Daru acts upon his conscience when he does not hand the Arab over to the authorities as the gendarme requests. For, although he is revolted by the man's "stupid crime," Daru believes that to hand him over to French authorities is "contrary to honor."
For Daru the decision is an existential one as he comes to terms with external forces, pressures, and influences [Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy]. Perhaps, then, Daru is more authentic than the gendarme Balducci, who merely is on the side of the French government. For, Daru feels that the Arab should not be judged outside his own culture, as Islamic law differs greatly from French law. Daru also faces the dilemma of whether to be involved in the issues between the colonial government and the Arabs. He decides that he does not wish to be so involved; therefore, he tells Balducci,
"...every bit of this disgusts me....But I won't hand him over. Fight, yes, if I have to. But not that."
After the Arab eats and sleeps in his lodging, Daru feels that "a sort of brotherhood" is imposed upon him. This, too, he refuses to accept. Instead, on the next day he leaves the choice to the Arab after walking a ways with him. Daru first points to the road to Tinguit where the police await him; then, he shows the man the trail across the plateau that leads to pasture lands and nomads, who will take him in and give him shelter. Finally, Daru turns his back on the man and starts back to the school. After he goes a ways, he turns around. It is with "a heavy heart" that he sees the Arab walking toward Tinguit and the prison.