Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Review of 'The Plague' by Albert Camus

"A gripping tale of human unrelieved horror, of survival and resilience, and of the ways in which humankind confronts death, The Plague is at once a masterfully crafted novel, eloquently understated and epic in scope, and a parable of ageless moral resonance, profoundly relevant to our times.  In Oran, a coastal town in North African, the plague begins as a series of portents, unheeded by the people.  It gradually becomes a omnipresent reality, obliterating all traces of the past and driving its victims to almost unearthly extremes of suffering, madness, and compassion."

This was one of the books that I had to read for my Philosophy of Literature class this semester.  Incidentally, I wrote a paper about one of the characters, Tarrou.  Just thought I'd mention that.  I'm just very happy with the paper that I cranked out (Note from after the fact: I got a B+ on that paper).

Two things that we talk about a lot in philosophy are Death and Suffering.  This book is chock full of each of these things.

Oran is a fairly average town filled with people going about their business and normal routines.  Suddenly hundreds of thousands of rats start dropping dead for seemingly no reason.  Then it spreads to the people of the town and they start dying in a similar fashion.  This is a novel all about facing hardship and figuring out what makes life worth living, despite the hardships that befall us.

Even though this is a book about suffering, I adore the relatively positive philosophy that comes out of this novel: we're all going to die, so find meaning in where you are and live your life while you can.  This is a message I find a lot more appealing for the New Year, as bleak of a reminder as this is.  But maybe that's just the kick in the pants that some of us need to get out there and actually DO the things that we resolve to do every New Year.

This book takes a while to get into, but once you're in, you're not going to want to let go.

I give 'The Plague':
Thanks for Reading!


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