Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 1st, 2020

This idea of illness as equalizer (though technically in this quote they are talking about the plague of rats and not yet of humans) really resonates in today’s pages. There’s another moment in these pages where this comes up — when Tarrou is describing the two tram conductors talking about someone who has died: “‘Even so, he seemed like anyone else,'” says one, and the other answers “‘No, he had a weak chest.'” We see people doing this so much these days, too, trying to find the reason why one person succumbs where another doesn’t, as if there is a map to follow, a clear way to reliably separate the population into categories. What happens if we are are all “like everybody?”

I’m also very interested in the way the narrator is taking shape … he reliably refers to “our” town, but then never uses the first person, referring instead repeatedly to “the narrator” in the third person. Also interesting how the narrator is beginning to bring in other “sources,” while maintaining a main narrative voice that nonetheless seems to know things that he probably wouldn’t, unless the narrator is actually Rieux himself? (I’m sure many of you already know the answer here but please don’t reveal it yet!) 

FOR TOMORROW: Read the next 7 or so pages (actually tomorrow it’s more like 8!), up to “The main thing was to do one’s job well.” 

ALSO ANNOUNCING OUR FIRST ZOOM MEETING TIME! Sunday, April 5th, at 2pm Eastern via Narrative Medicine Zoom.

6 thoughts on “Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 1st, 2020

  1. Anne C.

    The introduction of the second source, Tarrou, creates a feeling of historical evidence and support for the events. It also allows further conformation that the townspeople are generally not very nice. The mean spirited old man who spits on cats, the two conductors who haven’t a kind word for Camps their dead fellow worker, distances me from having compassion for their impending doom. The only person so far I feel connection to is Rieux. I also find the meandering journal entries of Tarrou opening up some deeper philosophical ideas – the passage about “how contrive not to waste one’s time” followed by a listing of time wasting actions is certainly a nod to absurdism and then the bander about fatalism with the hotel clerk…perhaps Tarrou is a “portal” into philosophical commentary?


  2. Julie Orfirer

    will there be an easy link to the zoom gathering as there was in the original email about the evening sessions we had this week? Thanks


  3. Patricia Dobkin

    I am getting a bit lost regarding where to look at and post. Is each day a separate post? If I don’t use social media, do I miss out on posts?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.