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Daru: Choice and Consequence - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Daru: Choice and Consequence. “The Guest” is one of Albert Camus’ most renowned short stories. The narrative focuses on the moral dilemma of the protagonist, Daru, a schoolteacher, on the eve of Algeria’s war of independence from French colonial rule…
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Daru: Choice and Consequence
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Download file to see previous pages Placed in a situation which requires him to declare his loyalties, Daru is compelled to make a choice. Daru’s search for a meaningful life leads him to make a choice of neutrality, which results in his isolation. Daru is in search of meaning in life. He is obviously contemplative in temperament, and spends the long hours of solitude pondering on his existence. He is aware of the harsh nature of the surrounding terrain: “the region was, cruel to live in,” (Camus, 1042). He acknowledges his good fortune in having food and shelter in this period of drought and poverty. He “felt like a lord with his whitewashed walls, his narrow couch, his unpainted shelves, his well, and his weekly provision of water and food” (Camus, 1042). In Daru’s view, the cruelty of nature is matched by the cruelty of men. He has a strong revulsion to the Arab’s brutal act of murder: “Daru felt a sudden wrath against the man, against all men with their rotten spite, their tireless hates, their blood lust” (Camus, 1044). At the same time, Daru is haunted by the apparent purposelessness of men’s transient lives in the face of death. He is deeply conscious of mans’ irrelevance, in the context of the vastness of nature: “Men came by, loved one another or fought bitterly, then died. No one in this desert, neither he nor his guest, mattered” (Camus, 1045). This statement reflects Daru’s existential anxiety that life is meaningless. Again, as he surveys the plateau after Balducci’s departure, Daru feels “strangely empty and vulnerable” (Camus, 1048). Daru is yearning for an answer to the purpose of life, when the Arab enters his world. Daru is forced to make a choice when the authorities assign him the task of taking charge of the Arab prisoner. As a government-appointed schoolmaster, Daru is obviously under the control of the establishment. He owes his “comfortable life” (Camus, 1043), and his capacity to distribute aid to the starving villagers, to his official position. In this context, he is obliged to comply with instructions, and hand the Arab over to the police headquarters to face punishment for his crime. On the other hand, Daru’s innate decency, and his respect for a fellow human being, makes him hesitant to send the Arab to prison. Daru’s first impulse is to avoid the difficultly of having to make a choice. He attempts to abdicate responsibility for the prisoner by telling Balducci, “that's not my job” (Camus, 1043). He eagerly hopes that the Arab will flee of his own will and save him from personal responsibility. He is joyous at “the mere thought that the Arab might have fled and that he would be alone with no decision to make” (Camus, 1045). Daru is filled with anger against both factions for forcing him into the necessity of choosing sides: Daru “cursed at one and the same time his own people who had sent him this Arab and the Arab too who had dared to kill and not managed to get away” (Camus, 1048). When Daru accepts that he cannot evade personal responsibility, he chooses to remain neutral. He does not hand over the Arab to the police headquarters, in support of the authorities. At the same time, he does not unequivocally connive with the Arab to escape. He gives the Arab food and money, and the freedom to choose his own course of action. Daru chooses to give the Arab the freedom of choice. By this decision, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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