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.