The Guest

Daru's Indecision in The Guest 12th Grade

The backbone of existentialism states that individuals are just that-individual, unique, independently conscious beings; rather than the varied labels, stereotypes, or any arbitrary preconceived notions that the individuals may fit into, the manifold idiosyncrasies and “actual life” of the person constitute the individual, and therefore, lead them to find their own values and create their own meaning to life. In “The Guest”, Albert Camus explores this, the human condition, by positing that despair is a human state rather than a specific act, and that this despair emerges out of isolation. The story tracks Daru’s deep regression towards indecision against the backdrop of his seclusion.

Daru’s isolation is clear from the beginning of the story. He is alone on a hill, watching over the horsebound rider and his straggling prisoner. From descriptions such as “empty, frigid classroom” and “ high, deserted plateau” and even the fact that his “twenty pupils...had stopped coming”, it is apparent that Daru has been alone for days. Yet we cannot equate being alone to being lonely; Daru considers that “Everywhere else, he felt exiled” turning his state of seclusion to a means of self-sufficiency. When Daru returns to the classroom the...

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