The Plague Quotes

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The Plague Quotes

Quote 1: "... [in Oran] everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits. Our citizens work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich. Their chief interest is in commerce, and their chief aim in life is, as they call it, 'doing business.'" Part 1, pg. 4

Quote 2: "You must picture the consternation of our little town, hitherto so tranquil, and now, out of the blue, shaken to its core, like a quite healthy man who all of a sudden feels his temperature shoot up and the blood seething like wildfire in his veins." Part 1, pg. 16

Quote 3: "... we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away..." Part 1, pg. 37

Quote 4: "They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences." Part 1, pg. 37

Quote 5: "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

Quote 6: "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

Quote 7: "... 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

Quote 8: "... the dreary struggle in progress between each man's happiness and the abstractions of the plague." Part 2, page 91

Quote 9: "I can understand this sort of fervor and find it not displeasing. At the beginning of a pestilence and when it ends, there's always a propensity for rhetoric. In the first case, habits have not yet been lost; in the second, they're returning. It is in the thick of a calamity that one gets hardened to the truth-in other words, to silence." Part 2, pg. 116

Quote 10: "Paneloux is a man of learning, a scholar. He hasn't come in contact with death; that's why he can speak with such assurance of the truth-with a capital T. But every country priest who visits his parishioners and has heard a man gasping for breath on his deathbed thinks as I do. He'd try to relieve human suffering before trying to point out its goodness." Part 2, pg. 126

Quote 11: "Many fledgling moralists in those days were going about our town proclaiming there was nothing to be done about it and we should bow to the inevitable. And Tarrou, Rieux, and their friends might give one answer or another, but its conclusion was always the same, their certitude that a fight must be put up, in this way or that, and there must be no bowing down... There was nothing admirable about this attitude; it was merely logical." Part 2, pg. 133

Quote 12: "... invariably their epical or prize-speech verbiage jarred on the doctor. Needless to say, he knew the sympathy was genuine enough. But it could be expressed only in the conventional language with which men try to express what unites them with mankind in general; a vocabulary quite unsuited, for example, to Grand's small daily effort..." Part 2, pg. 138

Quote 13: "No longer were there individual destinies; only a collective destiny, made of plague and emotions shared by all." Part 3, pg. 167

Quote 14: "The truth is that nothing is less sensational than pestilence, and by reason of their very duration great misfortunes are monotonous." Part 3, pg. 179

Quote 15: "... the habit of despair is worse than despair itself." Part 3, pg. 181

Quote 16: "... evening after evening gave its truest, mournfulest expression to the blind endurance that had outlasted love from all our hearts." Part 3, pg. 185

Quote 17: "... though they have an instinctive craving for human contacts, [they] can't bring themselves to yield to it, because of the mistrust that keeps them apart." Part 4, pg. 199

Quote 18: "Until now I always felt a stranger in this town, and that I'd no concern with you people. But now that I've seen what I have seen, I know that I belong here whether I want it or not. This business is everybody's business." Part 4, page 210

Quote 19: "No, Father. I've a very different idea of love. And until my dying day I shall refuse to love a scheme of things in which children are put to torture." Part 4, pg. 218

Quote 20: "No, we should go forward, groping our way through the darkness, stumbling perhaps at times, and try to do what good lay in our power. As for the rest, we must hold fast, trusting in the divine goodness, even as to the deaths of little children, and not seeking personal respite." Part 4, pg. 227

Quote 21: "And that, too, is natural enough. In fact, it comes to this: nobody is capable of really thinking about anyone, even in the worst calamity." Part 4, pg. 241

Quote 22: "... we can't stir a finger in this world without the risk of bringing death to somebody. Yes, I've been ashamed ever since; I have realized that we all have plague, and I have lost my peace." Part 4, pg. 252

Quote 23: "What's natural is the microbe. All the rest-heath, integrity, purity (if you like)-is a product of the human will, of a vigilance that must never falter. The good man, the man who infects hardly anyone, is the man who has the fewest lapses of attention." Part 4, page 253

Quote 24: "... once the faintest stirring of hope became possible, the dominion of the plague was ended." Part 5, pg. 272

Quote 25: "Yes, he'd make a fresh start, once the period of abstractions was over..." Part 5, pg. 288

Quote 26: "So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories." Part 5, pg. 291

Quote 27: "Once plague had shut the gates of the town, they had settled down to a life of separation, debarred from the living warmth that gives forgetfulness of all." Part 5, pg. 298

Quote 28: "... if there is one thing one can always yearn for and sometimes attain, it is human love." Part 5, pg. 300

Quote 29: "... what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise." Part 5, pg. 308

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