Albert Camus's The Guest

Camus's political, moral, and philosophical beliefs were deemed to be still developing when he resolved to write The Guest, but this story nevertheless is seen to embody Camus's view of everyday human condition. The Guest looks at the renowned Daru's journey in a fateful state of eventful moral despair against the dreaded backdrop of his evident solitude. Daru’s isolation state can be considered obvious from the very beginning as he keeps on watching two strangers heading in his direction. He also views them in a very dispassionate manner from his far distance atop the evident plateau where he is even unable to recognize his longtime friend (Camus).

Daru is brought out as someone who has been alone for many days. Yet it is very evident that he is not lonely. The latter is grateful for his current situation compared with the dreaded poverty and also hunger of all the natives that emanate from the plateau. This state of solitude is that of self-sufficiency, and he is fully aware of the consequences. Daru is also brought out as a person, who is always capable to carry on with his life. This fact, however, has one condition. He has to be at the comfort of all his basic needs of water, shelter, and food. The story is out to examine all these basic needs as evident by grain bags in the classroom, warmth that Daru's small furnished lodgings, or the need that the latter has for the sweater while he is watching two approaching men (Camus).

Society is based on many factors. The link between the reality that exists and what people perceive forms a great point of analysis in any work of art. The first act in the story moves in a steady pace, with plenty of exposition and lengthy explanations. It grows in gravity and pathos emphasizing stark emotion experienced in speechifying. This is what mostly exists in the real world hence supporting realism. While Daru is seen waiting for the two gentlemen to get to the schoolhouse, the thoughts in his mind reveal all the expected characteristics of their region. The terrain in the plateau is extremely inhospitable and dominates the whole region representing Camus's notion of what he deems absurd, where the entire universe is totally silent and also indifferent in line with humanity. The encompassing land is neither giving nor forgiving; it is deemed simply cruel: "This is the way the region was, cruel to live in, even without men..." Memory accentuates both as a source of identity and also as a burden that prevents final attainment of joy. Every character is involved in a tassle to recollect. However, they do struggle to forget certain past events (Storey).

Camus is known to regularly suggest the natural harshness as when those two men are eventually forced to go out and navigate the whole hill without the needed guide of their path. Nature's ice and snow make an already deemed difficult trek to be extremely treacherous. One can also look at this scenario and see that nature is very irrational in such a case. After an eventful eight-month horrifying draught, nature finally takes on to supply the much needed water in the most absurd form of heavy snow. By that fact, weather conditions are considered simply a known fact of wild nature, but mostly combined with all human need, the total extremity represents all Camus's idea of that absurd. The point of literally criticism is to make clear what we are not able to see on our own even after viewing the literal forms. The ability to bring forth what has been an undisclosed aspect of literature is only possible through the use of criticism. This is what is termed as unconcealement, bringing out what is beyond the usual conceptual thought.

He goes on to say, "The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world." He also creates a full representation of the then absurd by eventually joining extreme human and also physical conditions with all basic human experience and survival needs. "The absurd is not in man or in the world, but in their presence together... it is the only bond uniting them." One of the many examples in line with humans’ sheer struggle to survive in those harsh natural conditions is mainly Daru's recollection of many starving people, who were wandering in the plateau during the long draught. The plateau would not even help them (Stacey).

When Daru decides to return to the classroom, the narrator goes on to describe the four existing rivers of France by drawing and representing them on the blackboard. This presumably is the final introduction of the known political and cultural currents that come out as the main foundation of this story. Having been written at the very onset of Algerian nation uprising against the French, the dreaded tension between Arab cultures and the ones of the ruling French forms much distress in this story. Algerians and the Arabs always share the same climate in terms of harshness. The political and also cultural tension between them usually prevents any existing feelings of camaraderie. This brings out inauthentic understanding is based on the opinions acquired from other people regarding a piece of literature; we have it because it is common with that of other people. This is not what one, as an individual, possesses. Authentic understanding is coming to our own conclusions gained from our own experience about a work of art. It calls for originality (Greenlee).

The school house where Daru lives has many windows that also face the south. This fact seems strategic since it is that very view to the south that makes him first spot the two men. However, once he finds warmer clothes, he would no longer identify them from that same window. At the very end of this story he eventually looks to the south in a bid to see approaching Arab traveling in that same direction, and the windows only foreshadow the existing hope to eventually experience the sight from the south. This act is also very strategic and helps build other scenes of the story. If one looks at the story critically, the south may represent Arabian territories. Europe is known to lie to the north, way over the sea, and also contains many indigenous settlements. Arabian nations are carried out of their cultural milieu as seen in the story, away from their families and local customs. Daru is forced to eventually submit to the European justice system (Camus).

The function of this applied dialogue is to totally flesh-out the entire political backdrop that is evident in the story. Balducci always speaks of any revolution, which is seen as clearly referring to the Algerian uprising. Camus also uses free and indirect style in a bid to enhance the ambiguity and uncertainty in the whole narrative. Narrator's main descriptions are out to mingle with Daru's thoughts, many times coming out as totally inseparable.

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