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Quotes

Quote #7

On the day after the committee meeting the fever notched another small advance. It even found its way into papers, but discreetly; only a few brief references to it were made. One the following day, however, Rieux observed that small official notices had been just put up about the town, though in places where they would not attract much attention. (1.8.1)

To avoid causing fear, the papers do not give people adequate preparations for the plague. Their attempt to waylay suffering ends up causing more of it.

Quote #8

He paused; with a machine-gun rattle from its exhaust the "deratization" van was clattering by. (1.8.38)

The suffering of the plague is repeatedly compared to the suffering of war; check out "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory" for more.

Quote #9

Throughout the day the doctor was conscious that the slightly dazed feeling that came over him whenever he thought about the plague was growing more pronounced. Finally he realized that he was afraid! On two occasions he entered crowded cafes. Like Cottard he felt a need for friendly contacts, human warmth. A stupid instinct, Rieux told himself; still, it served to remind him that he’d promised to visit the traveling salesman. (1.8.46)

The need for human warmth is dangerous during the plague, but fear is part of the terror of the plague conditions. To combat mental anguish, it seems, the citizens of Oran must subject themselves to the possibility of physical anguish.

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