Narrative Medicine Book Club: April 16, 2020

At the end of part one (apologies for the missed post yesterday!) we have a very interesting conversation between Rambert, Tarrou, and the doctor. Rambert, who is still trying to escape the town, says he’s “‘had enough of people who die for ideas…What interests [him] is living or dying for what one loves.'” Rieux answers him, in a statement so important for our moment: “‘Man is not an idea.'” Rieux argues that the only way to fight the plague is through “decency,” and that in his case decency consists in doing his job. I appreciate the way the doctor makes clear that acts of decency are not the same for each of us, though the overlaying category stands. It is the collective decency, all of us acting together in tandem from wherever we are, that is our greatest weapon. “…The epidemic was everybody’s business and they all had to do their duty.”

FOR TOMORROW: Read first 7 pages of Part III, into second section, ending with Rieux’s statement “‘No one can deny that we’ve made progress.'”