Literature Study GuidesThe PlaguePart 5 Chapter 26 Summary

The Plague | Study Guide

Albert Camus

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The Plague | Part 5, Chapter 26 | Summary



People are still dying, but in far fewer numbers. It might be that the serum is working, or simply that the plague ran its course. Overall, people are more hopeful, although some have been so changed by the experience they can not hope anymore. On January 25, the government officials declare the plague officially on its way out. Tarrou notices a cat and is happy that the spitting man will have some cats to spit on again.


The narrator likens the plague to an exhausted and exasperated athlete, who has suddenly lost all energy. He also says that the plague "declined more rapidly than we could reasonably have expected." Like something with a will of its own, unpredictably, the plague seems to be mostly over. Yet the narrator is careful to point out that nothing the people of Oran did seemed to defeat the plague. The plague serums, which have not worked, suddenly work. The measures they have been taking all this time finally seem to have an effect, through no fault of their own. "Really, however, it is doubtful if this could be called a victory. All that could be said was that the disease seemed to be leaving as unaccountably as it had come." To Camus, the struggle against the plague is the important thing, not the success of the fight.

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