The Guest-Review The Guest is a short story written by Albert Camus.
Daru is a young Frenchman working as a school master in Algeria. He administrates some ration for the students. So, at the time of draught, he thinks himself as a Lord who provides ration for the livelihood of each family. One day, he sees two men climbing the deserted mountain among them one man was at the back of the horse who is a gendarme named Balducci a well- known person to Daru and behind him a stranger was coming. Balducci asks Daru to take the Arab to the French government headquarters at Tinguit. That Arab was a prisoner who killed his own cousin. But Daru hesitates to accept the responsibility and refuses very rudely.
Balducci tries to convincing at last Daru reluctantly takes that responsibility. This shows the commoners attitude towards prisoners. Daru and that Arab didn’t converse much they both were not comfortable at that situation. Though Daru tries to enquire about the murder the Arab goes silent. And the Arab also tries to explain him about the rebellion and asks him to take part in the revolt. They had lots of differences in their opinion and could not accept each other but they tried to maintain a decent contact with each other. Daru was in a great dilemma whether the Arab tries to attack him and escapes. Because of this tension he was unable to sleep that night.
In addition to that in one point the Arab goes to drink water which creates even more frustration to Daru but these all fears are because of his distrust. The author tries to depict the human nature, there is always a psychological instability while decision making. Both the Arab and Daru are oscillating between the good and bad. The next after having their breakfast, they started to walk. At a particular point Daru gave him Arabian dates, bread and 2000 francs. And also points him two ways. One leads to the prison and other towards native tribe so that he can be free and he leaves the decision to the Arab. Daru returns reluctantly because he is in guilty to hand over the Arab to the prison and at the same time he can’t accept a murderer to escape.
In this the author expresses the inconvenience in deciding a person’s character. After sometime his conscience makes him to come back to the same point where he witnesses the Arab is walking in the path leading to the prison. This shows the Arab’s nature. When he returns these lines were written on the blackboard “You handed over our brother. You will pray for this”.
But the writer leaves it as a mystery that who wrote those lines. Daru feels his loneliness which explains his regret for losing his guest. The writer focuses on the relationship between Arabs and French men during conflicts between them in Algeria in a more positive way by depicting human nature. He tries to bring out us from the illusion created by life.