What are some examples of existentialism in "The Guest" by Albert Camus?

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samcestmoi eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As another educator has mentioned, alienation is a common theme of existentialism, and one that plays a large part in “The Guest .”  Daru is completely isolated in his empty schoolhouse on the desert plateau, and by refusing to take the gendarme’s prisoner to Tinguit he isolates himself from Balducci, a previously friendly acquaintance.  His “guest” has isolated himself from society by his criminal act, for which, at the end of the story, he condemns himself when his village would willingly take him back.  This final point is important:  both Daru and the Arab willingly alienate themselves, and are dependent, as individuals, on the reality of this isolation.  As Daru notes, “No one in this desert, neither he nor his guest, mattered.  And yet, outside this desert neither of them, Daru knew, could have really lived.”  This is indicative of a key aspect of existential thought, Sartre’s idea that “existence precedes essence.”  We live, we breathe, we are, and yet...

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