How we cite our quotes:
To come at last, and more specifically, to the case of parted lovers, who present the greatest interest and of whom the narrator is, perhaps, better qualified to speak—their minds were the prey of different emotions, notably remorse. For their present position enabled them to take stock of their feelings with a sort of feverish objectivity. And in these conditions, it was rare for them not to detect their own shortcomings. What first brought these home to them was the trouble they experienced in summoning up any clear picture of what the absent one was doing. They came to deplore their ignorance of the way in which that person used to spend his or her days, and reproached themselves for having troubled too little about this in the past, and for having affected to think that, for a lover, the occupations of the loved one when they are not together could be a matter of indifference and not a source of joy. (2.1.13)
Parted lovers turn on themselves – perhaps to distract themselves from turning a critical eye on the absent other?
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. (2.1.16)
Love makes bearing the plague easier because it serves as a distraction.
You get married, you go on loving a bit longer, you work. And you work so hard that it makes you forget to love. (2.2.16)
What were those three actions identified in the first chapter? Oh, right: work, love, and death.