Quots From The Plague
"Good humored, always
ready with a smile, he seemed an addict of all normal pleasures without
being their slave."
"When a war breaks out, people
say: 'It's too stupid; it can't last long." But though a war may well be
'too stupid,' that doesn't prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of
getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so wrapped up in
"The doctor was still looking
out of the window. Beyond it lay the tranquil radiance of a cool spring
sky; inside the room a word was echoing still, the word 'plague.' A word
that conjured up in the doctor's mind not only what science chose to put
into it, but a whole series of fantastic possibilities utterly out of keeping
with that gray and yellow town under his eyes, from which were rising the
sounds of mild activity characteristic of the hour; a drone rather than
a bustling, the noises of a happy town, in short, if it's so possible to
be at once so dull and happy."
"There lay certitude; there,
in the daily round. All the rest hung on mere threads and trivial contingencies;
you couldn't waste your time on it. The thing was to do your job as it
should be done."
"Also - this, anyhow, was what
he told Dr. Rieux - he had come, after long experience, to realize that
he could always count on living within his means; all he had to do was
scale down his needs to his income."
"Ah!" Cottard sighed. "I only
wish I had a knack for writing" When Grand showed his surprise, Cottard
explained with some embarrassment that being a literary man must make things
easier in lots of ways. "Why?" Grand asked. "Why, because the author has
more rights than ordinary people, as everybody knows. People will stand
much more from him."
"From now on, it can be said
that plague was the concern of all of us. Hitherto, surprised as he may
have been by the strange things happening around him, each individual citizen
had gone about his business as usual, so far as this was possible. And
no doubt he would have continued doing so. But once the town gates were
shut, every one of us realized that all, the narrator included, were, so
to speak, in the same boat, and each one of us would have to adapt himself
to the new conditions of life. Thus, for example, a feeling normally as
individual as the ache of separation from those one loves suddenly became
a feeling in which all shared alike and - together with fear - the greatest
affliction of the long period of exile that lay ahead."
"Thus, too they came to know
the incorrigible sorrow of all prisoners and exiles, which is to live in
company with a memory that serves no purpose. Even the past, of which they
thought incessantly, had a savor only of regret."
"Nevertheless - and this point
in most important - however bitter their distress and however heavy their
hearts, for all their emptiness, in can be truly said of these exiles that
in the early period of the plague they could account themselves privileged.
For at the precise moment when the residents of the town began to panic,
their thoughts were wholly fixed on the person whom they longed to meet
again. The egoism of love made them immune to the general distress and,
if they thought of the plague, it was only in so far as it might threaten
to make their separation eternal. Thus in the very heart of the epidemic
they maintained a saving indifference, which one was tempted to take for
composure. Their despair saved them from panic, thus their misfortune had
a good side."
"The doctor glanced up at the
statue of the Republic, then said he did not know if he was using the language
of reason but he knew he was using the language of the facts as everybody
could see them - which wasn't necessarily the same thing."
"The really remarkable thing,
and Rambert was greatly struck by this, was the way in which, in the very
midst of a catastrophe, offices could go on functioning serenely and take
initiatives of no immediate relevance, and often unknown to the highest
authority, purely and simply because they had been created originally for