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The Plague

The Plague


by Albert Camus

The Plague Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.

Quote #16

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. (2.1.11)

In exile, as in prison (not that we would know), one has a memory (and therefore a past) but no hope (and therefore no future). The result is that no one uses that memory of the past to enact change for the future – it’s simply useless.

Quote #17

Moreover, in this extremity of solitude, none could count on any help from his neighbor; each had to bear the load of his troubles alone. If, by some chance, one of us tried to unburden himself or to say something about his feelings, the reply he got, whatever it might be, usually wounded him. (2.1.15)

It’s interesting that Oran’s exile from the outside world results in confinement and alienation within the town’s walls.

Quote #18

Plague was posting sentries at the gate and turning away ships bound for Oran. No vehicle had entered the town since the gates were closed. From that day onwards on had the impression that all cars were moving in circles. (2.2.1)

The isolation of Oran seems to create a state of stasis rather than progress. Because they are in temporal exile, there is no future and no past – they simply circle around over and over in the unchanging present.

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