Notes on The Plague Themes

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The Plague Topic Tracking: Love

Part 1

Love 1: The words that Dr. Rieux struggles for when he's saying goodbye to his wife indicate that he doesn't feel he's loved her and cared for her as well as he could have.

Love 2: The cat man's behavior, although a little odd, indicates he feels a kind of love for the cats.

Part 2

Love 3: The narrator explains that a great source of suffering is being physically separated from the people you love.

Love 4: The feelings motivated by love, especially the desire to see loved ones again, is more passionately felt by the citizens of Oran than the horror of the death around them.

Love 5: Joseph Grand is torn up by lost love, and is saddened by the idea that he was unable to keep his love with Jeanne alive by talking things through.

Love 6: The townspeople of Oran, including Rambert, find that memories they have for loved ones paralyze them--these memories keep them from being so miserable that they absolutely must fight against the plague.

Love 7: Rambert says that it is only worth living and dying for love, not for an idea.

Part 3

Love 8: Rieux's observation that "blind endurance... had outlasted love" supposes that enough suffering and long enough isolation from a loved one might kill love.

Part 5

Love 9: Dr. Rieux loses two major chances at being able to love at the chronicle's end--both Tarrou and his wife are lost to death.

Love 10: Dr. Rieux's conclusion is that loving humans is a more certain path to happiness than loving ideas.

Love 11: Love is mentioned as one emotion that all the citizens of Oran, and all the world, have in common.

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