“The first thing that plague brought to our town was exile… that sensation of a void within which never left us, that irrational longing to hark back to the past or else to speed up the march of time, and those keen shafts of memory that stung like fire… (71).
“The truth is that nothing is less sensational than pestilence, and by reason of their very duration great misfortunes are monotonous. In the memories of those who live through them, the grim days of plague do not stand out like vivid flames, ravenous and inextinguishable, beaconing a troubled sky, but rather like the slow, deliberate progress of some monstrous thing crushing out all upon its path... (179).
“Now that the noises of vehicles and motors--the sole voice of cities in ordinary times--had ceased, was but one vast rumor of low voices and incessant footfalls, the drumming of innumerable soles timed to the eerie whistling of the plague in the sultry air above, the sound of a huge concourse of people marking time, a never ending, stifling drone that, gradually swelling, filled the town from end to end, and evening after evening gave its truest... expression to the blind endurance that ousted love from all our hearts... (185).
“It comes to this: like all of us who have not yet died of plague, he fully realizes that his freedom and his life may be snatched from him at any moment. But since he, personally, has learned what it is to live in a state of constant fear, he finds it normal that others should come to know this state. Or perhaps it should be put like this: fear seems to him more bearable under these conditions than it was when he had to bear its burden alone... (199).
“...The agony of a child was humiliating to the heart and to the mind. But that was why we had to come to terms with it... Paneloux assured those present [in his sermon] ... since it was God's will, we too, should will it. Thus, and thus only the Christian could face the problem squarely and, scorning subterfuge, pierce to the heart of the supreme issue, the essential choice. And his choice would be to believe everything, so as not to be forced into denying everything... (225) We must accept the dilemma and choose either to hate God or to love God. And who would dare to choose to hate Him“? (228).
“...Profiteers were taking a hand and purveying at enormous prices essential foodstuffs not available in the shops. The result was that poor families were in great straits, while the rich went short of practically nothing. Thus, whereas plague by its impartial ministrations should have promoted equality among our townsfolk, it now had the opposite effect and, thanks to the habitual conflict of cupidity, exacerbated the sense of injustice rankling in men's hearts... (236-237).
“I have realized that we all have plague… I only know that one must do what one can to cease being plague-stricken… (252). I know, too, that I’m not qualified to pass judgment on others… All I maintain is that on 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… (253).
“It could only be the record of what had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers… He knew... that the plague never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years... that it bides its time... and that perhaps the day will come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up... again...” (308).