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Group Read > The Plague- April 2010

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message 1: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 31, 2010 08:08AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments -



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What: The Plague by Albert Camus The Plague

Author: Albert Camus Albert Camus

When: Discussion will beign on April 1, 2010. We will discuss the book for one month. However, the thread will remain open so you can continue the discussion after April.

Where: Please discuss the book in this thread.

Spoiler Etiquette: The book is divided into 5 parts. Please put the part # you are discussing at the top of your post.
If you are discussing a major plot element also include a spoiler warning/space so other can avoid spoilers.

book detail: Paperback: 320 pages

Synopsis: A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature.

About the author:
Albert Camus was born in Algeria in 1913. He studied philosophy and then went to work in Paris as a journalist. His play Caligula appeared in 1939. He established an international reputation with books such as The Outsider, The Plague, The Just and The Fall and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. He was killed in a road accident in 1960. His last novel, The First Man, unfinished at the time of his death, appeared for the first time in 1994.

Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/Plague-Albert-C...


message 2: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 15, 2010 08:19AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments *** Discussion Questions may contain Spoilers ***


Spark Notes discussion Questions:

- Why is it necessary to question Dr. Rieux's claims of objectivity in his chronicle?

-Tarrou's notebooks contain a philosophical examination of how not to "waste time." What is ironic about the methods he suggests to avoid wasting time??

- At one point, Rambert accuses Rieux of using the language of abstraction rather than the language of the heart. What is the significance of his accusation?

- What is ironic about Paneloux's first sermon?

- What is unusual about the performance of Gluck's Orpheus that Tarrou mentions in his notebook? How does this unusual occurrence play into larger themes in the novel?

- Tarrou understands the plague as a metaphor for human indifference. How is Rieux's understanding of the epidemic similar to Tarrou's?

Monkey Notes questions:

- Fully describe Dr. Rieux. Why is he so important to the novel?

- Explain the conflict of the novel and how it is resolved.

- Does Camus’ attempt at making The Plague a chronicle detract from its success as a novel"? Explain your answer in detail.

- Fully describe Tarrou, Grand, and Rambert and explain Rieux’s relationships with each of them. What do his friendships with these men reveal about Rieux as a person?

- How do the actions of Tarrou and Rieux prove that they live by their asserted moral codes?

- What are the major Themes of the novel and how are they developed?

- How is the novel allegorical?

- Analyze Camus’ treatment of suffering, death, and God in The Plague.

- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of making Rieux the narrator of The Plague.


message 3: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments *** Links may contain spoilers ***

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_C...

Pink Monkey Notes - Study Guide
http://pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monke...

Spark Notes- Study Guide
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/plague/...


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Jessica, you mentioned reading more than one book a month as a group.

I would be open to reading The Stranger by Albert Camus as a Buddy Read after we read The Plague in April.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/STRANGER-Albert...

Wiki link :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stra...

My copy of the book is only 154 pages.

I always thought the novel had a great opening.

"Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can be sure."

Is anyone else interested?

Actually reading two books by the same author appeals to me. Is anyone interested in reading

Franny and ZooeyJ.D. Salinger

I would like to read it in the next week or so since I just finished Catcher In the Rye. I'll post this also in the Catcher thread.


message 5: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Jessica, you mentioned reading more than one book a month as a group.

I would be open to reading The Stranger by Albert Camus as a Buddy Read after we read The P..."


Oh, I'm so excited about reading The Plague as a group in April! Was it presumptuous of me to have already ordered it from Amazon (two week ago) for this purpose?

And I love that opening for The Stranger by Albert Camus, so I would really like reading it as a buddy read after The Plague.

YAYS! :D


message 6: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments The Stranger follow-up to Plague sounds good to me, too, Alias & Jessica.

deborah


message 7: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Great ! Sounds like we have a plan. :)


message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 14 comments Oh, what a great reading plan, The Plague and The Stranger. My reading list doesn't have an inch of give in it right now, and I'd so love to read these with you all. I feel like I've been playing catch-up since February with my reading, so I'm not sure I will try and change things, but I just might for these two.


message 9: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments Oh, Kathy, i hope you will be able to stretch time & energy to join us. The more who read the book, the better the topic exchange, i think.


deborah


message 10: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments Still need to get my hands on a copy of The Stranger. Hopefully I'll have enough to order one at the beginning of the month. I might try the library, but I love having my own books and not having to give them back.


message 11: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments I started to read the book last night and see the book is divided into 5 parts. Please put the part # you are discussing at the top of your posts so others can skip your post if they are not up to that part yet. Thanks !

I see the book takes place in France in 194-.
That makes me think the book is an allegory for WWII.


message 12: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments Aw, I was waiting for tomorrow to start it! I'll start it today because I was really not wanting to wait. :D


message 13: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1139 comments I have my copy and have tried to get started.


message 14: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments Guys, I'm trying to get through The Plague right now, but it's a struggle. It probably wasn't the right time for me to tackle something this heavy. I'll try to participate in discussion, but no promises.

Kate


message 15: by madrano (last edited Apr 02, 2010 05:59AM) (new)

madrano | 3510 comments I'm already well into Part 2 but won't discuss more than PART 1 now.

Alias mentioned that the dateline for this book is 194__. I wondered about the date, given WWII but also have learned that there was an outbreak in 1944 in Oran, so i don't know what to think. My suspicion is that we can read Nazi occupation into it, if we desire.

I'm intrigued to see what the exchange of the doctor's wife for his mother will mean to the outcome. It's unfortunate the young wife is unwell but lucky that she must be absent at that moment. I suppose i was a bit bemused by the fact his mom had to arrive to take care of him but that is neither here nor there, as she is barely mentioned thus far.

All sorts of puzzlements have arisen already--the attempted suicide, the clerk's writing and the reaction of professionals to the facts. Additionally, i find myself liking the way Camus presents certain things. For instance, the way he opened the book, telling us there were no gardens, no birds and that the seasons are distinguished by the sky. My attention was grabbed immediately.

deborah


message 16: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 01, 2010 12:17PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments madrano wrote:

Alias mentioned that the dateline for this book is 194__. I wondered about the date, given WWII but also have learned that there was an outbreak in 1944 in Oran, so i don't know what to think. My suspicion is that we can read Nazi occupation into it, if we desire.
."

-------------------

It takes quite a skilled writer to pull an allegory off well. You have the surface or primary story which must be engaging and then you have to have that correspond to the other topic you are alluding to and trying to make a point about that as well. Not an easy thing to do. I think Camus pulls it off well. Then you also have another layer to think about when you consider he is a philosopher. That is why I think the book and his writing are so good. There are many layers to the novel and much food for thought.

I've only read a dozen or so pages, I'll try to get some more reading in today.

As to WWII, you have Oran,(France) unaware and just going about their own business. A bit isolated from the rest of the world. Then the Plague comes and they are forced to deal with it and they can no longer avert their eyes.


message 17: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1139 comments I found the site that you have linked about Camus quite interesting. I didn't remember that he had been born in Algeria. Many years of unrest there during the French Colonial period.

There was a lot of fighting in North Africa during WWII. Every once in a while something reminds me of this. I don't know enough about it.

I think his writing is incredible but I do find all these depictions of rats to be beyond depressing. I can only take it in small doses. Although I find people's attitudes as he describes them to be so realistic. Denial!!

Barbara


message 18: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Barbara, if I saw one rat I would have a stroke. I can't even imagine the streets filled with dead ones.

For some reason I always associate Algeria with terrorism and bombings. I could be way off base. I really should look it up to check before I say that. What I know about Algeria wouldn't fill a thimble.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publicati...

Just click on the + to expand on a topic.


message 19: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 01, 2010 05:16PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments The philosophy of "absurdism" can get a bit confusing. Any philosophy majors in the house ? :)

I had to do a big paper in college on his works. But that was a looooog time ago and I remember little. If I recall correctly his book, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays showed that even though life is absurd, we can or must? find meaning in it to go on living. I can be totally wrong on this as I said I read it ages ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_C...

"In his essays Camus presented the reader with dualisms: happiness and sadness, dark and light, life and death, etc. His aim was to emphasize the fact that happiness is fleeting and that the human condition is one of mortality. He did this not to be morbid, but to reflect a greater appreciation for life and happiness"


message 20: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments madrano wrote: "Alias mentioned that the dateline for this book is 194__. I wondered about the date, given WWII but also have learned that there was an outbreak in 1944 in Oran, so i don't know what to think. My suspicion is that we can read Nazi occupation into it, if we desire. "

Alias also mentioned dualisms. This could be about the Nazi occupation or the outbreak, or both.

P. 34: "Plagues and wars take people equally by surprise."

P. 35: "Our townsfolk were not more to blame than others... They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences."

That's as far as I've gotten. I went into this thinking that the story would be about a plague outbreak. But with the discussion of the Nazi occupation and further reading, I'm starting to see how this could be an allegory.


message 21: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments Jessica wrote: "Alias also mentioned dualisms. This could be about the Nazi occupation or the outbreak, or both...."

Excellent point, Jessica. Your examples are good & i'm going to keep my eyes open for more. Thank you.

Alias, no doubt, remembers i am Quite Weak (well, maybe impatient is more to the point) with philosophy, so i appreciate the recap of absurdism. The definition makes me even more eager to read on!

deborah


message 22: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1139 comments Algeria -- I think of Algeria closer to the period of the book than of current times as I did a paper on Algeria in 1959 as a master's thesis. I was required to come up with a projection of whether or not I thought they would achieve independence.

So at that time it wasn't bombings and terrorism as we think of it now, but it was about tribalism. And the blowback of those who felt that "Algeria is France."

I have a story about rats on the block I lived on in Manhattan, but it would probably gross you out. The thing is that when there is a big construction project it tends to wake up the animals. Don't know what goes on right now but there used to be a section in the Sanitation Department that was referred to as the "Rat Patrol." A continuing job.

I found this quote interesting -- p.37 in my version
"When a war breaks out, people say: 'It's too stupid;it can't last long.' But though a war may well be 'too stupid,' that doesn't prevent it lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves."


Barbara


message 23: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 02, 2010 07:12AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Great quotes Jessica and Barbara. I've been underling them in my book. Which by the way, I see I have two copies of The Plague. A paperback and a hardcover.

Part 1

Why do you think Camus decided to use a unnamed narrator? On page 24 of my copy he mentions that the source for this story is Tarrou's notebooks which were comprised as a chronicle.

I think these two elements are used to give the story a feeling of a factual telling of events as they happened and not someone remembering them and than telling the story. Sort of like reading a newspaper It makes it an objective telling of events. Also since Tarrou just arrived in town his observations are more objective.

We also can't rely on local press accounts because it is noted that "the local press, so lavish of news about the rats, now had nothing to say. For rats died in the street; men in their homes. And newspapers are concerned only with the street."

I am not sure what is meant by the fellow that spits on the cats. Any ideas?


message 24: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments Re. the narrator. He claimed we'd learn who he is later, which has my curiosity going. My fear is that he must be one whose job it was to collect belongings of those who succumbed to the disease. This would make his possession of Tarrou's notebook likely, IF T dies, that is.

As you mentioned, Alias, i'm grateful for the objectiveness of T's notebook, as it gave me a perspective of Dr. Rieux i didn't have. I saw him as older. I was surprised no citizens seemed to have suspected the plague, given the rats, although, if put in context of the war, it may have seemed small potatoes.

As for the cat spitter, i don't know what to think of him. Was his story included just so we'd know that the cats were gone awhile, seeking the rats? My first thought was of when we had a cat. Part of the training to keep her off furniture was to spritz her with water from a spray bottle. However, i don't think this is what the old man was doing.

Since he is described as having a military demeanor, i wonder if he isn't a naval retiree. If so, maybe there were cats aboard the ship to control the rat population? However, it's still quite a leap to think that he had an issue with cats to the point where he still held some animosity. He's probably just a cantankerous old man who likes teasing animals. Or maybe i'm missing some point!

deb


message 25: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1139 comments I thought perhaps that it wasn't that they didn't think of the plague but that they were in denial. The plague, in their minds, was something out of the middle ages.

As to the man who spit on cats -- for some reason I thought it might have been some kind of superstition that I wasn't aware of. Like being wary of black cats or something. I recognize that I made this up???

Barbara


message 26: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments Barbara, that works for me. I keep thinking it'll come back later & we'll figure it out. I hope so. Then again, there are just oddities in this world. ;-)

deb


message 27: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments Regarding the man who spit on the cats: I had no idea what to think of that or why it was even in the story. I like Barbara's idea of a superstition. Because once the cats were gone, the man was no longer clean, with his hair combed, and yet he spit anyway...at nothing.

Could the cats be a euphemism for something else?


message 28: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 02, 2010 08:40PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments To the end of Part 1

I just finished part one and love the dramatic last line.

Similar to the guy whose life's enjoyment seems to be spitting on the cats, we find another person the "Old Asthma Patient" whose "occupation" is "counting out dried peas from one pan to another."

Perhaps Camus is using these extreme examples to show that life is absurd and it is up to each individual to give it meaning. What that thing is varies from person to person. I thought of that when I read in the art thread JoAnn's mention of the tedium an artist must have felt when creating her paper creation. It isn't work or tedium if you do something you enjoy. Buddhists say one has to try to find the joy in doing the most mundane of tasks. And Christians say to do each task as if you were doing it for Christ.

I think I get this notion from Camus other work The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

------------------
Barbara wrote: I thought perhaps that it wasn't that they didn't think of the plague but that they were in denial. The plague, in their minds, was something out of the middle ages.
--------------------

I think it was a matter of not wanting to take responsibility or have accountability.

on p48 "he said he knew quite well that it was plague and, needles to say, he also knew that, were this to be officially admitted, the authorities would be compelled to take very drastic steps. This was, of course, the explanation of his colleagues' reluctance to fact the facts..."


message 29: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments on p48 "he said he knew quite well that it was plague and, needles to say, he also knew that, were this to be officially admitted, the authorities would be compelled to take very drastic steps. This was, of course, the explanation of his colleagues' reluctance to fact the facts..."

Reminds me of the early days of the AIDS epidemic.


message 30: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Kate---Reminds me of the early days of the AIDS epidemic.
-------------------

Good analogy, Kate.


message 31: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Part 2 page 70

This reference went right over my head. Can anyone tell me to whom Camus is referring? Thanks.

"They weren't one of those exemplary married couples of the Darby-and-Joan pattern..."


message 32: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments Good point, Kate. Knowing that there is a battle ahead might lead one to hesitate calling something what it is. This is probably particularly true when you will be one of the front-line "soldiers".

Alias, interesting point re. the extreme examples. For some reason i didn't even think of the pea mover but that IS odd. I guess i figured he'd found something to occupy his bed time.

Re. spitting on cats. I could find nothing here,
http://www.xmission.com/~emailbox/fol... However, at the end, in proverbs i learned, "All cats are bad in May. -- French proverb" Our story seems to begin in April and i think Tarrou was there earlier, so i don't think this fits, unless the old soldier stretched it to a year-round belief.

deborah


message 33: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Part 2 Page 82-83



I was so touched when I read why Grand obsesses over finding just the right words. It's so sad.

"A time came when I should have found the words to keep her with me- only I couldn't."


message 34: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Part 2 Page 92

St. Roch

Born at Montpellier towards 1295; died 1327. His father was governor of that city. At his birth St. Roch is said to have been found miraculously marked on the breast with a red cross. Deprived of his parents when about twenty years old, he distributed his fortune among the poor, handed over to his uncle the government of Montpellier, and in the disguise of a mendicant pilgrim, set out for Italy, but stopped at Aquapendente, which was stricken by the plague, and devoted himself to the plague-stricken, curing them with the sign of the cross. He next visited Cesena and other neighbouring cities and then Rome. Everywhere the terrible scourge disappeared before his miraculous power. He visited Mantua, Modena, Parma, and other cities with the same results. At Piacenza, he himself was stricken with the plague. He withdrew to a hut in the neighbouring forest, where his wants were supplied by a gentleman named Gothard, who by a miracle learned the place of his retreat. After his recovery Roch returned to France. Arriving at Montpellier and refusing to disclose his identity, he was taken for a spy in the disguise of a pilgrim, and cast into prison by order of the governor, — his own uncle, some writers say, — where five years later he died. The miraculous cross on his breast as well as a document found in his possession now served for his identification. He was accordingly given a public funeral, and numerous miracles attested his sanctity.

In 1414, during the Council of Constance, the plague having broken out in that city, the Fathers of the Council ordered public prayers and processions in honour of the saint, and immediately the plague ceased. His relics, according to Wadding, were carried furtively to Venice in 1485, where they are still venerated. It is commonly held that he belonged to the Third Order of St. Francis; but it cannot be proved. Wadding leaves it an open question. Urban VIII approved the ecclesiastical office to be recited on his feast (16 August). Paul III instituted a confraternity, under the invocation of the saint, to have charge of the church and hospital erected during the pontificate of Alexander VI. The confraternity increased so rapidly that Paul IV raised it to an archconfraternity, with powers to aggregate similar confraternities of St. Roch. It was given a cardinal-protector, and a prelate of high rank was to be its immediate superior (see Reg. et Const. Societatis S. Rochi). Various favours have been bestowed on it by Pius IV (C. Regimini, 7 March, 1561), by Gregory XIII (C. dated 5 January, 1577), by Gregory XIV (C. Paternar. pont., 7 March, 1591), and by other pontiffs. It still flourishes.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13100...


message 35: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 03, 2010 06:13PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Part 2 Page 100- 105

After reading about Grand I think one could put him in the cat spitter and bean counter category.

In his search for the perfect word he gushes,"evenings, whole weeks, spent on one word, just think ! Sometimes on a mere conjunction!"

When Rieux ask him how his project is coming along he says, "I don't know. But that's not the point, Doctor; yes, I can assure you that's not the point."

The point like the other two men is to find purpose and joy in the act. It really doesn't matter if others think spiting on a cat, counting beans or searching for the perfect word is absurd.

I could be off base, but that is how I am understanding it.


message 36: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments First, Alias, thank you for the story of St. Roch.

Secondly, i wondered whether or not to put Grand in the same category as the spitter & the counter. While words appear quite important to him, i began to wonder if his end game isn't without a purpose--a book, perhaps. It probably doesn't make a difference, given your take that finding a purpose & joy is the ideal.

I haven't read any more in the book & am still at page 100. Later today i'll return to it. (I had to finish a library book, which is not renewable.)

deborah


message 37: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1139 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Part 2 Page 100- 105

After reading about Grand I think one could put him in the cat spitter and bean counter category.

In his search for the perfect word he gushes,"evenings, whole weeks, spent..."


I totally agree with your post Alias. While it could be viewed that there might be an ultimate purpose he clearly is never going to get there at this speed. And so it is to find purpose and joy in the act itself.

Barbara


message 38: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 04, 2010 07:54AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Part 2

page 113


I really love the way Camus writes. In a section where he talks of how summer used to be the beach, sunlight, and fun he writes, "Plague had killed all colors, vetoed pleasure."

Page 117

The asthma pea counter says, "It's a topsy-Turvy world..."

Later on the same page, he notes, "He couldn't bear the sight of a watch, and indeed there wasn't one in the whole house. Watches, he said, are silly gadgets, and dear at that." "Time for him was reckoned by these pans and he could take his bearing in it at any moment of the day."

I think these statements further illuminate the idea that the world is absurd (in the philosophical sense) and we try to impose order (watches/time) on it. Ignoring that time is a man made construct, but it helps to give us a purpose and grounds us.

I could be way off on this, but that is how I'm interpreting it.

Reading Father Paneloux's sermon made me think of Kate's comment where she thought of the AIDS epidemic. Blame the victim.


message 39: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments Just starting Part II. I'm going to catch up with all of you today! ;)


message 40: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments Part 2

In the first section of part 2, Camus really gives us the feeling of isolation the townsfolk felt after the gates were shut. Not only were they isolated from their loved ones who were outside the gates, but couldn't even communicate with their neighbors - furthering the feeling of isolation.

This really struck a chord with me, given my current health situation. Not only am I, in a sense, isolated from the outside world (besides the Internet), communication within the walls of home can become strained.

Life imitates art?

Could this be another of Camus' extreme examples of absurdity of life? Without giving our own lives meaning, we feel isolated from others?


message 41: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Jessica: Could this be another of Camus' extreme examples of absurdity of life? Without giving our own lives meaning, we feel isolated from others?
-------------

I think that is key, Jessica. We can't seek meaning outside of ourselves. We are all on our own journey.

I read somewhere that even when two people experience the same event, they experience it differently because of the experiences and history they bring with them.

Then there is the relatively new scientific notion that once you interact with something, that thing is no longer the same. Even looking at it changes it on a molecular level. I'm not explaining this last thing well. Does anyone know what this scientific phenomena is called ?


message 42: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments In the second section section of Part II, the characters experience an isolation from love. Grand talks of the losing his wife because he couldn't find the words to keep her. Rambart is asking for help to get out of quarantine so he could be reunited with his love. Rieux, of course, is isolated from his wife who was sent to the sanatorium.

So none of these separations could have been prevented.

Then Camus starts talking about "abstraction" when dealing with the families of the afflicted. I wonder if he uses the term in the context of taking away, or separating, the sick from their families, or the narrator (who I think is Rieux) reducing his interactions with the families and the afflicted to only what is pertinent - diagnose, call the ambulance, get out.

The mother says, "Have some pity, Doctor!" Later is the profound statement, "One grows out of pity when it's useless."

I'm starting to see more and more the examples of Camus' ideas on the absurdities of life. I've often heard people say that it doesn't do any good to get upset over things one cannot control, which is true (but against human nature, I think). Here Camus gives us perfect examples of such.

What I'm taking from this: One cannot give their life purpose if their emotions are wasted on useless situations.

Or something like that. I may not be explaining it right. It's in my head, I just can't get it out. :\


message 43: by madrano (new)

madrano | 3510 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Then there is the relatively new scientific notion that once you interact with something, that thing is no longer the same. Even looking at it changes it on a molecular level. I'm not explaining this last thing well. Does anyone know what this scientific phenomena is called ? "

A wise woman would wait until Libyrinths saw this post & let her answer your question. Sadly, i am not a wise woman, so i'll wade in here. Is this what you mean?

COMPLICATED VERSION:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%...

MEDIUM EXPLANATION:
http://www.higgo.com/quantum/laymans.htm

EASIER ONE, but full of foolishness: http://www.galactic-guide.com/article...

HOWEVER, this may not be what you mean at all & i've just spent my time confusing myself. (Yet again.)

Jessica, i like your interpretation about meaning in our lives & isolation. Again, it is yet another thought to keep in mind as i continue reading.

deborah


message 44: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments In the third section of Part II, the narrator talks of Father Paneloux starting the "Week of Prayer" and how the general consensus was, "It can't do any harm."

Then the Father gives the congregation a finger-shaking on that Sunday, saying the plague was the result of their self-isolation from God.

But with Camus' philosophy being that life has no rational meaning, why the God speech? Is life absurd without a belief in a deity?

Maybe I'm looking to hard into this. Maybe I should just read the story as a story and not as an allegory for the philosophical beliefs of Albert Camus. :\


message 45: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments madrano wrote: "Alias Reader wrote: "Then there is the relatively new scientific notion that once you interact with something, that thing is no longer the same. Even looking at it changes it on a molecular level. ..."

Schroedinger's Cat is an old quantum physics theory (and my son's favorite). He's tried to explain it to me many times. If I remember correctly, the theory of blah, or blah theory, states that an object is not real until it is observed. Or something.

Maybe I should wait until my son comes home to explain it to me again. I'll have him read Alias' post to see if it is the same theory.

:D


message 46: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Then there is the relatively new scientific notion that once you interact with something, that thing is no longer the same. Even looking at it changes it on a molecular level. I'm not explaining this last thing well. Does anyone know what this scientific phenomena is called ? "

My son says it sounds vaguely like the Quantum Theory of Observation (previously referred to by me as the Blah Theory or Theory of Blah - like I can remember these things). He says the theory states that once an object is observed it "collapses into existence."

Is this what you were referring to? The theory regarding Schroedinger's Cat falls under the Quantum Theory of Observation.


message 47: by Jessi (new)

Jessi (JessiBee) | 33 comments My kitty, Juju, made her own comment on my book selection. You can see it here

or

http://jessiebee.tumblr.com/post/4974...


message 48: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Thanks ! I think that's it, Deb. Quantum physics. No wonder I couldn't explain it ! Though this is the first I heard of the dead cat experiment. I think the one I heard of was looking at a plant.

"Your consciousness affects the behaviour of subatomic particles"

jess- states that an object is not real until it is observed. Or something.

Maybe I read an article and didn't understand it. Very likely as it was about quantum physics !
What I was thinking has more to do with reality changing by just observing it.

ANYway, Camus may have been ahead of his time, but not this much ! :)

Thanks guys.


message 49: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Jessica wrote: "In the second section section of Part II, the characters experience an isolation from love. Grand talks of the losing his wife because he couldn't find the words to keep her.Rambart is asking for help to get out of quarantine so he could be reunited with his love...."

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I just finished Part 2 last night.

I was thinking Rambart is selfish. Until he decides to help fight the plague and not think of his own wants, the plague will continue. The plague will not leave until the lesson is learned. Gosh, that sounds very Father Paneloux. I must be on the wrong track.


message 50: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 12707 comments Jessica wrote:Then the Father gives the congregation a finger-shaking on that Sunday, saying the plague was the result of their self-isolation from God.

But with Camus' philosophy being that life has no rational meaning, why the God speech? Is life absurd without a belief in a deity?..."

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I think Camus thinks more along the lines of Rieux, who is an atheist. He says the priest can think the way he does because he has never really seen death. The parish priests who do see death never believes the way Father Paneloux does. When Rieux is asked directly if he believes in God, he say if he did believe in a all powerful God he wouldn't fight the plague.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Plague (other topics)
Franny and Zooey (other topics)
The Stranger (other topics)
The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (other topics)
L'Étranger (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Albert Camus (other topics)
J.D. Salinger (other topics)
John Wray (other topics)
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