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Who is the guest?

By
Nikayla Scott






Who is The Guest?


In English, a Guest is a visitor, someone we welcome into our home and treat kindly. The dictionary defines Guest as “a person who spends some time at another person's home in some social activity, as a visit, dinner, or party.” In French, the title could also be interpreted as The Host, which is the opposite of the guest. As a host, it is ones job to make sure the guest is comfortable and feels like they are at home.

When reading the story most people would agree that Daru is the host and the Arab is the guest. The Arab is the visitor, coming from a different place and leaving the following day. Daru is the host, he accepts the Arab into his home, fed him and provided him with a place to sleep. Also many times in the story, Daru refers to the Arab as the guest. Such as that night, when they were in bed Daru “listened for his guest’s breathing, become heavier and more regular” (8). Or when the Arab got up in the middle of the night, “The hens were not fluttering; the guest must be on the plateau” (9). These quotes show that Daru recognizes the Arab as a guest in his home, not as a prisoner he has to watch for the night.

Another argument for how the host/guest situation is portrayed in the story could be that Daru is the guest, and Africa is the host. Daru is not African, he is French, and there because of a war that is going on. It is apparent that Daru is slightly home sick because of what he has drawn “On the blackboard the four rivers of France had been flowing toward their estuaries for the past three days” (1). This quote makes it clear he misses home because the rivers are flowing toward their “estuaries”, which is like the mouth of the river, and the mouth is located at the base of the river, where it starts. If this is the guest/host situation, then Africa is not doing a good job as host, because Daru doesn’t want to be there anymore.

Although both arguments are very convincing, I would have to agree with the obvious guest/host situation. I just think there is more evidence to support the argument that Daru is the host and the Arab is the guest


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