One of the dicohotomies is presented early on and is a thematic undercurrent to the story: the haves vs. the have-nots.
Daru, isolated as he is, does not suffer the poverty and famine of the people in his adopted homeland. Daru recalls
that army of ragged ghosts wandering in the sunlight, the plateaus burned to a cinder month after month, the earth shriveled up little by little, literally scorched, every stone bursting into dust under one's foot. The sheep had died then by thousands and even a few men, here and there, sometimes without anyone's knowing.
he who 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 with his whitewashed walls, his narrow couch, his unpainted shelves, his well, and his weekly provision of water and food.
As a European, Daru will always have more: more rights, more food, more freedom. He will never be able to relate completely to the lack of these things with the prisoner.