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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Excerpts from 'The Plague'


In short, we returned to our prison house, we had nothing left us but the past, and even if some were tempted to live in the future, they had speedily to abandon the idea - anyhow, as soon as could be - once they felt the wounds that the imagination inflicts on those who yield themselves to it.

But, naturally enough, this prudence, this habit of feinting with their predicament and refusing to put up a fight, was ill rewarded. For, while averting that revulsion which they found so unbearable, they also deprived themselves of those redeeming moments, frequent enough when all is told, when by conjuring up pictures of a reunion to be, they could forget about the plague. Thus in a middle course between these heights and depths, they drifted through life rather than lived, the prey of endless days and sterile memories, like wandering shadows that could have acquired substance only by consenting to root themselves in the solid earth of their distress. Thu, too, they came to know the incorrigible sorrow of all prisoners and exiles, which is to live in a company with a memory that serves no purpose.

All I maintain is on that this earth there are pestilences and there are victims and it's up to us so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences.

Next day these fancies would have passed and qualms of doubt returned. But for the moment the whole town was on the move, quitting the dark, lugubrious confines where it had struck its roots of stone and setting forth at last, like a shipload of survivors, toward a land of promise.

So all a man could win in the conflict between plague and life was knowledge and memories

And when the train stopped, all those interminable seeming separations which often had begun on this same platform came to an end in one ecstatic moment, when arms closed with hungry possessiveness on bodies whose living shape they had forgotten.

For the moment he wished to behave like all those others around him who believed, or made believe, that plague can come and go without changing anything in men's hearts.

The leveling out that death's imminence had failed in practice to accomplish was realized at last, for a few gay hours, in the rapture of escape.

In short, they denied that we had ever been that hag-ridden populace, a part of which was daily fed into a furnace and went up in oily fumes, while the rest, in shackled impotence, waited their turn.

....we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.

4 comments:

cathatfished said...

i'd rather be one of the 'pestilences' then a victim.
but i guess thats just me :)

BehindKlosedDoors said...

dude hows "above average"? readable types?

Atish said...

definitely :)

Shreyas said...

yaar i dont know what you are talking abt...maybe i shud have read the post hehe :D