Topics for Further Study
• Outline the history of the Algerian War and connect that history to allusions in the story. What kinds of events would have led to Balducci’s and Daru’s questions about the Prisoner’s loyalties and talk of impending war? Who might have written the threatening note on the chalkboard?
• Research the basic principles of Islamic law. Under what circumstances would the Prisoner have been guilty of a crime for killing his cousin? Under what circumstances might the action have been justifiable? Use your knowledge to prepare a defense of the Prisoner in the French legal system.
• Study the geography of Algeria and match it to places and events described in the story. What does the area Camus described look like on a map? What kind of climate conditions lead to severe drought? What kinds of government policies have contributed to, or prevented droughts like the one described in the story?