In "The Guest," the prisoner's name is never mentioned; he is referred to as "the Arab". Why might this be relevant?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The fact that the prisoner is not given a name is important in the story. A name personalizes us, singling us out as individuals. Since the prisoner is not given a name, he assumes more importance in the story than that of an individual. He becomes a symbol of something larger than himself.

The story is set during the period in Algeria when political revolution is at hand; Arab demands for independence and their opposition to French colonial rule are growing. The unnamed prisoner functions in the story as a symbol of Arab resistance to the French government.

Daru, the school master, has tried to remain separate and isolated from the growing conflict, but when the prisoner is forced upon him, he is placed in a situation in which he can no longer remain politically detached.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The fact that the prisoner is not given a name is important in the story. A name personalizes us, singling us out as individuals. Since the prisoner is not given a name, he assumes more importance in the story than that of an individual. He becomes a symbol of something larger than himself.

The story is set during the period in Algeria when political revolution is at hand; Arab demands for independence and their opposition to French colonial rule are growing. The unnamed prisoner functions in the story as a symbol of Arab resistance to the French government.

Daru, the school master, has tried to remain separate and isolated from the growing conflict, but when the prisoner is forced upon him, he is placed in a situation in which he can no longer remain politically detached.