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The Fall

The Fall


by Albert Camus

The Fall Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Justin O'Brien's translation.

Quote #7

You see in me, très cher, an enlightened advocate of slavery. […] Without slavery, as a matter of fact, there is no definitive solution.


Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with champagne. Nor yet a gift, a box of dainties designed to make you lick your chops. Oh, no! It’s a chore, on the contrary, and a long-distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting. […] Alone in a forbidding room, alone in the prisoner’s bog before the judges, and alone to decide in face of oneself or in the face of others’ judgment. At the end of all freedom is a court sentence; that’s why freedom is too heavy to bear, especially when you’re down with a fever, or are distressed, or love nobody (6.13).

And we add another complication to our already complex relationship of freedom-innocence-isolation-judgment. Now we learn that freedom and isolation are tied together. What Jean-Baptiste is getting at is the idea that with freedom comes a terrible burden – the burden of having to maintain your innocence and avoid imprisonment. And, in order to maintain innocence, you have to get judged. It’s a lot easier to 1) admit that you’re guilty all the time, 2) hand over your freedom (which you would only deserve if you were innocent), and 3) never face the burden of having to be judged. These two passages here form the foundation of this argument, so it’s a good idea to spend some time with them.

Quote #8

But on the bridges of Paris I, too, learned that I was afraid of freedom. So hurray for the master, whoever he may be, to take the place of heaven’s law (6.16).

See how easy The Fall seems once you grasp that freedom-innocence-judgment argument? Using the previous two passages, we can make clear sense of this one: Jean-Baptiste is afraid of freedom, because having freedom means he has to maintain it. To maintain freedom, he has to prove he is innocent, and to prove he is innocent, he has to be judged. To be judged, as he learned on the bridge, is to be laughed at – something he is not at all willing to do.

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