Camus The Guest Essay, Research Paper
Writing Assignment-Analyzation of The Guest
Modernism is often referred to as a deliberate departure from society
as its traditional values, as a break away from everyday life and use of
uniqueness, and the use of innovative forms of expressions that distinguish
many styles in the art and literature of the late nineteenth century and early
In the story Camus expresses almost a form of anarchy, if you will,
from Daru. The story start in a schoolhouse in the desert which is being
described as being away from the town and its society. This is very
important in this story because it builds a modernist type of setting by
telling us how desolate and far away from everyone else this place is,
making the reader feel almost as he were there in the lonely schoolhouse.
Daru feels that he must free himself from the constraints of a smothering
civilization by moving to region that is only bound by the horizon and the
sky, as Daru describes in the beginning of the story. Camus wishes to show
that only when a man realizes that he can be distinct and separate from the
whole that is humanity, is he then capable of being whole within himself.
Next, the forcing of the care of the prisoner onto Daru is another
example of modernism because Daru, after being told he must take the
prisoner into his care, cannot believe the obligation that the government
thrusts upon its individuals. After he realizes that the people in power
expect him to follow their orders his response is , the orders? I m not…. I
mean thats not my job. Darus reply can almost remind oneself of Cane s
reply to God after the murder of Abe: I am not my brothers keeper.
However this is not the intent of Camus. Darus is not the killer, the Arab is
the one who has committed the murder. It would be more appropriate to
consider Daru as Seth, the new brother who has allowed Cane to live out his
guilt and punishment.
Another example is his discussion with Balucci about the weapon.
Balucci insists that Daru have a weapon for protection and asks him if he
owns a gun. When Daru replies that he has a shotgun but its in the other
room, Barlucci then insists he have a weapon for protection and gives his
second weapon to him. When Barlucci leaves he goes into the other room
and leaves the weapon that Barlucci gave him on the desk, thus ignoring the
wishes of Barlucci, and formulating his own trust with the Arab prisoner.
That night after the prisoner and Daru went to sleep, Daru realized that the
prisoner was getting up and almost thought twice about the gun, but when
he finally realized that he could trust the prisoner and that he wouldn t kill
him, all he did was turn over and fall back asleep.
The next day when Darus and the prisoner woke up they set off into
the desert for their destination. They get to a certain point and Daru then
hands the prisoner some food and gives him instructions to follow the path
and go to the destination on his own. The prisoner is flabbergasted and
remains there for a few seconds . When Daru walks away, the first time he
looks over his shoulder and he sees the prisoner standing there in awe, the
second time he looks over his shoulder he sees the prisoner walking along
the path to the destination he is supposed to be going to. Daru gave the
prisoner the choice of running away from his trespasses or accepting his
responsibility of his actions and going to the destination by himself, which
makes the reader ponder the question of what might happen when society
quits shoving its judgment on a persons shoulder and allows him to pick up
and carry his own load. This is a prime example of modernism because this
is not the norm of what a person would be doing when given the
responsibility of a high stature such as this.
All of these examples that Camus uses in the story help the reader get
a view of modernism by the way he describes the scenery, his attitude
towards taking the prisoner, the decision not to use the gun, and the final
trusting of the prisoner to go on his own to his set destination. This relates
to modernism by setting an example of the trust that wouldn t normally be
there using societies set of laws , but by going against society and trusting
what u feel is the right thing to do. Camus main objective in the story was
to describe Daru as a derelict from society and to show that not everyone
who defies the norm gets hurt by it, but may benefit from it using their
common sense and judgment.