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What is the psychological tension suggested by the alternations between flat, matter of...

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pickernose | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:36 PM via web

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What is the psychological tension suggested by the alternations between flat, matter of fact statements and densely metaphoric passages in "The Guest" by Albert Camus?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 16, 2012 at 12:28 AM (Answer #1)

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Camus' style of alternating between both styles of narration is one in which the condition of being is revealed.  For Camus, there is much in way of complexity intrinsic to human consciousness.  This is something that cannot be explained away.  The human consciousness is distorted and challenged at different points.  At one point, human choices becomes significant, reflective of far more than their original intent.  At the same time, human actions can be seen as futile.  Consider Daru's desire to craft a plan in which human freedom is maximized and one in which human culpability is reduced or falls flat.  It is one in which actions are carried out with banality and a sense of the mundane.  Daru hears something in the other room only to be the Arab relieving himself.  Daru believes that he has constructed a perfect plan to ensure that he is not responsible.  Yet, the reality is that Daru is faced with the critical reality of choice no matter what, evoking his agonizing position in being despite wishing to revert to a condition of the mundane.  Daru recognizes that his condition is one of being a human, and this involves being able to alternate between that which has no meaning and a context that has nothing but meaning.  In this, Camus has adopted a style to bring out the multiple dimensions to being in the world, a condition in which we are bound to live out the mundane with the reality that the most compelling of predicaments which reflect on our own condition are present in these notions of being.

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