| Quote #1
Perhaps the easiest way of making the town’s acquaintance is to ascertain how the people in it work, how they love, and how they die. In our little town (is this, one wonders, an effect of the climate?) all three are done on much the same lines, with the same feverish yet casual air. The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits (1.1.3)
Right away, the narrator chooses love as one of the three basic elements of a person’s life. The packaging of these actions – loving, working, and dying – is an interesting one, and can be used as a tri-colored lens through which to view the entire novel.
| Quote #2
The passions of the young are violent and short-lived; the vices of older men seldom range beyond an addiction to bowling, to banquets and "socials," or clubs where large sums of money change hands on the fall of a card. (1.1.3)
Nice – the passion of young love is implicitly compared to gambling on games of chance. Clever, isn’t it?
| Quote #3
I’m so glad to be with you again, Bernard," she added. "The rats can’t change that, anyhow. (1.2.65)
Rieux’s mother makes the point that love is stronger than suffering.