Part 2 (Section 1) Notes from The Plague

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The Plague Part 2 (Section 1)

The town gates have been locked, and the Prefect's office makes it clear that no one will receive special treatment regarding requests to come or go. Soon letters aren't allowed, for they might transfer infection; telephone calls are outlawed, and the only way townspeople can communicate with those stranded outside the gates is by short and impersonal telegrams. The narrator says:

"Thus, for example, a feeling normally as individual as the ache of separation from those one loves suddenly became a feeling in which all shared alike and--together with fear--the greatest affliction of the long period of exile that lay ahead." Part 2, pg. 67

Topic Tracking: Exile 3
Topic Tracking: Suffering 5
Topic Tracking: Love 2

Although this is serious suffering for the people of Oran, only one couple elects to bring the person who is stranded outside of the gates back in, where they will be exposed to the plague--this is Dr. Castel and his wife. All others accept the separation, though in the absence of their loved ones, they are lonely and even jealous. The townspeople are made even more miserable because they are stuck with the same dull activities inside the same dull town:

"Thus, too, they came to know the incorrigible sorrow of all prisoners and exiles, which is to live in company with a memory that serves no purpose... Hostile to the past, impatient of the present, and cheated of the future, we were much like those whom men's justice, or hatred, forces to live behind prison bars." Part 2, pg. 73

People like Rambert, who are not even natives to Oran, are feeling particularly exiled.

Topic Tracking: Exile 4

The townspeople are getting dependent upon the weather, and they are finding that language is not really working to convey sympathy any more. What saves them from real misery, ironically, is that they are in such despair over the absence of loved ones that they don't have the time or focus to panic about the horror around them.

Topic Tracking: Love 4

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