How does it sound in Your mind? – A Passage from The Plague

I read a passage from The Fall for fun the other week. Hans expressed surprise at the way I read it, saying he had a different idea of the passage in his mind. Of course, that is one of the many beauties of literature. But we thought it would be a fun experiment to select a passage from The Plague, which we are reading now, and both do a  reading, without hearing the other, and see how it sounds, the differences, the similarities. We chose a very descriptive passage from The Plague. After doing the reading, I’m not too sure if this passage, with it’s emphasis on concrete description and lack of metaphor, offers the wide range of interpretive possibilities that something less concrete might reveal, but it’s still a fun experiment!

Here’s Jarrod’s reading from The Plague (p39-40, Vintage International Paperback).

Here’s Hans’ reading of the same passage.


I was interested in reading this passage because its “seesaw” feel to it. The list of images that come to Dr Rieux’ mind becomes more and more intense and fantastic, you can see the terror of the plague looming over his mind’s eye… until it falls away when the real city is heard and seen once more, a city that by its very sounds and images refutes something as horrible as the plague. Yet then again the horror creeps closer as he remembers the Athenians fighting each other in the dusk on the sea’s shore. A sea that this time Camus does not allow to be gentle and soothing, on the contrary.

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