The Plague Part 2 (Section 2)
With no cars or ships coming into Oran, the city has a sort of deadness to it. Soon there are more restrictions: gas is rationed, and food sales and the use of electricity are restricted. The radio has begun announcing the daily number of deaths, but like Dr. Rieux's inability to really feel the reality of a hundred million plague deaths, the citizens, even given these numbers, want to believe the plague is temporary. The citizens wander the streets in the afternoon, frequent the picture houses and cafes, and Oran almost has the appearance of a town on holiday.
Cottard's odd enthusiasm at the plague's escalation continues, and Dr. Rieux finally learns some more interesting details from Grand about Grand's life. His young wife Jeanne, left him many years ago, and is still tormented by her memory and the realization that: "A time came when I should have found the words to keep her with me--only I couldn't."(pg. 83).
Raymond Rambert approaches Dr. Rieux, hoping that the doctor might be able to give him some sort of official certification of good health that will let him leave Oran and return to his wife in Paris, whom he misses desperately. When Rieux says Rambert's leaving is impossible, Rambert replies:
"... you can't understand. You're using the language of reason, not of the heart; you live in a world of abstractions." Part 2, pg. 87
This is the struggle of the whole town in this reign of the plague: "... the dreary struggle in progress between each man's happiness and the abstractions of the plague." Part 2, page 91