How does a captive/captor relationship become a guest/host relationship in the Guest?

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simoncat | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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I love this story. Writing about it is really a pleasure. This story is filled with irony and paradox. From a French point of view, Daru must take an Arab prisoner to French prison. From an Algerian point of view, Daru is an outsider taking a countryman to an outsider's jail. Poor Daru is caught between this. Although Daru loathes the violence that this Arab has purportedly inflicted, he loathes (perhaps more) the thought of himself as an extension of imperial France. Daru decides to treat the Arab as a guest. In a very simple and touching scene, Daru shares a modest dinner with the Arab. Very little is said but they eat together; it is a communion between host and guest in a land that is disputed by their respective countries. Thus the obvious question becomes, who is the host and who is the guest? Daru feels exiled everywhere else but Algeria but at least Daru has a name. The Arab in this story remains a nameless prisoner under an occupier’s law. We can debate who might be the host and who might be the guest but Camus makes it clear that these are simply two men caught in a world that refuses to let them be brothers.



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