The Plague

Joseph Grand Character Analysis

An elderly municipal clerk of Oran who has never been promoted from his low-ranking job. His marriage to Jeanne also fell into loveless routine, and Jeanne left him. Grand struggles constantly with trying to express himself, and suffers over trying to find the right words. Because of this inability to communicate he could never protest his lack of work promotion or justify himself to Jeanne. Grand is also trying to write a novel, but he cannot get past the first sentence, as he wants every word to be perfect. Grand joins the anti-plague effort, and gets the disease but recovers.

Joseph Grand Quotes in The Plague

The The Plague quotes below are all either spoken by Joseph Grand or refer to Joseph Grand. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Absurdism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Plague published in 1991.
Part 1 Quotes

And this difficulty in finding his words had come to be the bane of his life. “Oh, Doctor,” he would exclaim, “how I’d like to learn to express myself!” He brought the subject up each time he met Rieux.
That evening, as he watched Grand’s receding form… He realized how absurd it was, but he simply couldn’t believe that a pestilence on the great scale could befall a town where people like Grand were to be found, obscure functionaries cultivating harmless eccentricities.

Related Characters: Joseph Grand (speaker), Dr. Bernard Rieux
Page Number: 46-47
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpLorem iLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Plague quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Part 2 Quotes

Grand, too, had suffered. And he, too, might – as Rieux pointed out – have made a fresh start. But no, he had lost faith. Only, he couldn’t stop thinking about her. What he’d have liked to do was to write her a letter justifying himself.
“But it’s not easy,” he told Rieux. “I’ve been thinking it over for years. While we loved each other we didn’t need words to make ourselves understood. But people don’t love forever. A time came when I should have found the words to keep her with me – only I couldn’t.”

Related Characters: Dr. Bernard Rieux (speaker), Joseph Grand (speaker)
Page Number: 82-83
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laboru

Grand went on talking, but Rieux failed to follow all the worthy man was saying. All he gathered was that the work he was engaged on ran to a great many pages, and he was at almost excruciating pains to bring it to perfection. “Evenings, whole weeks, spent on one word, just think! Sometimes on a mere conjunction!”

Related Characters: Joseph Grand (speaker), Dr. Bernard Rieux
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire The Plague LitChart as a printable PDF.
The plague.pdf.medium

Joseph Grand Character Timeline in The Plague

The timeline below shows where the character Joseph Grand appears in The Plague. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Absurdism Theme Icon
Later that day Dr. Rieux gets a call from a former patient of his, Joseph Grand, saying that his neighbor has had an accident. When Rieux arrives, he discovers that the... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...for Rieux’s Spanish patient, who welcomes it for his asthma. Rieux returns to check on Grand and Cottard, and he waits in Grand’s room for the police inspector to show up.... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
The police inspector arrives and Grand grows very anxious choosing the right words for his statement about Cottard. He settles on... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Joseph Grand visits Dr. Rieux, as it is his job (as a Municipal clerk) to count up... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
The narrator describes Grand, who is tall and thin and wears clothes that are too big for him. When... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Grand eventually settled into his austere lifestyle. He still experienced deep emotions and performed kind acts,... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Dr. Rieux visits Grand again and asks him about Cottard. Grand says that Cottard has been acting strangely gregarious... (full context)
Part 2
Absurdism Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...the plague. He talks excitedly to Dr. Rieux about how long the epidemic might last. Grand also confesses his past to Rieux, explaining that when he was young he had married... (full context)
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Since then Grand, too, had been trying to make a new start, and had struggled for years to... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Rieux and Grand go to a café to discuss the situation, and Grand explains the nature of his... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...anti-plague serum using the local bacillus, which is slightly different from the textbook plague microbe. Grand acts as a general secretary for the sanitation squads. Grand has “nothing of the hero... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
The narrator knows that readers will want examples of a “heroic” character, so he offers Grand, with his simple goodness and absurd ideal of expression, as an “insignificant and obscure hero.”... (full context)
Part 4
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...and his friends realize how tired they are, as they ceaselessly work against the plague. Grand often talks to Rieux about Jeanne, and Rieux in turn finds himself talking about his... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
...Father Paneloux (who has joined the sanitation league) joins the vigil and he, Rieux, Castel, Grand, and Tarrou watch to see if the serum has any effect on Jacques. (full context)
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...write a letter to his wife but struggles greatly with his words. The season reminds Grand of his courtship with Jeanne – which took place at Christmas – and he grows... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
As his condition declines, Grand asks Dr. Rieux to read through his papers. Most of them are variations of the... (full context)
Part 5
Absurdism Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
...people and having an ignorant, lonely heart. Rieux chronicles himself as he goes to visit Grand and Cottard, but finds a police cordon blocking off the street. Grand approaches at the... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Shaken by this incident, Rieux and Grand part ways, and Grand explains that he has written Jeanne a letter and is feeling... (full context)