joseph grand

783 Words4 Pages
Joseph Grand was portrayed to us as being the meek, indecisive, poor citizen of Oran. He didn’t have much but a failed marriage, a municipal job, and a one-sentence novel. Despite his faults, he is among the first to volunteer with the “sanitary squads” without a moment’s hesitation. Grand does not look at what he is doing as a hero’s work; he looks at this as being a necessary duty. In fact, when Dr. Rieux thanked Grand, Grand states; “ Why, that’s not difficult! Plague is here and we’ve got to make a stand, that’s obvious. Ah, I only wish everything were as simple!” (Camus, 134). Grand’s job on the “sanitary squads” may have been a small sacrifice, yet it represented something so much larger than himself. Since he was an older man with not much to give, he gave all he was able to because it was the right thing to do. The narrator states; “Grand was the true embodiment of the quiet courage of the sanitary groups” (Camus, 134). At this point, Grand’s virtue of courage is enacted. It’s as if no one had really given him the chance to show how brave he really was in the past. Grand is marked with so many failures and deficits, that it is hard to look past all of that and think of this man as being courageous. However, Dr. Rieux gives Grand that second chance to prove his worth and remind Grand, as well, just how much he has to offer. Eventually, Grand contracts the plague and is spared death. His recovery marks the turning of the tide for the citizens of Oran. Grand’s recovery gives a sense of hope to the citizens of Oran. The narrator tells us early on; “and if it is absolutely necessary that this narrative should include a “hero,”it should be one with “goodness of heart” and “a seemingly absurd ideal” (Camus, 137). The narrat... ... middle of paper ... ...he beginning that he wants to write a literary masterpiece, on which he works on diligently. He is a very careful man and works thoughtfully and thoroughly. This would be a strength if done in moderation and if he knew how to stop, but he gets so caught up in his work that he often misses what is most important in life. He has not had a close relationship with anyone since his wife was around. Grand wants to write that best-seller, he wants that ideal marriage, and he wants to keep to himself. That is why it is somewhat surprising that he goes to Cottard’s aid, to the extent of wanting to cover up his attempted suicide from the authorities; and he also joins Tarrou’s troop of volunteers, coming in after work to help in the fight against the plague. Grand’s name seems to be ironic in the beginning of the book, but as we read on his gestures become as big as his name.
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