Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

But at Oran the violent extremes of temperature, the exigencies of business, the uninspiring surroundings, the sudden nightfalls, and the very nature of its pleasures call for good health. An invalid feels out of it there. Think what it must be for a dying man, trapped behind hundreds of walls all sizzling with heat, while the whole population, sitting in cafes or hanging on the telephone, is discussing shipments, bills of lading, discounts! It will then be obvious what discomfort attends death, even modern death, when it waylays you under such conditions in a dry place (1.1.5)

How fitting. A town that refuses to let people die inside its walls falls victim to a plague and has its gates shut.

Quote #2

He saw a big rat coming toward him from the dark end of the passage. It moved uncertainly, and its fur was sopping wet. The animal stopped and seemed to be trying to get its balance, moved forward again towards the doctor, halted again, then spun around on itself with a little squeal and fell on its side. (1.2.2)

This is exactly the manner in which people will later die – pre-death pirouette and everything. The Plague suggests that men are made equal to animals by their common mortality.

Quote #3

He wasn’t thinking about the rat. That glimpse of spurting blood had switched his thoughts back to something that had been on his mind all day. His wife, who had been ill for a year now, was due to leave the next day for the sanatorium in the mountains.(1.2.3)

Indeed, Rieux makes this connection himself.

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