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.
Balducci is the man on the horse who leads the Arab up the hill to Daru. He holds the horse back so not to hurt the Arab. Once within earshot he shouts a greeting to Daru. He is an old gendarme and has known Daru for a long time. He looks upon Daru as a son, but is insulted by Daru's refusal to turn in the Arab. It is Balducci who first speaks of a revolt, and speaks about the obligations that men face during war. He clearly longs for a peaceful retirement, but is resigned to his duties.
The Arab is being led by Balducci. He walks while the gendarme rides a horse, and his hands are tied. He keeps his head bowed, which fascinates Daru, and does not raise his head once during the ascent. He wears a blue jellaba, sandals, and a cheche on his head. He is very timid and fearful throughout the narrative, and even does not try to escape despite many opportunities. At the end, he decides to walk towards imprisonment, and in this way symbolizes the absurdity and despair of the human condition.
The Guest Questions and Answers
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Daru likes the empty mountain expanses. His surroundings remind him that he is sacrificing and serving his Arab brothers. Unfortunately the Arabs largely see Daru as a French occupier. Daru still feels at home alone in his little schoolhouse. He...