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Defoe is a master of depicting the realism of human suffering during the plague through his usage of powerful images and evocations of sound. He tells stories of nursing mothers who transmit the plague to their children; fathers whose entire households are wiped out; and beloved family members left to moulder alone in abandoned houses. The streets were alternately empty or populated with people screaming in pain or mourning. The swelling from the plague caused people to go insane, sometimes trying to burn their own skin or throwing themselves into burial pits to relieve their suffering. Londoners lamented the loss of their freedom, autonomy, and sanity as houses were shut up. They embraced religion and poured out anguished confessions and asked for redemption. Defoe's work is a testament to human fortitude and endurance, but it is also a record of the tremendous pains and privations suffered by the population. The first person narrative personalizes the experience for the reader and puts the plague in a more personal context rather than just listing facts.