Inexperienced Minds in Albert Camus' The Plague Essay

1931 Words 8 Pages
Inexperienced Minds in The Plague

The town itself, let us admit, is ugly. These are the words of Dr. Bernard Rieux, the narrator of Albert Camus The Plague. His accurate, unexaggerated descriptions of a town’s sufferings, bring the novel to life. The town of Oran becomes afflicted with a plague, and Rieux, the town doctor, watches the town quickly die away. He joins forces with Jean Tarrou, Raymond Rambert, Joseph Grand, and Father Paneloux, hoping to defeat the unbeatable enemy. The quarantined town ultimately defeats the disease, but not before incredible losses are suffered. All of the men learn about themselves and each other, while by battling the plague. The realize that life is more than just themselves and Oran. It is
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Jean Tarrou is a man who wanders into Oran prior to the plague. He becomes a friend of Rieux s and his chronicles of the ordeal appear throughout the novel. He is immediately intrigued by the numerous lifeless rats appearing in the city. Raymon Rambert is a French journalist who unfortunately ends up in Oran at the time of the plague. He longs for his wife in Paris, but is forced to stay in Oran. Joseph Grand is a poor writer in Oran, attempting to write the perfect book. Dr. Richard is a colleague of Rieux s, one whom Rieux consults when the problem originates. After at least 8,000 rats die, the malady begins to move into the townspeople. The first life claimed is that of M. Michel, a concierge. Rieux now begins moving from one bed to the next, desperately trying to save the victims. After great consideration, he finally declares to the public that Oran has contracted a plague. Rieux begins to mentally deal with the plague, and wonders why it chose Oran as its target. Rieux also introduces Cottard, a prisoner who uses Oran to hide from law officials.

Once Rieux declares the plague, he is forced to defend his findings. After Oran is quarantined, the citizens begin to deal with the plague in different ways. Some create new habits and wait for the disease, others run toward hope and believe it will not get them, and still others write letters, hoping they can contact the outside world. One problem affects them all, money.

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