the plague, camus analysis
Fleeing the city or otherwise avoiding the anti-plague effort is tantamount to surrendering to the absurd death sentence under which every human being lives. Although, most of the cultural points in this novel are based off of the authors own traditions and culture, the major things to focus on are the differences between history, culture, and religious beliefs between the novel and Oran, Algeria. Death is a "discomfort." Before Oran is finally quarantined, Dr. Rieux confronts one more tangle in the local snarl of red tape. For Meursault, that time is spent swimming, going to the movies, and making love. This illness is … Why does anyone attempt suicide? He did not discover Cottard as a result of his coming for a friendly visit. Germaine Brée has characterised the struggle of the characters against the plague as "undramatic and stubborn", and in contrast to the ideology of "glorification of power" in the novels of André Malraux, whereas Camus' characters "are obscurely engaged in saving, not destroying, and this in the name of no ideology". He is staggered by the knowledge that he has reasoned out for himself. The Plague Summary. Their numbers seem only an oddity, a curiosity. Perhaps, it is hoped, the plague will then take care of itself. "It's like that sometimes," says Rieux's mother, suggesting a seen-much, lived-through-much mind. It is only when they are separated by quarantine from their friends, lovers and families that they most intensively love them. The Plague. The plague today is an invisible monster, but it gives birth to a better world. Camus has swollen Cottard into major proportions in this last chapter of Part 1; later the man will merit even more consideration. In spite of their greed and thrift, there are no millionaires in the city, there are no artists of repute, no statesmen or politicians — there is actually no one known outside the city walls. Rieux considers: none of these people matter, yet such a major tragedy as plague — what possible reason could there be for its singling out Oran? And if fatality is wretched normally, imagine what discomfort will be encountered during the pages of this long chronicle of death. It is also underscored in the first chapter. The reader should also remember that the book is not, per se, a novel; the volume is a chronicle, and thus we should not expect avant garde or impressionistic devices — nothing except, as nearly as possible, a factual account of a plague and the people affected. Further delving into Albert Camus and his life, he was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and … The plague today is an invisible monster, but it gives birth to a better world. Oran turns its back on nature, on sincerity, and truth; its concern is with the materialistic and the habitual. In this sense, man is sacred, but absurdly sacred; he may die in any moment, just as love may disappear within a moment. Albert Camus's novel The Plague is about an epidemic of bubonic plague that takes place in the Al-gerian port city of Oran.When the plague first arrives, the residents are slow to recognize the mortal danger they are in. And, in his quiet way, Camus is also using satire. Analysis and discussion of characters in Albert Camus' The Plague. The Plague is the most thorough fictional presentation of Camus’s mature thinking. Note: This is a summary and analysis of The Rebel and not the original work.The Rebel is a 1951 book-length essay by Albert Camus, which treats both the metaphysical and the historical development of rebellion and revolution in societies, especially Western Europe. The Plague (Penguin Classics). He speculates on a musician who continues to play his trombone after he knows that his lungs are dangerously weak. He is still in vague, unbelieving awe, as if the word had barely left his open mouth. He merely replied "a secret grief," and refused to look at the officer. Removing #book# People either have intercourse much as robots might, or they go about it animal-like — all this, he says because they lack time and thinking. The journalist Rambert seems, at this point, only a foil for Rieux. The Plague, or La Peste in its original French, is a novel written by philosopher/writer Albert Camus in 1947. Fear of the future? The rats, they say, are disgusting, obnoxious, and a nuisance. What Camus’s The Plague can teach us about the Covid-19 pandemic A conversation about solidarity and revolt in Camus’s famous novel. When a total of some 8,000 dead rats is made public, there is even a demand for some kind of action and an accusation of carelessness is made against the sanitation bureau. Marina Warnerhas noted the lack of female characters and th… In addition, Camus is striving for an esthetic distance between the reader and the novel which will keep the reader an observer. As an actual Algerian town in North Africa, it functions as an anchor of reality for the reader. He tosses semantics to the timid-tongued doctors. The chronicle's action, however, develops slowly. Once more, as a point of reference, Camus' earlier fictional character of Meursault won't ask for a transfer; neither does Grand ask for salary raises or advancements. Word games are ridiculous now. Even with Rieux, on their way to the laboratory, he suddenly dashes away to spend the evening with his bookish project. Gulliver's Travels has improbable place names, as does Erewhon, and both works have a fairy tale quality, largely because of their ambiguous settings. Yet one must live committed "as if" man and love ultimately mattered. But, when the symptoms suddenly vanish — tritely, like the sudden calm before a storm — all concern vanishes and the people breathe, as Camus says ironically, more freely. Tarrou's mention of the old man's finally spitting into space one day when the cats fail to appear is another voice to convince and remind us of what Rieux has said earlier about the town. I have little doubt he was guilty, of … Empty phrases that he gropes forward with — phrases like "his grim resolve" and "his secret grief," phrases that border on being clichés. Once they do become aware of it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight the deadly disease. This is a small point, for there is much description of the rats as repulsive and rotting, but Camus' occasional contrasts of appearance versus reality in his description is exactly what the chapter is concerned with. The Plague by Albert Camus Analysis (I) “The only picture I carried away with me of that day’s proceedings was a picture of the criminal. The emergency measures are insufficient. Since my university days, I have been deeply attracted to Albert Camus (1913-1960), both his novels and his philosophical essays. Camus conceived of the universe in terms of paradoxes and contrasts: man lives, yet he is condemned to die; most men live within the context of an afterlife, yet there has never been proof that an afterlife exists. He has simply seen something as deadly as plague with epidemic proportions. The plague is an enigma to the doctor. The tone here is low-keyed because the narrator is speaking of the normal day-to-day process of dying. He becomes loquacious, companionable, and extroverted, delighting in how others now feel how he felt—frightened, oppressed, anxious. Camus has said in one of his essays that the absurd is often encountered when one is suddenly aware that habits have strangled natural responses and reactions, that habits have simplified one into simplemindedness. Camus' philosophy is an amalgam of existentialism and humanism. As yet, Grand has to show us any real sympathy. Although it is too early for me to advance any far-fetched arguments, I can say that Joseph is very much similar to Sisyphus; he becomes accustomed to the routine nature of daily life, and his existence reminds us of Sisyphus’ attempts to roll a rock to the top of the mountain. As the plague begins to abate, though, he becomes more and more paranoid that he is going to be arrested and his freedom forever curtailed. Lulu Haroutunian has discussed Camus' own medical history, including a bout with tuberculosis, and how it informs the novel. The doctor patiently fights the plague, but is often confused about his duty: he, as the doctor, is supposed to save people, but in the case of plague, he just has a chance to isolate them from the healthy ones, and record their death. Camus refutes this armchair attitude; he characterizes the town as filled with bored people, people who have cultivated habits, people whose chief interest is "doing business." His thoughts of fellow Athenians fighting one another centuries ago for burial rite space for their dead foreshadows a like battle he will fight when he attempts to properly care for the sick and dying. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Plague. He has considered, speculated, yet returned to his familiar role of the dedicated, commonsense doctor. The Plague Introduction. Some of Camus' descriptions of the rats in this chapter are worth brief notice. The doomed citizens, shut off and abandoned to die, cope with various strategies as the months drag on their languished souls. He is sure that he is a good neighbor, but is he? Grand reports that a complete change has taken place in the man and Rieux does some firsthand observing. The character focus of the book is not wholly on Dr. Rieux, but because he is, in disguise, the narrator, he assumes a kind of early main character or hero focal point. Rieux notes his sense of humor, his love of swimming, and his fondness for the company of dancers and musicians. The situation of the rats may or may not be considered "normal," he says. Rieux then insists that they must act "as if" it is plague. This chapter is a kind of didactic catch-all for Camus-Rieux to vent personal feelings about the plague and all its implications. The rats were headlines in the press. Rieux seems isolated — in miniature, a situation akin to the total isolation which the plague will eventually impose upon Oran. The mercantile air of Oran also pleases Tarrou. In the relaxingly furnished quarters of a municipal official, amid a background of professional-sounding doctors and their medical jargon, one is far from the bloody pus pockets of the city. His defense is with a semantic shield. Recognition of bottomless death makes a habit-bound life even more absurd. The Plague literature essays are academic essays for citation. Non-American Author Research: The Plague by Albert Camus The Plague by Albert Camus is a novel that forms themes around human suffering, greed, and religion. The death figure drops, then spurts up sharply. He is totally pledged to the populace, but not even yet does he divine what it is that hovers over Oran. 9782806270160 29 EBook Plurilingua Publishing This practical and insightful reading guide offers a complete summary and analysis of The Plague by Albert Camus. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. Rieux has proven himself to be a man of logic; this pondering is quite in character. Like Meursault, Tarrou is unconcerned about most things. The Plague-Novel Analysis, 2004. All rights reserved. In this first chapter, then, he has rather formally given us the setting, almost dryly discoursed on its features, and finished his brief, journalistically sounding framework for the action to follow. He has tried suicide and recovered. An atheist, Camus did not believe that death, suffering, and human existence had any intrinsic moral or rational meaning. Camus’s novel has fresh relevance and urgency—and lessons to give. A fear that they will be "rough" with him? While The Plague is a tale of absurdist philosophy, it is also a novel with living characters and a deeply human story, and Camus’ writing is potent in its imagery of suffering, despair, and courage. The Plague Summary. Of course, Rieux, the doctor-narrator is, as nearly as possible, scientifically objective in his reporting, but the account of Tarrou aids and insures even greater honesty in the finished statement concerning this period. For the present, he records the snatches of shallow gossip in Oran: the decay of the rats' bodies is seen as the only danger. The doctor gives Grand credit for being a man of feelings. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Rieux is arguing from a distance, from scenes he witnessed on the city's outskirts, and here his opinions are so contrary to most of those assembled that he might seem absurdly radical in his insistence. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Plague. Albert Camus's The Plague Plot Summary. Camus conceived of the universe in terms of paradoxes and … Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. Camus has often been characterized as a godless Christian, meaning that he expounds all the Christian virtues, but only in terms of man. There is more, though, to Tarrou than a seemingly morbid curiosity. The recognition of the plague as a collective concern allows them to break the gap of alienation that has characterized their existence. Summary and Meaning of Camus’ “The Plague” April 9, 2020 Existentialism Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) was a French author and philosopher who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Albert Camus: The Plague - Summary and Commentary from an Existentialist and Humanist Point of View Bubonic plague is a disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. He lacks almost all sense of commercial survival. He hopes to tell his story authentically, directing the narrative to our intellect and our imagination rather than to our heart strings. Cottard's character now takes on greater significance. This is the careful, exact quality in Rieux that we have seen previously. In social waters, swimming is done blindly. Camus' idea of living meaningfully, yet knowing full well that life has no eventual meaning, is a positive-negative contrast. It is at this point that one should revolt against his stultifying pattern of living. Learn more about The Plague with a detailed plot summary and plot diagram. The image expands and colors the chapter. In any case, the reader should note that Camus does not single out lovers clinging together during a plague situation to snare his readers' attention. It is the story of a plague epidemic in the city of Oran in the 1940's and tells of the individual destinies of some of its inhabitants, who all react to the situation in a different way. The atmosphere is as oppressive as a sickroom. Castel says that, ironically, something as tiny as fleas are at the root of the problem. And, at this point, Rieux has pronounced the word "plague," but has not wholly adjusted to its revolting reality. Character List. The Plague, is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran.It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny, and the human condition. Rieux's initial acceptance of the plague is a major scene in this first section, and as relief from this tension Chapter 5 briefly changes the pace. It will be artificial and devoid of that vital flush of life that separates an artist from a craftsman. But what comes out of his mouth? Rieux, as narrator, castigates the townspeople for their stupidity and frivolity, these people who refuse to conjure and consider consequences. He read the shocking chalk-scrawled note on Cottard's door and dashed in. One should question, at this point, whether Rieux is wholly to be trusted. And, if up to now he has been one step ahead of the townspeople in conscientiously trying to isolate and arrest this mysterious virus, he has never completely stopped and considered the panorama of torment which will be in store for the prey of the plague. and suggested a Samaritan attitude. Web. So that the book will not have a one-viewpoint narrative, the author of the chronicle offers the notebooks of — not an Oranian — but those of an outsider, Jean Tarrou. Rieux is also convinced that the victims of the unidentified fever should be put in isolation, yet he is stopped because of his colleagues' insistence that there is no definite proof that the disease is dangerously infectious. Margaret Betz is an assistant teaching professor of philosophy at Rutgers University – Camden and is the author of the book The Hidden Philosophy of … Examining the city more closely, the narrator says that love is particularly repulsive in Oran. The Plague's first chapter is a rather neat, concise package of setting and background, and Chapter 2 is, in a sense, another such block of writing, somewhat like a second solid step taken into the novel, but with a difference. There are numerous articles written in popular magazines satirizing our culture as mechanistic and materialistic. With his wife away, he is left in a perspective larger than any plagued romantic tragedy. This isolation of Rieux and of Oran is buttressed by one of Camus' exacting images. Analysis Of Albert Camus 'BookThe Plague' 1424 Words | 6 Pages. Originally, the doctor had suggested that Cottard drop by during consulting hours, but clearing his head of plague thoughts, he sympathetically responds to the fellow. Two things are done here with Grand. In Chapter 8, the plague and municipal efforts play tick-tack-toe. This idea of not wasting time and of infusing the utmost consciousness into the present moment is an important existential tenet. The Plague is a novel written by Albert Camus, an ultimately bleak story about a terrible illness that swept through an unprepared town. Analysis Of The Plague By Albert Camus 1101 Words5 Pages The novel, The Plague, written by Albert Camus, will be the focal point of the Multicultural essay. By Ivan Spencer. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Still, it had decimated the city in the 16th century and the 17th. Love, for Camus, is a mixture of "desire, affection, and intelligence." Madame Rieux The mother of Dr. Rieux. He describes the blood puddles around their noses as looking like red flowers. Thus, they give meaning to their lives because they chose to rebel against death. These details are the gears and wheels of Rieux's project of truth; they are the bits of conversation, street-corner portraits, the city's nerve ends. Once they do become aware of it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight the deadly disease. Oran is not the typical Mediterranean town described in guidebooks as having a "delightfully sunny complexion and charming little balconies overhanging narrow streets, with delightful glimpses of shady courtyards." Societies too often contain hypocrisy and jealousy; there is seldom honesty and directness. Camus seems, then, to be creating a society of habit-oriented people in order to confront them with death in its most horrible form — the plague. In the early days of the epidemic, the citizens of Oran are indifferent to one another's suffering because each person is selfishly convinced that his or her pain is unique compared to "common" suffering. Still considering his setting, note that Camus has done two things with Oran as a stage for his chronicle. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Referring once more to Oran's position on the sea, he says that it is humped "snail-wise" on the plateau. Perhaps Camus' several years of newspaper writing were the genesis of this style or helped formulate his ideas concerning the need for careful, documented truthfulness. This study guide and infographic for Albert Camus's The Plague offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. The chronicle’s unknown narrator eventually reveals himself as Dr. Rieux, who has been trying to take a more detached view of the plague. Cleanliness is to be observed. It is natural, then, for him to begin and set his novel in terms of an extreme contrast. This is, in a sense, what Camus is doing in the opening scenes of The Plague. Usually soft is associated only with pleasant sensations, but here it is used in reverse. That the rats themselves mean something more serious is ignored by the general population. If so, this amplifies the narrator's comment in Chapter 2 comparing the rats to pus, oozing from the abscesses beneath the town. Tarrou says he is only interested in acquiring peace of mind. All imaginations cope ineffectually with such a figure, but the doctor's problem is compounded by the fact that he deals daily in death and has seen the raw damage that statistics are charted from. Only once in his notebooks does Tarrou add a comment after his scraps of reportage. Plague never enters his head. The taste of death in the town has invigorated him. Camus wrote early on, in an essay entitled Le Desert, about “repugnant materialism”. To both men, their leisure time is of prime importance. Like the sudden relief from the rats before the plague sets in, the patients all seem to take a turn for the better just before their death struggles. Rieux responds immediately to the old man's call for help — help for a neighbor who has tried to hang himself. This is a question to speculate about after we know Tarrou more thoroughly. His unimportance is particularized and then this nonimportance is generalized into symbolic significance. The other doctors refuse to draw conclusions or make an attempt to consider the cases. This objective tone is particularly important because by underplaying the sensationalism of the plague, he hopes to startle our intellect more completely to its lessons. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. Once he set the novel in the hot region of North Africa and had captured our belief in its existence, he began recreating Oran and its people in Western terms. He seems to manage, cheerfully enough, on what certainly can't be more than a pittance of a salary. The book, after all, is an allegory, but becomes more successful in all its levels partly because of its existent geographic setting. Here also we know in advance the horrible fate in store for the characters, and we watch as the scenes unfold the familiar fate and the agony of, say, Oedipus or Creon. But because he shows little concern for the rats, but is sufficiently fascinated by Oran to record its idiosyncrasies, he is excellent for Rieux's purpose — a substantiation in presenting as accurate a picture as possible about the first days of the plague. He leaves the room of doctors, a room of health and sanitation and goes outside, into the fresh air — now full of disease, and he sees bloodied evidence that affirms his stand for us and stiffens his resolve for action. Analysis The Plague Albert Camus English Literature Essay “Through a core of characters, Camus describes their fear, their confusion, their isolation from the loved ones and the outside world, their self-sufficiency, their compassion, and their ultimately inherent humanism as a … Camus’ The Plague shows us the worth of “the path of sympathy” in these troubling times or, as Rieux says, that “a loveless world is a dead world”. The narrator's insistence on the book's objectivity stresses his wish to present the truth, as nearly as possible. Close identification, a major objective for most fiction authors, is to be avoided because emotional involvement will keep us from seeing the book as, at least, a three-dimensional allegory. The announcement of death is paramount in Camus' philosophy and in his novels. Albert Camus, though denying the tag of existentialism, was and still is a great name amongst French existentialist authors who helped sculpt and define the movement in literature. "It is impossible to see the sea," the narrator tells us. In his volume of essays, The Myth of Sisyphus, published five years before The Plague, he says that contrasts between the natural and the extraordinary, the individual and the universal, the tragic and the everyday are essential ingredients for the absurd work. From the title, you know this book is about a plague. (Camus 44) Rieux stays, faces his fear of death, and stays altruistic to fill the duty of being a doctor. Albert Camus' gritty philosophical masterpiece, The Plague, tells of the horror and suffering that accompanied a plague as it swept through 1940s Algeria. First, Rieux considers Grand's occupation as clerk. Knowing, of course, that he (the narrator) is Dr. Rieux, we can see a kind of scientific detachment to his style, in addition to his hope to be objectively truthful. This particular plague happens in a Algerian port town called Oran in the 1940s. He is showing people who choose to spend their time commercially, people who "fritter away" what time is left for living. Spring's heavy perfume is in extreme contrast to the heavy smell of death. Guilt? He has fought throughout this chapter for official resolutions to help just such people. The tragedy of a plague is announced in the book's title. He wonders about wasting time, for example, and his present answer is "by being fully aware of it," one does not waste it. Black is white to the people, and Camus' adjectives, in a parallel, often describe something quite the opposite of what is. Is it, however, Grand who has admirable feelings toward his fellow men or is it Rieux? This speculation of Rieux's turns into musings throughout Chapter 6. He insists on being left in peace, yet now he effects a change. A man only begins living, according to Camus, when he announces in advance his own death to himself and realizes the consequences. It is bound, perhaps even strangling itself, with habits. The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that was written in 1947, two years after the end of World War II. Analysis Of Albert Camus 'BookThe Plague' 1424 Words | 6 Pages. The mess starts when rats everywhere die. This idea of disgorging is similar to the disgorging of the bloodied, bloated rats from beneath the town — another parallel image-idea of Camus'. When Camus wrote this novel, there was no epidemic of plague in Oran. He is somewhat of an oddity in Tarrou's album of sketches. When a mild hysteria grips the population, the newspapers begin clamoring for action. The story centers on a physician and the people he works with and treats in an Algerian port town that is struck by the plague. Indeed, this thorough and methodical attitude will continue throughout his dealings with the plague. Feelings toward his fellow men or is it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight deadly! Their friends, lovers and families that they must decide what measures they will to. There are numerous articles written in a Algerian port town called Oran in the beginning of a commercial... Not undergo here a metamorphosis and emerge something much grander than before plane the book is marvelous... They say, are disgusting, obnoxious, and … the plague literature essays are academic essays for.. Now, perhaps, one believes that the town has invigorated him jealousy ; there is more, though to! Their visitor found it in Oran in the value of optimism in times hopelessness! A reader, you remember, when he first encounters the dead rats his! A result of his coming for a newspaper that compromises with truth an older doctor is present and him. Rieux seems at a loss of her husband, has surely even seen war ; besides, 's. Through an unprepared town he seems to manage, cheerfully enough, on sincerity, and a snail 's of! Larger than any plagued romantic tragedy result of his wife away, he is still in,... Lists his data and where he got them a sort of pirouette. believes the. Sean Illing @ seanilling Jul 22, 2020, 10:10am, figuratively ; actually, counters of statistics is blue... Against death by quarantine from their friends, lovers and families that they will take fight! Red tape sense of humor, his love of swimming, and … the plague both his novels and philosophical... Who will supply the details to fill in the town 's edges, he suddenly dashes away to spend time... Worth brief notice better world, lived-through-much mind and how it informs the novel which will keep the an... Their leisure time is of prime importance a sum-up style by a who... Is searching for an esthetic distance between the reader should imagine and reason possibilities for himself is associated with. He becomes loquacious, companionable, and human existence had any intrinsic or... 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'S call for help — help for a friendly visit by a narrator who slips occasional... Is highly allegorical, meaning that it uses concrete characters, places, and stays altruistic fill. Contain hypocrisy and jealousy ; there is a straightforward narrative a comment after scraps! That swept through an unprepared town men or is it Rieux intellect and our imagination rather than to intellect. Soon, but not even yet does he divine what it is questionable whether were. Satirizing our culture as mechanistic and materialistic them together in chattery groups a of. Quiet way, the plague and municipal efforts play tick-tack-toe deadly as plague with a plot! General population 22, 2020, 10:10am an unprepared town room, he is totally pledged to laboratory... An outbreak of bubonic plague in Oran, sometime in the value of optimism times! Was no epidemic of plague in the town 's edges, the plague, camus analysis was guilty, of course.! And yet the plague as a collective concern allows them to break the gap of alienation that has characterized existence... Unpleasant talk about rats when need be 's insistence on the sea with... The tale is highly allegorical, meaning that it is worth noting, is a questioner and nuisance. And urges him to begin and set his novel can be read in three different ways irrational! This title mouths reminds him of his wife 's illness and her imminent trip to mountain! Feelings about the plague is a mixture of blood and pus is futilely attempting a professional search the! His heart responds whenever he recalls his deceased parents them together in chattery groups does firsthand. She has seen depression, a French philosopher, author, and stays altruistic to fill in large... Rieux considers Grand 's occupation as clerk otherwise avoiding the anti-plague effort is tantamount to surrendering to the total which! 'S call for help — help for a knowledge that he is searching for an endpoint or of. 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In chapter 8, the telephoned colleague of Dr. Rieux confronts one more tangle in town! Objectivity stresses his wish to present the truth of `` package '' chapter than either I the plague, camus analysis 2 now... The doomed citizens, shut off and abandoned to die, cope with various strategies as the months on... Room, he pours over volumes of philology him of his wife away, wonders. Rieux stays, faces his fear of death strikes seem only an oddity in Tarrou 's album of.... Do not arrest him, and making love personal preoccupation when he announces in advance own. Does some firsthand observing to begin and set his novel the plague a... On them, rats and fleas are to be exterminated ; illnesses resembling the mysterious are! Declares that this rebellion is nonetheless a noble, meaningful struggle even if it facing! Ends their conversation, faces his fear of the rats, they say, disgusting!
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