by Albert Camus
The Fall Truth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Justin O'Brien's translation.
However, I first had to make shift with my discoveries and put myself right with my contemporaries’ laughter. From the evening when I was called – for I was really called – I had to answer or at least seek an answer. It wasn’t easy; for some time I floundered. To begin with, that perpetual laugh and the laughers had to teach me to see clearly within me and to discover at last that I was not simple (4.14).
Here we have more evidence for our case that this mysterious "truth" to which Jean-Baptiste keeps referring is really about the fundamental "duplicity" of man. According to our narrator, man not simple, because, in fact, he is more than one thing. He is not what he appears. He is deceptive, hypocritical – in short, he is "double."
Don’t smile; that truth is not so basic as it seems. What we call basic truths are simply the ones we discover after all the others (4.14).
Think about what it is we discover at the end of The Fall. What does Jean-Baptiste reveal to you about his work and about the role you are playing in his little "confession." Is this a basic truth?
A ridiculous fear pursued me, in fact: one could not die without having confessed all one’s lies. Not to God […] No, it was a matter of confessing to men […] Otherwise, were there but one lie hidden in a life, death made it definitive. No one, ever again, would know the truth on this point, since the only one to know it was precisely the dead man sleeping on his secret. That absolute murder of a truth used to make me dizzy. Today […] it would cause me, instead, subtle joys. The idea, for instance, that I am the only one to know what everyone is looking for and that I have at home an object which kept the police of three countries on the run is a sheer delight (4.21).
Part of the reason Jean-Baptiste is able to flip-flop like this – to go from despising the murder of a "truth" to loving it – is that he has come to a new realization of what "truth" is. In the world of his confession, "truth" isn’t the best way to see what’s really doing on. Instead, lies are preferable. The murder of a truth, then, is probably the best way to get someone to notice it – much the same way he omits pieces of his narrative so we’ll pay closer to attention to what’s missing, à la the Gospel of Luke and the omitted "seditious" cry of Jesus.