The Plague Read-Along Update #4

I’m reading The Plague by Albert Camus as part of a read-along with Bookstooge.

Part V

The outbreak of the plague definitely appears to be slowing down, yet people are hesitant to accept it after living so long under its shadow.  Yet gradually people show hope and there are more escapes than ever as people are terrified of succumbing to the pestilence just as an end is in sight.  M. Othon does catch the plague and dies as does Tarrou, yet Tarrou struggles and fights until the disease takes him in the end.  Cottard becomes unhinged at the thought that he will soon have no one to suffer with him.  He begins a gun fight in town and soon his taken into custody by the police.  And finally Dr. Rieux is revealed as the narrator of the story.  After the plague it is suspected that the people will forget about it and continue to live their lives as before, therefore Rieux wished to write a chronicle of the pestilence in honour of its victims so they will not be forgotten.  The chilling end is not really an end; the plague, we’re told, can live dormant for years, just sleeping and waiting for a new emergence.

St. Roch praying to the Virgin for
and end to the Plague (1780)
Jacques-Louis David
source Wikiart

Thoughts:  This part seemed a little rushed but with the cases of the plague decreasing, perhaps it was a natural wind-up of the outbreak and the story.  Again Camus explores the psychological effect of the town returning to “normal” after a crisis and his psychology is rather heavy-handed, sacrificing story for pet philosophy.  The characters are still rather drab and lifeless, which could have been intentional.  He makes sure he kills the one spark of love throughout the story:  Rambert who had been wild to escape to be reunited with the love of his life, at the end meets her but it’s a rather low and uninspiring reunion; the plague has changed him and snuffed out the flame of his love.

Review to come …..

2 thoughts on “The Plague Read-Along Update #4

  1. Just wanted to tell you I bought The Plague yesterday! I nearly did ages ago but didn't, then you started this and I was so annoyed with myself! That said, I'll probably wait awhile before I get into it, but I'm happy I finally got it 🙂

  2. Great, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it when I do get around to reading it. I'm a little conflicted with the read. Camus' ideas are interesting but they sort of dead-end. I think I need to read some of his essays to get more of a sense of him. I did discover that I certainly wouldn't want to be him.

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