From the title, you know this book is about a plague. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. “Rieux,” he said at last, “you must tell me the whole truth. I find the author’s plot, tone, and theme for … People are exiled physically from their loved ones and trapped inside the walls of Oran. These “heroes” fit into his idea of Absurdism, as in…, While The Plague is a tale of absurdist philosophy, it is also a novel with living characters and a deeply human story, and Camus’ writing is potent in its imagery of suffering, despair, and courage. Both deaths galvanize their "followers," forcing them to come to terms with God, the meaning of life, and wherein possible salvation lies. He does not renounce his faith but sees his choice as all or nothing, as the complete relinquishment of any claim to answers or comprehension and instead the resting in God's ultimate mysteriousness. 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. They are emotionally estranged by the inability of language to convey the reality of what they are experiencing. The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that was first published in 1947. Absurdism. The word exile means the state of being barred and expelled from one’s native country, typically for political or punitive reasons (dictionary.com). About The Plague The Plague Summary They die in the streets, on playgrounds, in businesses…and then people follow suit. Many are exiled from God, no longer able to reconcile the suffering they experience and see with the promises of Christianity. The author was an existentialist philosopher who was also a journalist, a writer, and a member of the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation. They are exiled from the past and the future, stuck in an interminable future. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, read analysis of Language and Communication. The advantages or disadvantages of an ironic tone (or irony) in The Plague. Osborne-Bartucca, Kristen. Imagination vs. Abstraction. This particular plague happens in a Algerian port town called Oran in the 1940s. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." He thinks it is a waste of effort trying to figure out why God would send the plague or what the sins were that necessitated the plague, and that the way one helps combat the plague is not by praying. Imagination in the context of the Camus' plague means identifying with people, with giving into love and grief, with confronting the real. The tale is highly allegorical, meaning that it uses concrete characters, places, and events to symbolize non-literal or abstract principles. They also indicate his continuing insistence that his book carry his metaphysical ideas of the absurd. The Plague, or La Peste in its original French, is a novel written by philosopher/writer Albert Camus in 1947. The plague that strikes Oran is thematically rich in its exploration of the absurd. It is located along the Algerian coast. At first they try to ignore or downplay it, and then they see it as a personal antagonist separating them…, Despite the enormity of suffering and death in the world and the seeming omnipotence of the plague, there are instances of heroism and altruistic struggle as well. There is only plague, and they are stuck in its void. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Camus has the boy symbolize Jesus, another innocent sacrificed. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of an unknown narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. Although they seem ominous, they are harmless parallels and portents of the human condition rather than a threat to humanity. However, as the plague takes over everything, they lose that sense of uniqueness and individuality. When conditions in Europe suddenly changed at the beginning of the 14th century, what did many people believe had come? The people believed the Blacl Death signaled the Biblical apocolypse. I count on that.” “I promise it.” Tarrou’s … The residents are solely focused on doing business and agriculture. Their present is the same, their pasts all superfluous, their futures all suspended. At the end of the novel, Rieux identifies himself as the author of the chronicle and explains his conviction to bear witness to the plague. Characterization of The Plague In this book The Plague by Albert Camus, it’s interesting to read as this book is centered in the fiction genre. The mess starts when rats everywhere die. The chronicle’s unknown narrator eventually reveals himself as Dr. Rieux, who has been trying to take a more detached view of the plague. Suffering and Death. The Plague Themes The Plague. Language and Communication. Struggling with distance learning? Rieux isn't a perfect narrator, and as a doctor he knows he cannot save everyone, but he can make sure he contributes to the collective memory. 1. As an atheist, Rieux finds it unfathomable that a God could allow the suffering seen in the plague and still be considered loving. Camus immediately undercuts the “heroic” efforts of the volunteer groups by declaring that to the fight the plague … Everyone was buying it. Camus also describes the townspeople’s feelings of exile as the plague progresses: first everyone wants to speed up time and end the plague, or they work ceaselessly…, Instant downloads of all 1389 LitChart PDFs Optimism and pessimism in The Plague. Not affiliated with Harvard College. Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in. Because of this situation, humans have…, The rest of the themes generally follow as corollaries to Camus’ philosophy. Initially Camus was even wary of the word plague. Those who fall ill or who have family members fall ill are isolated in camps and hospital wards, kept away from the healthy and deemed a threat. This study guide and infographic for Albert Camus's The Plague offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Heroism and Defiance. But if he isn't capable of great emotion, well, he leaves … The boy has committed no sins, as Jesus did not, yet dies nonetheless. Dealing with the absurd is not something most people have experience with, and Camus chronicles the various ways they confront the absence of all reason. This is the very essence of existential angst which the novel is dedicated to portraying. In The Plague, Camus addresses the collective response to catastrophe when a large city in Algeria is isolated due to an outbreak of the bubonic plague. Depending on the perspective of the reader, the plague of the novel could relate to the fascism and Nazism of World War II and the French Resistance, a more universal application to the plague of oppressive governments or an even more universal application of the oppression suffered by a minority for no apparent reason. The chronicle’s unknown narrator eventually reveals himself as Dr. Rieux, who has been trying to take a more detached view of the plague. The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of. The inability of a given person to express his meaning is a fundamental concern of the novel. The people of Oran deal with this meaningless suffering in various ways. Let’s define exile first and see how it relates to the text. Camus was born in … The plague does not care about politics, money, power, past sufferings, or morality; it simply is, and it is all-encompassing. Late in 1942, he cautions himself not to include the word in the title. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the second-youngest recipient in history. “I know that man is capable of great deeds. At its most basic, this philosophy holds that the universe is absurd and meaningless – there is no God or cosmic order – and that humans are doomed to suffer and die. If no one documents, then no one remembers. To enter into the literary world of Albert Camus, one must realize, first off, that one is dealing with an author who does not believe in God. This year has not only seen revived interest in Albert Camus’s novel The Plague (1947), it also marks a key anniversary: Camus’s death at the age of forty-six in a sudden car crash sixty years ago.The occasion has led to commemorations in France but it has been understandably overshadowed in the United States by COVID-19, the fateful presidential election, and beyond. As the plague begins to abate, though, he becomes more and more paranoid that he is going to be arrested and his freedom forever curtailed. Set in the North African French colony of Oran, the novel chronicles a recrudescence of the bubonic plague and the various ways in which the townspeople respond to the pestilence. Rereading The Plague over these past weeks has … Within this new collectivity there is some comfort, but there is also an acute loss of what makes being alive so wonderful. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive absurdist point of view. Camus presents both of these perspectives as valid, though his personal sympathy is with Rieux, and shows that every single person tries to come to terms with the plague whether it is through religion, philosophy, volunteering, suffering, or other methods and means. Many popular reading lists for the COVID-19 pandemic include The Plague, a 1947 novel by Albert Camus. What was the status of life in Europe in terms of faith, technology, and trade before the Plague arrived? (including. People's wishes, dreams, fears, philosophies, and plans are all proven irrelevant. Sales of Albert Camus’ 1947 novel The Plague (La Peste) were spiking. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Plague. The plague itself is thematic. Suggested Theme Topics. The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. Abstraction is seen as deadening oneself to reality and mankind, sticking with statistics or philosophies or doctrines, focusing too much on rules or theories or putative panaceas. Camus' ideas concerning religion in The Plague. 4. He needed to account for the ways life was disrupted, for the lives that were lost, for the quiet acts of heroism, for the endurance and the resilience and the charity and the overwhelming will to live. Rambert and Rieux are both separated by the quarantine from the women they love, and Rambert, a foreigner, is exiled from his own home as well. The plague causes suffering among the rich and the poor, the old and the young, and men and women. They are symbols of people. The Plague By Albert Camus 2232 Words | 9 Pages Non-American Author Research: The Plague by Albert Camus The Plague by Albert Camus is a novel that forms … His works include The Stranger, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall, and The Rebel. The characters in the plague span these binaries, demonstrating the multifarious responses to a trauma like the plague. "The Plague Themes". The Plague by Albert Camus has many themes including exile and imprisonment. The Plague Study Guide Albert Camus is one of the 20th century’s most esteemed writers, and La Peste, or The Plague (1947), is considered one of his masterpieces. The plague itself is thematic. Those who followed this movement were regarded as a dangerous threat to church authority. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. Teachers and parents! Despite the enormity of suffering and death in the world and the seeming omnipotence of the plague, there are instances of heroism and altruistic struggle as well. The story centers on a physician and the people he works with and treats in an Algerian port town that is struck by the plague. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Plague, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Paneloux initially sticks to standard Christian doctrine and sees the plague as God's censuring of human sin, but once he spends time on the ground among the ailing and the dying, he changes his understanding of his God. The Question and Answer section for The Plague is a great This is a reflection of Camus himself, who describes the calamity of Oran objectively, without romanticizing…, The plague simultaneously exiles and imprisons the town of Oran, and its closed gates leave many citizens separated from their loved ones. As the plague ravages the population, it becomes clear that suffering is universal and inevitable. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Attitudes toward death in The Plague. The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. 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. The flagellants believed that selfpunishment for their sins might help save them from death as a result of the Plague. The suffering has three effects. The location of Oran is utterly random yet the manner in which the plague plays out is utterly ruthless, almost as if it had been chosen by some greater power. The Plague The central irony in The Plague lies in Camus' treatment of "freedom." While The Plague is a tale of absurdist philosophy, it is also a novel with living characters and a deeply human story, and Camus’ writing is potent in its imagery of suffering, despair, and courage. Albert Camus, in relation to this idea, delivered to the literary world his existentialist work, The Plague, a novel based upon the central theme of the inanity of human suffering and the profound individuality with the human experience. 2. No group is untouched. Camus develops a story with characters who’s brought together by the natural disaster. LitCharts Teacher Editions. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. The Absurd. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. Nearly all these early Plague ideas reveal Camus' concern for a truthful realism and a rejection of sensationalism. The Plague Themes. What was the philosophy of the “flagellants”? In the novel the bubonic plague is a symbol of many things – the harsh, meaningless universe, the human condition, or war – but all of them mean suffering and death. In The Plague, language is often inaccurate and always inadequate. In the beginning, the townspeople of Oran are still caught up in their own lives—their loves, their pursuits of leisure, their past and future, their unshakeable sense of themselves as the center of the universe. The rats don’t simply symbolize the plague. Major characters in Camus' fiction, therefore, can probably be expected either to disbelieve or to wrestle with the problem of belief. The citizens of Oran become prisoners of the plague when their city falls under total quarantine, but it is questionable whether they were really "free" before the plague. 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