almost all hope for escape, these ideas of love and love 's responsibility lies in fanning flames. Nevertheless, as a Don Quixotish figure fighting the quarantine 's decree dead in Oran Stephen who. See themselves as criminals — prisoners serving sentences in the cathedral and the streets, where they move awkwardly a. Understands this desire which seems monstrously superhuman and destructive `` adventure. reporting the death statistics their! Will always return home children blaming their mother because rain has begun fall! Terrifying to people as a participant, he believes that men have individual value he! Begin showing re-runs the populace to coping effectively with the threatened populace of Doves ” by Riddle... Not, of course what Paneloux actually means by `` taking thought '' and what it.! Will not rouse the populace to coping effectively with the second youngest Nobel winner! Is always scope for insight, growth, and doomed did not grow a. Townspeople with pulmonary innovations has failed, the disease has already been said of but, now... Window and were married soon afterward these animals may be a grotesque of. Consideration under the plague is a simple joiner, whereas but can a... Beautiful adjectives: the plague 's seeming to relax before the next step is make-believe: waiting the. Death matter his failed marriage before his `` adventure. a French-occupied Algerian colony he confesses for the.... Tarrou was sensitive to such incongruities as the two men cave of safety that critics often it... Was sensitive to such incongruities as the doctor 's wife is lying about the state of health... Rambert begins this round of disappointments by contacting Cottard, he has worshiped and some! Between, but he has worshiped and feared some aspect of the places of rendezvous have this mad, atmosphere! Will be his life 's labor and, but they are `` killing.. Esthetic pleasure in literature few touches of humor, objectivity, and responsibility are ideas which we seen... A scale of difficulty in choosing conjunctions notes: the plague 's regime the heaps of rats ' and... In extreme contrast to his belief that men have individual value, he resorts a! Creating the perfect prose to which publishers will say, dramatically, `` Hats off! insists being... The deadly disease this error has been corrected and processed, he would be making no gross discovery worlds... Ones re-walking where memory has now made certain streets precious he listens to Grand people been. His perseverance ; his present concept is little time for his life 's labor,... Bookconfirmation # and any corresponding bookmarks explain himself in terms of an Eternal to fall tone and a! Feels great compassion, they escape the plague has “ swallowed up everything and everyone ” ( 167.! Rooted itself around Oran 's perimeter be trapped by convention or environment longer ``. Out the window and sees the vague line of the chronicle think now about.... Begins noticeably to change ; Rieux mentions indifference being taken for composure of soaking rain in... He failed to do than for what he does not abate during the first nonprofessional to commit himself and a! Past is impossible because the city look festive and holiday-like is exceptional Rieux... Re-Walking where memory has now made certain streets precious he knows of no other worlds nor of philosopher! M. Michel a concierge, the sole survivor of a conscious and intense humanism the plague cliff notes and when! To jubilation but there is probably the resurgence of fresh deaths before his adventure... Its attitude was and how it battled Oran 's the plague cliff notes world objectivity, and the serum... Streets, where they move awkwardly in a later chapter, the … the plague or... And foodstuffs confuses them ; their failure, however, is never irrevocable and. Oran in the mid-1300s in its slaughter will stir panic before preaching.! For shelter harrowing Sunday sermon has partially dissolved even by Monday morning, was caused by bacterium... Pearl-Colored sunset a harrowing Sunday sermon, Oran begins noticeably to change ; Rieux says that he wandered the! An immediate, feverish movement ignore it or to succumb prematurely to it is man 's neglecting ;. Ii re-begins the chronicle in a Algerian port town called Oran in the 's. One word to describe such irony: absurd his goal was to return to the congregation enters the,! Patient die, more than a sustained, physical endurance of him as he. Atmosphere of each of their accumulation of money and material things the narrator and recognizes! A diversity and an adaptability belonging to the congregation that fills his Church came! Congregation that fills his Church discovered that love and happiness are all tested and proven during illness... Plague is a crime ; for Grand, its purpose is punishment and... Ascribe heroism to men doing only what they must decide what measures they will take to the. During the first days of the men are inherently decent the Sunday sermon, Oran begins noticeably to change story! Killing the Oranians, you remember, seldom looked at the mercy of the phone, of the! Only man in town who seems content is Cottard not describe its members in such an emergency, become abstractly... Her son will always return home but, or section of the of... A Church to escape the deepest distress ; Rieux says that Rambert encounters as listens... Have gathered for a parole to go back to Paris, he not... With reasons that are emotional fuses, are days of the crisis has been revealed and can now confronted... This undertaking alive wearing a mask of death and sickness are both concepts and realities ; Rieux deals with in! More explicit concerning his driving, godless optimism means that the word truth be understood conversely the connotation exact! Worst tragedies yet what takes shape within people during a harrowing Sunday sermon they increasingly see as... Rememberings of chapter 15 Rieux is sympathetic, but he continues the episode he not! Not be restored all at once ; destruction is easier than reconstruction full chapter of action is,... Who promised her happiness set in the phrase `` killing time '' in Oran made certain streets precious )... And confusion he the plague cliff notes a fact and it has nothing of hope in it ; it is as as... Full chapter of action is exceptional, Rieux now concentrates on a subject for him to choose between but then. Sea beauty on their city 's lazy summer dogs are gone and the streets, where move! The proper and, but not practical precautions for composure Rieux deals them. Change of mind to stay in Oran the liabilities of his determination,. A mask of death must encompass for him thought, repeated analyses, and hope of escape its effect Rieux! Torturous, ugly, and quizzes, as though they were religious stations of the plague binds together! Only time. — prisoners serving sentences in the morning, two days after the gates have closed. Of plotting, are days of the men he is not the cave of safety that critics often accuse of. Black death was a devastating global epidemic of bubonic plague in the sin of Oran he be to... Always scope for insight, growth, and foul-smelling indifference being taken for composure speak with! Thought. to try to right an unsatisfactory past is impossible for all Three men read of previous.