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The Plague by Albert Camus
Transcript of The Plague by Albert Camus
1939-1945 Algeria Existentialism Who was Camus?
1913-1960 Discovery "The Outsider" It was cool to be an "existentialist" Discovery A story about a man who kills an Arab on a beach.
The sun dazzled him and made him do it.
The sun has a Janus face: It can make us warm and strong.
Or it can take away our choices.
Meursault is condemned to death. The book explores the nature of life and death, and what it means to live under a death sentence. Nobel prize winning writer
"A better writer than a storyteller"
Purveyor of "Absurdist Fiction" Albert Camus was the son of French expatriates living in the North African colony of Algeria, a "Pied Noir".
That gave him a sense of being French but also inspired him to side with the "underdog", as the Arabs often were.
Living by the Mediterranean gave him a love of sun and sea, and the dry desert wind. What does it mean to be alive?
Does God exist?
And if he does, does he care?
The universe is "cold and unfeeling"
We live the best way possible in the absurdity France was invaded in 1940 by the German War Machine.
Camus was trapped in Paris, exiled from his wife (home in Algeria)
He joined the Resistance producing propaganda and taking part in intelligence gathering against the Gestapo. In the Algerian town of Oran, during a spring day, rats start to die. Soon town-folk become sick with the Plague and begin to die. Dr Bernard Rieux begins to see the pattern in the deaths and mobilizes friends and health workers.
The town is quarantined. Rieux's wife is exiled far away in a sanatorium for her TB. As spring turns to summer, excitement and gaiety give way to ennui. In the cinemas, towns-folk watch the same film again and again. As the bodies pile up and the Plague takes a savage grip, bodies are removed from the town on tram cars and taken to the crematoria, outside the town walls... With the tireless work of Rieux and his colleagues the Plague is brought under control.
But many people die, and those left alive return to dancing in the squares.
But in between the absurd happenings are moments when being alive is the most exciting feeling...
"Live for the moment"