April 13 , 2010

The Plague


The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that tells the story of medical workers finding solidarity in their labour as the Algerian city of Oran is swept by a plague. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. The characters in the book, ranging from doctors to vacationers to fugitives, all help to show the effects the plague has on a populace. The narrative tone is similar to Kafka's, especially in The Trial, wherein individual sentences potentially have multiple meanings, the material often pointedly resonating as stark allegory of phenomenal consciousness and the human condition. Camus included a dim-witted character misreading The Trial as a mystery novel as an oblique homage. The novel has been read as a metaphorical treatment of the French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II.
Although Camus's approach in the book is severe, his narrator emphasizes the ideas that we ultimately have no control, and irrationality of life is inevitable. Additionally, he further illustrates the human reaction towards the "absurd"; The Plague represents how the world deals with the philosophical notion of the Absurd, a theory which Camus himself helped to define.

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In the speech he gave upon accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, Albert Camus said that a writer "cannot serve today those who make history; he must serve those who are subject to it." And in these twenty-three political essays, he demonstrates his commitment to history's victims, from the fallen maquis of the French Resistance…

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