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The Plague

The Plague


by Albert Camus

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

First Person (Central Narrator) faking a Third Person (Limited Omniscient)

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 account of events rather than a human story. He relates the entire tale in the third person and reveals only in the last chapter that, actually, he’s our main character Dr. Rieux. Although he wants to give an objective account, subjectivity and individuality of experience come through.

Oh, right, the other kink we’ll throw in at you is Tarrou’s journal entries, which allowed us a pleasant little foray into yet another detached and supposedly objective mind. Tarrou’s accounts are a plot-device that allow Camus to show us events outside of Rieux’s range of experience. But they also serve the thematic purpose of emphasizing a multiplicity of perspectives; they remind us that there is never just one account of any series of events.

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