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The Plague Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.

Quote #4

Even before you knew what his employment was, you had a feeling that he’d been brought into the world for the sole purpose of performing the discreet but needful duties of a temporary assistant municipal clerk on a salary of sixty-two francs, thirty centimes a day. (1.6.20)

Grand exists in a very temporary world. His inability to see any sort of distance into the future paralyzes him with inaction.

Quote #5

But this "temporary" state of things had gone on and on, the cost of living rose by leaps and bounds, and Grand’s pay, in spite of some statutory rises, was still a mere pittance. (1.6.22)

The description of time passing while Grand stood by and watched is not dissimilar to the time period of The Plague and the way the citizens of Oran stand passively by.

Quote #6

At Cottard’s request the doctor stopped his car beside one of the groups of children. They were playing hopscotch and making a great deal of noise. One of them, a boy with sleek, neatly parted hair and a grubby face, stared hard at Rieux with bright, bold eyes. The doctor looked away. Standing on the sidewalk Cottard shook his head. He then said in a hoarse, rather labored voice, casting uneasy glances over his shoulder:

"Everybody’s talking about an epidemic. Is there anything in it, doctor?"

"People always talk," Rieux replied. "That’s only to be expected." (1.8.59-61)

Rieux draws a distinction between the future and what people fear the future may bring.

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