This is from Michiku Kakutani’s “Pandemic Notebook” published in the New York Times Book Review on Sunday, May 17, 2020.
“Camus’s novel can also be read as an allegory about the struggle against the Nazi occupation of France. Like members of the Resistance, Dr. Rieux knew ‘there must be no bowing down’ to the plague–no compromise with evil, no resignation to fate. He identified with victims of the plague–‘ there was not one of their anxieties in which he did not share, no predicament of theirs that was not his’–and he knew the ‘essential thing was to save the greatest possible number of persons from dying.’
It’s this sense of individual responsibility, combined with his feelings of solidarity with others, that enable Dr. Rieux to hold fast to two not entirely contradictory truths: the understanding that we must remain ever vigilant because the plague bacillus, like the poison of fascism or tyranny, ‘never dies or disappears,’ and the optimistic belief that ‘what we learn in time of pestilence’ is ‘that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.'”
And that’s the quote of the day.