The Plague by Albert Camus

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The Plague by Albert Camus

Albert Camus' The Plague, takes place in the desert town of Oran, Algeria, in northern Africa. It is the perfect setting for this story to take place. The ordinariness of Oran is contrasted with the extraordinary business of the plague. Sprintzen points out that "There is a mythic significance of Oran. Given the previous description of the quality of Oranian life, the selection of Oran as the location for the outbreak of plague should not come as a surprise"(Sprintzen 38). In Oran, life for its inhabitants has lost meaning. The plague offers them a chance to give meaning back to their lives. The plot of the story is revealed in five parts, over which we see the characters undergo changes. Through the Oranian's attitudes towards death in The Plague, they go through stages, which leave them with a final hope for life.

As the novel starts, the Oranians are completely unaware of what is happening or what is about to happen around them and therefore cannot possibly be aware of the coming plague. The opening portion describes men's individual actions in a city as yet not officially touched by the plague. Riley believes that "First the people of Oran, and they are not extraordinary in this way, are characterized as making no effort to reach the true nature of each other, and, unaware of the reality of their world and it other inhabitants, they are unfit to become easily aware of the coming plague" (Riley 93). The main focus of every person in Oran is himself. Everyone in Oran wishes to be an individual, to have none of the problems of the rest of the world. Sprintzen observes that "The people don't want to be stuck in the same boat with someone else; each believes one man's problems are his...

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...ue and each Oranian will have somewhat of a new dimension as an individual. Throughout the chronicle Rieux has commented on the townspeople's failure before the plague to attain a more varied, joyous, appreciative sense of life. Now, he sees lovers wishing to slow their new moments into slow motion so as to savor all of its thrill. For the present human love is violently rekindled.

Throughout The Plague we see both the town of Oran ans its citizens change along with various stages of the Plague. It seems to go through stages of unawareness, awareness, death, commitment and life. This way we see a change that occurs from the beginning of the novel from an unawareness of whats happening about them to a new sense for life. While the plague may have destroyed the town and many lives within it, it offers the Oranians a chance to give meaning back to their lives.

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