by Albert Camus
The Plague Mortality Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.
To Tarrou, who had shown surprise at the secluded life he led, he had given the following explanation, more or less. According to religion, the first half of a man’s life is an upgrade; the second goes downhill. One the descending days he has no claim, they may be snatched from him at any moment; thus he an do nothing with them and the best thing, precisely, is to do nothing with them. He obviously had no compunction about contradicting himself, for a few minutes later he told Tarrou that God did not exist, since otherwise there would be no need for priests. But from some observations which followed, Tarrou realized that the old fellow’s philosophy was closely involved with the irritation caused by the house-to-house collections in aid of charities, which took place almost incessantly in that part of the town. What completed the picture of the old man was a desire he expressed several times, and which seemed deeply rooted; the desire to die at a very advanced age. (2.6.21)
The Spaniard doesn’t want to die, but he also isn’t afraid of death. He just may be the ideal man for Tarrou (or maybe even for Camus): he accepts his own death, but would still struggle to fight against it.
"In spite of the growing shortage of paper, which ash compelled some dailies to reduce their pages, a new paper has been launched: the Plague Chronicle, which sets out to inform out townspeople, with scrupulous veracity, of the daily progress or recession of the disease, to supply them with the most authoritative opinions available as to its future course. […] Actually this newspaper very soon came to devote its columns to advertisements of new, ‘infallible’ antidotes against plague. (2.6.23)
Irrationally, the citizens of Oran use a scarce resource (paper) to publish bunk about the plague. Commerce has manipulated even death and disease for profit.
In the early days, when they thought this epidemic was much like other epidemics, religion held its ground. But once these people realized their instant peril, they gave their thoughts to pleasure. (2.6.30)
They say there are no atheists in foxholes, but the people of Oran demonstrate that, in fact, there are just really, really good parties in foxholes.