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He watches Balducci and the Arab approach the schoolhouse at the start of the narrative. The schoolhouse is his home, although with the sudden snow none of his pupils attend anymore. He spends the blizzard in his room, only leaving it to feed the chickens, get coal, or go to the shed. The administration has given him wheat to distribute to his pupils. During the draught he felt like a lord in his crude house because he was surrounded by complete and utter poverty. He is from this region, which is described as cruel, but he feels exiled anywhere else. Daru argues against delivering the Arab to Tinguit, and is plunged into a state of moral despair at the end of the narrative when he realizes that the Arab has chosen certain imprisonment.
Daru is a Frenchman who feels at home in Algeria. He desperately wants to be accepted by the native population but will always remain an outsider because of his ethnicity. He teaches in a small school in the mountains.