Student Question

What happens at the end of "The Guest"?

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At the end of "The Guest," Daru returns to the schoolhouse to find a threatening message saying that he will pay for turning the Arab over to the authorities. Daru had given the prisoner the option to flee. However, his French identity will always associate him with the colonizing authority.

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At the end of "The Guest," Daru returns to his schoolhouse on the plateau. He has just left the prisoner on the road with the choice to either continue to Tinguit to turn himself over to the police or to escape into the countryside. Daru is disappointed to look back and see the prisoner making his way to Tinguit.

When he arrives back at his schoolhouse, Daru finds that someone has been there during his absence. A message has been written on the blackboard promising retribution for cooperating with the French authorities and turning the prisoner over to the police.

The irony here is that Daru had done his best to avoid choosing sides. As an Algerian-born man of French heritage, Daru finds himself torn between worlds. Daru believes that giving the prisoner the choice of freedom or imprisonment allows him to walk the fine line between the colonizer and the colonized. However, Camus shows the reader the impossibility of remaining neutral in such situations. Although he tried to do the right thing according to his conscience, Daru's French identity will always associate him with the colonizing power. He cannot avoid culpability, and the Arabs will likely always see him as on the side of the French authority, no matter what he does.

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