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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Plague

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The rats don’t simply symbolize the plague. They are symbols of people. They die in the streets, on playgrounds, in businesses…and then people follow suit. Although they seem ominous, t...

Setting

Oran is a real town in Algeria on the Northwest corner of Africa and therefore bordering the Mediterranean. Here’s a map. There’s quite a bit to cover here, so settle down now. First, t...

Narrator Point of View

Betcha didn’t think you could fake a narrative technique, did you? Just goes to show you never know. This narrator attempts to present his story as factual and objective, like a journalistic...

Genre

Let’s face it: the point of The Plague is not to talk about a plague. (Misleading, isn’t it?) The novel is clearly a pulpit from which Camus can explore and explain his philosophical vi...

Tone

Camus definitely approaches The Plague didactically. Not that we love him any less for it. The difficult part about discussing tone with a novel like this lies in trying to separate the tone of the...

Writing Style

We’re talking about Camus’s style and the way he chose to write his novel; not the fictional Rieux's style and his fictional objectives. The fact that we’re reading a translation...

What’s Up With the Title?

We think the title is pretty self-explanatory, since the book is about a plague. Also, Camus seems to like short, bland, descriptive titles. Yet, "the plague" means a little more than the outbreak...

What’s Up With the Epigraph?

"It is as reasonable to represent one kind of imprisonment by another, as it is to represent anything that really exists by that which exists not." –Daniel DefoeWho is this man Defoe? What is...

Plot Analysis

Dead ratsThe rats make the citizens of Oran nervous, which makes us nervous, which means this initial situation isn’t messing around.Dead people The conflict comes when the plague transfers f...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Overcoming the Monster

The rats come to town and die; Rieux declares that something must be done.Booker says the anticipation stage is where we become aware of the monster from a great distance. The rats fit the bill, si...

Trivia

Albert Camus, whose works often featured the senseless loss of life in an indifferent universe, died in a car crash at age 46.At 43, Camus was the second youngest guy ever to receive the Nobel Priz...

Steaminess Rating

There are a few mentions of sex at the beginning of the book when the narrator is describing people in Oran, but nothing too racy (he uses words like "affair" or "passion." Yawn.) In general, the p...

Allusions

Albert Camus: The Stranger (1.8.25)Lucretius (1.5.6)Nostradamus (4.4.5)St. Odilia (4.4.5)Bishop Belzunce (4.4.16)Louis Armstrong (maybe): St. James Infirmary Blues (2.9.139, 2.9.229)Christoph Willi...
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