The Plague Part 4 (Section 4)
Though the citizens of Oran are reluctant to believe the plague might be ending, during suddenly cold January, the deaths start to taper off. And the narrator tells us:
"... once the faintest stirring of hope became possible, the dominion of the plague was ended." Part 5, pg. 272
On January 25, the authorities announce that the epidemic is beaten, an announcement that sends the townspeople parading through the streets in celebration, even though the gates will remain locked and other restrictions will be in effect until the danger is definitively gone. Tarrou, Rambert, and Rieux briefly join with the crowds, and Tarrou sees a cat run out of the darkness. The old cat man will be happy, he thinks, but when he returns to look for the cat man on his street, he finds that the man no longer emerges.
Tarrou's diary remarks on Dr. Rieux's mother, who reminds him of his own mother--both women have a quiet and self-effacing manner that Tarrou finds noble. Cottard, who begins to slide into a clandestine life again, also gets a lot of attention in Tarrou's diary, and one day after Tarrou walks home with Cottard, two government officials are waiting at Cottard's door. Cottard runs into the darkness to avoid them.
Dr. Rieux is met in the hall by his mother and told that Tarrou is sick, just after he had decided that:
"Yes, he'd make a fresh start, once the period of abstractions was over..." Part 5, pg. 282.
After a night of wild storms, during which both the doctor and his mother keep watch over Tarrou, Dr. Rieux's friend enters the worst stage of the disease and they can only watch as Tarrou dies. His friend dead, Rieux thinks:
"So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories." Part 5, pg. 291
On top of all this, Dr. Rieux gets a telegram that he reads with little emotion: his wife died at the sanatorium a week ago.