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The Plague | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 The "unusual events" of the story, told by an as-yet-unnamed narrator, begin in the port town of Oran, Algeria, in the 1... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 As Dr. Bernard Rieux is leaving his surgery one April morning, he steps on a dead rat and kicks it aside. He tells the c... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 It turns out M. Michel's death is just the first of several similar deaths all over town. The narrator explains that som... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Dr. Rieux calls his colleague, Dr. Richard, and they discuss the sickness. Dr. Rieux wants to quarantine patients with t... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 The narrator explains a plague is similar to a war: common in all times and places, yet, somehow surprising. Also, peopl... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 6 Joseph Grand, Cottard, and Dr. Rieux are discussing the plague, though no one wants to say the word plague. Joseph Grand... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 7 A meeting with the Prefect of Oran has been set, and Dr. Rieux and Dr. Castel ride together to attend. Rieux tells Caste... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 8 Town leaders post fliers that inform the public about the illness and what they are doing about it (measures such as kil... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 9 Under quarantine, the citizens of Oran are lonely and afraid. They suddenly begin to think of all the loved ones who liv... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 10 As activity in Oran grinds to a halt, the people begin to blame the town authorities for their situation. And although h... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 11 The town is about a month into the plague, and there is another sharp increase in cases. A Week of Prayer is declared, a... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 12 Anxiety increases to panic in Oran. Joseph Grand and Dr. Rieux talk at a cafe a few days after Father Paneloux's sermon,... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 13 Rambert is not rushing the gates, but he has been trying everything he can think of to get the authorities to let him le... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 14 The death toll in Oran continues to accelerate to more than 700 per week as summer sets in and the weather turns even ho... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 15 The number of dead continues to escalate, and the serum that finally arrived does not seem to be working. Mme. Rieux, Dr... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 16 Tarrou manages to get several people to volunteer in the fight against the plague. The narrator has some opinion about w... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 17 Rambert decides he will have to pursue illegal means to escape Oran. Cottard hears Rambert share this sentiment with Dr.... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 18 It is the height of summer, the weather is still hot, and the plague continues in Oran. The people of the town are like ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 19 Weeks pass and the people of Oran are becoming apathetic about the plague. Dr. Rieux is still treating patients, and Ram... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 20 Rambert is still trying to escape Oran. Arrangements have been made, and his escape attempt is scheduled in two weeks. I... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 21 Near the end of October, Dr. Castel's new anti-plague serum is ready to test. M. Othon's son is the first trial, and it ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 22 Father Paneloux has been working as part of Dr. Rieux's volunteers and has been "at the forefront of the fight" against ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 23 It's All Soul's Day, but no one wants to visit the graves of their loved ones because they "no longer wished to be remin... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 24 The quarantine camps, with their smell and the sense of dread they inspire, lower morale among the citizens of Oran. Peo... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 25 The residents of Oran no longer think of the future. Morale is very low, but patients are a little more cooperative with... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 26 People are still dying, but in far fewer numbers. It might be that the serum is working, or simply that the plague ran i... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 27 Although the narrator notes that Tarrou's journal seems less objective than before, he still uses it as a reference. The... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 28 Tarrou comes down with plague symptoms, and Dr. Rieux does not want to quarantine him. In defiance of normal procedures,... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 29 February rolls around, and the town's gates are opened. People can come and go, and they do. The trains are full. People... Read More
Part 5, Chapter 30 Dr. Bernard Rieux confesses that he is the narrator, explaining that he talked to many different people during the plagu... Read More
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