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The Plague | Part 4, Chapter 25 | Summary



The residents of Oran no longer think of the future. Morale is very low, but patients are a little more cooperative with the doctors. M. Othon writes to Dr. Rieux, asking if the doctor can verify that it is time for Othon to be released from the quarantine camp. But when Othon is released, he decides to go back to the camp, this time as a volunteer. It makes him feel closer to his son who died.

The narrator gives updates on some of the other characters: Rambert, who unsuccessfully tried to get out of the town, contents himself with exchanging letters with his wife. Cottard is happily profiting from his "business" ventures. Grand becomes ill with the plague and asks Dr. Rieux to destroy his manuscript (which is still only one sentence, written 50 times with slight variations). But, surprisingly, the next day Grand seems better. Then another patient recovers from the plague. The asthmatic patient remarks that rats have begun to appear again in Oran—live ones. And just like that, plague deaths begin to decline. The worst is over.


This chapter draws parallels between Joseph Grand, Dr. Rieux, and Raymond Rambert. These men are all in relationships with women who are unavailable, and who can only be communicated with through letters. Rambert has little trouble writing these letters, and Grand has been unable to write a letter (as he comes down with the plague, he has managed to write eight words of a letter to her. "My dearest Jeanne, Today is Christmas Day and ..."). Dr. Rieux is somewhere in the middle—he does decide to write his wife a letter, and yet finds it "a laborious business, as if he were manipulating a language that he had forgotten."

The illness and sudden recovery of Grand mark the climax of the book. From here on, the death toll decreases.

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