How is the theme "the exile" reflected in "L'hote" (or "The Guest") by Albert Camus?Discuss specifically the characters of Daru and the Arab.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Albert Camus' ‘‘L’Hote’’ or "The Guest," the theme of exile is a prevalent one. ("L'Hote" translates to "the guest" or "the host," which is a very interesting distinction.) Ironically, both men find themselves in very similar situations in the existenialist's world of exile that Camus describes. Daru is a teacher. He lives a life of exile (as did Camus), away from the life of a community or village.

The Arab is an exile in that he has killed a man. He has exiled himself from his own society by running away to avoid punishment. He will be further exiled now that he has been captured, by being sent to prison—where we can only surmise what his fate will be.

Daru is also "exiled" in that when he returns from walking the Arab part of the way to the jail (and then allowing him to choose where he will go), he finds a threatening note on his chalkboard:

You handed over our brother. You will pay for this.

And so Daru would have been exiled by the policeman, Balducci, for not taking the Arab to the jail. However, he is rejected by society in light of the threat made by the Arab's companions—erroneously so, as Daru has done nothing wrong. However, their threat is clear.

Both men make choices (conscious choices, as Camus sees it) that affect their lives and make them both exiles from society.

 

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