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The modern work I chose to examine was “The Guest” by Albert Camus. I chose this piece because I felt that it was easy to relate to the sense of isolation that was faced by the character Daru. The political theory and psychology in the piece were self evident as it played a big role on the actions of the character in his lonely state. In my opinion the title “The Guest,” suggests that there is more than one person that Daru doesn’t know about. The main character Daru can be examined to be a self-righteous, trusting, full-hearted person. His caring for the prisoner and actions toward him made him feel like he was doing the right thing to help out a fellow human being.
The political theory around this piece can be described as volatile in the sense that it assumes to the reader that a war is about to happen. “Then I’ll wait for the declaration of war!” and “there is talk of a forthcoming revolt.” bring awareness of the actual political unrest among the two feuding parties, the Algerian French colonial government and the Algerian Arabs. I believe this feud is what places Daru’s post in such a remote environment. The idea that Daru doesn’t know what exactly would be the reason for him having a gun would be further supported by the fact that his shotgun is in his trunk which means he obviously doesn’t use it. When Balducci told him that he “ought to have it near his bed” because if there is an uprising “no one is safe, were all in the same boat.” I believe he is hinting towards the fact that I think he knows people are following him to retreave the prisoner. I feel that the severe political unrest will begin to happen after the end of the story.
The psychological impact involved in Daru’s isolation was that he was caught up between the legal system that imposed itself on the Arab’s family quarrel and his emotions to do right as a man. When Daru said “every bit of this disgusts me, and first of all your fellow here.” I believe he was fighting with his inner morals which to him were to do the right thing and to not turn the Arab over but in turn, set him free. He doesn’t have any problem with his choice in refusing to turn him over and firmly stands by his decision. Instead of taking the prisoner off and setting him free, he wished that the Arab would just run away that way he would be alone with no decision to make. The statement “that man’s stupid crime revolted him, but to hand him over was contrary to honor” supports this entirely. The statement, “he could see nothing but the dark yet shining eyes and the animal mouth,” in my opinion means that he didn’t see the prisoner as a monster or a killer but just as a normal person incapable of murdering another human being. I believe that when Daru was feeding the prisoner and treating him like an actual human being the Arab developed some sort of Stockholm syndrome while in the custody of someone who I believe he grew to trust in a short amount of time. I think that when the prisoner asked Daru if he would come with them to the prison, he knew that his fellow Arabs were following him to get him back. I believe he was trying to protect Daru from what was going to happen. When Daru was walking the Arab south to the nomads where he would be safe, his heart grew heavy and I honestly don’t think that Daru wanted him to leave since they formed a very strange and mysterious bond among men. When Daru returned to find the message “you handed over our brother. You will pay for this.” written on his black board I believe he was unsure why they would be after him considering that he just let their brother go, not only with food but also with money. He finds himself felling misunderstood and what I believe is frightended when he dosent see anyone in sight.
The psychological impact in my opinion is greater on the concept of isolation more so than the political theory involed with the character and his struggles. I think the author did a good job dehumanizing the prisoner in an attempt to make Daru seem like he is still alone although someone is there. The imagery and detail also given make it easy to visualize just how alone and torn Daru actually is. I believe that the story’s title should be changed from “The Guest” to “The Unseen Guest” just to make it play a little more to the psychological aspect of the piece.
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