What are Daru's actions toward the prisoner in "The Guest"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A story that stands as an example of the dilemmas of colonialism and colonial relationships, "The Guest" has a certain ambiguity to it. For, it seems that no one really wants to deal with the Arab. The gendarme Balducci simply does his duty and leaves the prisoner with Daru to take to Tinguit the next day. However, Daru tells Balducci that he will not hand the prisoner over.

After the gendarme departs, Daru has the Arab go into the classroom where he lies between the stove and the desk. Then, Daru leads the prisoner into the bedroom and has him sit in a chair near the table that is under a window. Then Daru cookes an omelette for the prisoner and ate with him. After they eat, Daru brings a folding bed from a shed and set it up between the table and the stove at a right angle from his bed. He asks the prisoner why he killed the other man, but the Arab does not reply. "Are you sorry?" Daru asks--no response. "Why?" Daru repeated. Finally, the prisoner tells Daru, "Come with us."

The next day Daru makes coffee for the prisoner, and they eat more of the cake which he has made the previous day. He orders the prisoner to dress and they start toward the East after he has made a package of rusk, dates, and sugar. They trek for an hour, then rest. At this time Daru gives the Arab the package and tells him he can live on the contents for two days. Further, he tells the prisoner at Tinguit, after a two-hour walk, the prisoner will find the police. If he goes the other way, there are nomads who will take him in and shelter him according to their law.

Daru leaves the prisoner and walks away. After a while, he turns around. "The Arab was still there on the edge of the hill, his arms hanging now." Daru swears with impatience and goes further. Now there is no one on the hill. It is with a heavy heart that Daru finally spots the Arab walking slowly on the road to the prison.

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