What are the characters in this story? what are their personality, features, the role in the story and their backgrounds?this is about the characters in the story, the Arab, Daru and...

What are the characters in this story? what are their personality, features, the role in the story and their backgrounds?

this is about the characters in the story, the Arab, Daru and Bulducchi, who are they?

Asked on by hapyeva

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

D. F. Hurley’s “Looking for the Arab:  Reading the Readings of Camus’ ‘The Guest’ adds comentary to these responses.He explains that “traces of powerful Western colonial prejudice against, contempt for, and fear of the Arab male affect the characters in the story, its interpreters, and our culture as a whole. In other words, he argues that we bring our unconscious racism to our understanding of the characters in this short story, especially now in the wake of 9/11. Hurley suggests that the Arab is in fact not guilty, no matter what Balducci and Daru say about him  Among the many examples that that Hurley points to for evidence  include the fact that  prisoner merely watches "without seeming to understand" when Daru accuses him of crimes, and that ordinarily "the members of the same clan do not seek blood vengeance on one another."  Hurley also brings other critics into his argument. He cites John K. Simon as saying that the prisoner is so diminished by French rule that he is “fully dependent” on his masters to make decisions and judgments for him, and is able to follow only “the negative dictates of inertia and passivity." He also includes Edwin P. Grobe, who explains the prisoner's subhuman incapacity for remorse as the result of his “humiliation [at] being promenaded like a captive beast.”

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jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Daru is French, a former  schoolmaster living in near El Ameur, Africa.   He still teaches in his little home to the native Africans.  He has left the chaos of Europe for the relative solitude of Africa: "...he lived almost like a monk in his remote schoolhouse, nonetheless satisfied with the little he had and with the rough life, had felt like a lord...". 

Balducci is the gendarme who brings the Arab prisoner to Daru.  He insists that Daru transport the prisoner the rest of the way to the jail.  Daru tries to protest that it is "not his job" but Balducci tells him that in wartime, he must, as a French citizen, do what he is told. 

The Arab is Balducci's (and Daru's) prisoner.  He is accused of having murdered his cousin and thus "stirring up" trouble in his village.  He is taken by Balducci to Daru, who is ordered to take the Arab to the prison in Tinguit.

Balducci is a flat character.  He come briefly in, does his job (propels the plot forward) and leaves.  The only truly round character is Daru, who must struggle with his conscience and knowledge of the people of Africa and his own European identity.

As for the Arab, we never learn too much about him.  He is silent most of the time, except for a few simple questions.  Camus' story is more about Daru than anyone else and his confused feelings about his role in the prisoner's life, in Africa, and as a European. 

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