Guests Study Guide

Guests By Albert Camus

Daru is a schoolteacher in a remote plateau area that has been experiencing a draught for months. Recently, a blizzard came through and left everything covered in snow, keeping Daru's pupils away for some time.

The story begins when Daru spots two gentlemen approaching his schoolhouse. As they climb the hill, he begins to see clearly who they are: Balducci, a policeman who Daru knows well, is escorting an Arab prisoner who is accused of murding his own cousin. Balducci has been ordered to bring the prisoner to Daru and in turn order Daru to bring the prisoner to the police station at a down nearly twenty kilometers away. Daru considers this a dishonorable task, and refuses. Balducci agrees, but insists that the country is at war, and everyone is being asked to do things that they would rather not. Daru continues to refuse, and Balducci leaves in anger.

Daru, desiring to do the honorable thing, feeds the Arab and sleeps in the same room as him. During the night, the Arab gets up for water, and Daru believes mistakenly that the Arab has escaped. The next morning, the two walk far out onto the plateau, and Daru gives the Arab food, money, and supplies. He tells the Arab which direction the prison is in, but also tells him what direction he can find shelter and safety with other Arabs.

Daru walks away, but is surprised and saddened when he looks back and sees the Arab walking toward the prison. Daru returns sadly to his schoolhouse, where despite his efforts to save the Arab, he finds a message scrawled on his chalkboard threatening his life for having turned that Arab over to the police. The story ends with Daru staring out the window of his schoolhouse and philosophizing about the futility of free will.

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