Document Type

Junior Honorable Mention

Award Date

Spring 2012

Course Name

Idea of the Individual


Dr. Adam Kotlarczyk


In her piece, “The Centripetal Structure of Camus’s La Peste,Jennifer Waelti-Walters explains her idea that the narrative and plot of The Plague form a circular movement. There is a centripetal force that pulls all predominant characters and images to the center. Waelti-Walters determines that Rieux, the protagonist doctor, is this central figure. Though an apt analysis, her argument has a single flaw: her placement of Cottard within this circle does not accurately reflect his place in the novel. Though Waelti-Walters acknowledges Cottard as Rieux’s counterpart, she places Cottard next to other characters such as Tarrou, Rambert, and Othon, who have closer, more intimate relationships with Rieux. My model, which adds a new twist to her idea, still captures the core ideas of Waelti-Walters’ model while addressing Cottard’s misplacement by putting him outside of the circle entirely.



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