Literature Study GuidesThe PlaguePart 5 Chapter 29 Summary

The Plague | Study Guide

Albert Camus

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The Plague | Part 5, Chapter 29 | Summary

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Summary

February rolls around, and the town's gates are opened. People can come and go, and they do. The trains are full. People are celebrating. Rambert can finally see his wife, something he has been longing to do. But he has also been changed by his experience. When she arrives on the train, she is excited to see him, while he has conflicting feelings. The narrator reminds readers that even though some people are reunited with their loved ones, others have lost their loved ones permanently.

Amidst all the activity, Dr. Rieux goes for a walk. He ponders the nature of hope and the ways it leads to problems. Some hopes are in vain, and some people hope for a greater meaning or purpose yet end up disappointed.

Analysis

The narrator returns to the idea of the "parted lovers" as the action of the story winds down. There are two groups of "parted lovers" in Oran: those who are reunited and those who are not. Raymond Rambert is an example those who are reunited, and through his experience readers see the difficulties these pairs face. One person experienced the suffering of Oran through the plague and the other did not. Yet Rambert, like all those who are reunited, is already trying to put the whole experience behind him.

Dr. Rieux is the example of someone whose lover is lost (though it was not to plague). For this group, the end of the plague is a starting place for a new chapter of suffering. Dr. Rieux's lonely, thoughtful walk is juxtaposed in this chapter with the general atmosphere of celebration in the town. He concludes that those, like Rambert, who simply wanted human love have a chance of finding it and being satisfied. Those, like himself and Tarrou, who hope for something "more" may never find it.

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