The Plague Truth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.
Things went so far that the Ransdoc Information Bureau (inquiries on all subjects promptly and accurately answered), which ran a free-information talk on the radio, by way of
publicity, began its talk by announcing that no less than 6,231 rats had been collected and burned in a single day, April 25. (1.2.73)
The announcing of facts changes the nature of the plague and the reality of people’s lives.
The narrator proposes to give the opinion of another witness on the period that has been described. Jean Tarrou…Good humored, always ready with a smile, he seemed an addict of all normal pleasures without being their slave." (1.3.2)
Look at the narrator’s word choice ("witness") used to create the illusion of objectivity.
Tarrou’s description of Dr. Rieux may be suitably inserted here. So far as the narrator can judge, it is fairly accurate.
"Looks about thirty-five. Moderate height. Broad shoulders. Almost rectangular face. Dark, steady eyes, but prominent jaws. A biggish, well-modeled nose. Black hair, cropped very close. A curving mouth with thick, usually tight-set lips. With his tanned skin, the black down on his hands and arms, the dark but becoming suits he always wears, he reminds one of a Sicilian peasant.
"He walks quickly. When crossing a street, he steps off the sidewalk without changing his pace, but two out of three times he makes a little hop when he steps on to the sidewalk on the other side. He is absentminded and, when driving his car, often leaves his side-signals on after he has turned a corner. Always bareheaded. Looks knowledgeable." (1.3.43-45)
Since Rieux is the secret narrator he cannot objectively describe himself; that’s why he uses Tarrou’s journal to do so. He seems to be forgetting that, in choosing this description of himself, he removed the possibility of objectivity.