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Quotes

Quote #1

Everyone agreed that, considering their somewhat extraordinary character, they were out of place there. For its ordinariness is what first strikes one about the town of Oran. (1.1.1)

The ordinariness of Oran stands in direct conflict with the unique situation and isolation that the plague brings to the town.

Quote #2

The telegram informed Rieux that his mother would be arriving the next day. She was going to keep house for her son during his wife’s absence. When the doctor entered his apartment he found the nurse already there. He looked at his wife. She was in a tailor-made suit, and he noticed she had used rouge. He smiled at her. (1.2.19)

There are all kinds of exile in The Plague, among them the personal exile Rieux is preparing for (from his wife) and his apparent emotional exile (also from his wife. Seriously, could he be more distant from her?).

Quote #3

Meanwhile, however, he informed the doctor that he really knew very little about Cottard, but believed him to have private means in a small way. Cottard was a queer bird. For a long while their relations went no further than wishing each other good-day when they met on the stairs. (1.4.11)

Cottard lives in exile even before the plague. He is truly a man alone in the world, lacking the intimacy of normal human interaction.

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