Inexperienced Minds in Albert Camus' The Plague

1930 Words8 Pages
Inexperienced Minds in The Plague The town itself, let us admit, is ugly. These are the words of Dr. Bernard Rieux, the narrator of Albert Camus The Plague. His accurate, unexaggerated descriptions of a town’s sufferings, bring the novel to life. The town of Oran becomes afflicted with a plague, and Rieux, the town doctor, watches the town quickly die away. He joins forces with Jean Tarrou, Raymond Rambert, Joseph Grand, and Father Paneloux, hoping to defeat the unbeatable enemy. The quarantined town ultimately defeats the disease, but not before incredible losses are suffered. All of the men learn about themselves and each other, while by battling the plague. The realize that life is more than just themselves and Oran. It is fragile, unpredictable, vulnerable, and must be a time of happiness and honesty. The Plague takes place in Oran, a small, Mediterranean town in North Africa. Dr. Bernard Rieux describes it as an ugly town. Oranians are boring people who appear to only love during sex, and otherwise live monotonous and habitual lives. The main interest of the town is money, an interest which runs the lives of its inhabitants. Rieux describes the town s view of death as something that occurs daily, or the normal day-to-day process of dying. He then informs the reader that the coastal town actually does not face the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, it is almost impossible to see the bay from the town, a town which seemingly turns its back on live and freedom. Rieux then begins the story of the plague. Rieux steps on a dead rat and soon sees them everywhere, along with the townspeople. Their mouths leak blood and their corpses are bloated. Rieux and the Oranians ignore the problem at first, blaming sanitation bureau. Howe... ... middle of paper ... ...ns. Really, all that was to be conveyed was the banality of the town s appearance and of life in it. The theme appears at the end of that statement. The life in Oran was common and could not stop the inevitable. Finally, Rieux concludes by returning to the city s setting. Despite being a port on the Mediterranean Sea, it turns its back on the bay, with the result that it s impossible to see the sea. The sea represents life, freedom, and truth, qualities the materialistic citizens of Oran never possess. When they finally long for them, the plague denies their wish. The citizens had the faintest reason to apprehend the incidents that took place, because they knew nothing but their business and their sad, unsightly town. They would soon realize that life involves more than money and habit, but for the present time, they were left to their inexperienced minds.

    More about Inexperienced Minds in Albert Camus' The Plague

      Open Document