| Quote #1
Punishment without judgment is bearable. It has a name, besides, that guarantees our innocence: it is called misfortune (4.4).
A term like "misfortune" would "guarantee innocence" because it means that our guilt isn’t our own fault. As Jean-Baptiste argues, criminals don’t want to take responsibility for their crimes. Of course, Jean-Baptiste isn’t exactly begging to take responsibility for his own actions.
| Quote #2
As for me, the injustice was even greater: I was condemned for past successes. For a long time I had lived in the illusion of a general agreement, whereas, from all sides, judgments, arrows, mockeries rained upon me, inattentive and smiling. The day I was alerted I became lucid; I received all the wounds at the same time and lost my strength all at once. The whole universe then began to laugh at me (4.9).
Jean-Baptiste makes it clear that the laughter he heard coming from the water had to do with his being judged and ridiculed. Now this part is interesting: he realized himself that he was morally reprehensible (for not trying to save the woman on the bridge). But he ascribes his self-judgment to others. That is, because he judges himself to be a jerk, he assumes the rest of the world sees him that way.
| Quote #3
From this point of view, we are all like that little Frenchman at Buchenwald who insisted on registering a complaint with the clerk, himself a prisoner, who was recording his arrival. A complaint? The clerk and his comrades laughed: "Useless, old man. You don’t lodge a complaint here." "But you see, sir," said the little Frenchman, "my case is exceptional. I am innocent!"
Jean-Baptiste will later question this need for innocence, with what is an essence a "Why bother?" attack. It’s much easier, he notes, to just proclaim your own guilt. Then you never have to get judged, and you can continue to act like a criminal.