Criticizing Capitalism in “The Rocking-Horse Winner”

D.H. Lawrence in the short story “The Rocking-Horse Winner” criticizes Capitalism that creates obsession with money and social alienation. The story presents the reality of ‘modern society’ based on the capitalist economic system where peoples are corrupted by materialism and hunger for money. The story begins like a fairy tale “There was a women who was beautiful, who started with all the advantages, yet she had no luck.” Now, the whole story revolves around this “luck” which denotes ‘material possessions’ and ‘physical comfort’, particularly ‘money’.

The relationship between characters, especially Paul and his mother is greatly influenced by money. As a result, Paul, a young boy, becomes the victim of his mother’s immense desire for wealth. When he realizes that it is the money by which love and happiness can be achieved, he decides on betting horses to satisfy her mother’s desires. It is repeatedly mentioned in the story that, “There must be more money! There must be more money!” Even the house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase: “There must be more money! There must be more money!” This shows the strong psychological pressure on children. The children “would stop playing” because the “whisper was everywhere.”

Though Paul’s father and mother try their best to make money, “their prospects never materialized.” There was always “shortage of money.”  Their earning was “not nearly enough for the social position.” Social position is another capitalistic ideology which serves the idea of materialism and desire for more money. Moreover, people can’t achieve social position without money.

There is the evidence that whenever they get money, they spends beyond their means because they had to save their “social position.” They were “expensive in their taste” symbolize their attempt to save their position. As a result, their genuine needs were again unfulfilled.“Although they lived in style, they felt always an anxiety in the house” because “there was never enough money.” It symbolizes the social anxiety in the so-called modern society where, even though, they have everything, lacks something significant. Capitalism’s fundamental is that money can buy everything. Moreover, the writer criticizes American Dream, another capitalist ideology.  According to this ideology “anyone who has the determination to work hard enough and the persistence to work long enough can rise from ‘rags to the rich’ (Tyson, 115).”

The desire for more money results in family and social alienation. Most of the interaction in the story is through eyes. The narrator says, “They read it in each other’s eyes”, “They would look into each other’s eyes, to see if they had all heard.” This symbolizes the social alienation caused by the capitalistic ideology.

There is suggestion in the story that Paul has some kind of divine power while riding the rocking horse. Paul rides a rocking horse, a Christmas gift for him. Lawrence writes, “He knew the horse could take him to where there was luck, if only he forced it.” It is not clear what is that “get there” Paul repeatedly says but it is clear that he develops some divine intuitive power after riding rocking horse that enables him to correctly predict which horse wins the race.

It is fact that the desire for money is never completed. The more money Paul makes from horse betting, the more his mother desires. In the end, her son’s illness and death seem to be secondary to her love of money. This shows rugged individualism, another result of capitalist ideology, putting self-interest above everything.

Work Cited

Charters, Ann. The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. Boston: Bedford Books, 1995. Print

Tyson, Lois. Using Critical Theory: How to Read and Write about Literature. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print

Joyce’s “A Painful Case”: quest and rejection for Love

James Joyce’s story “A Painful Case” depicts two painful cases: a man’s rejection of love and a woman’s futile quest for it. The obvious question after reading the story is that what’s the factor that attract Mr. Duffy with his first real friend and then made him back out unexpectedly?

It is the desire of sex that attracted and distracted Mr. Duffy and Mrs. Sinico. Though Mr. Duffy rejects Mrs. Sinico’s invitation, author’s descriptions of his inner feelings and intimacy with her shows his physical attraction. “One night during which she had shown every sign of unusual excitement, Mrs. Sinicocaught up his hand passionately and pressed it to her cheek” reveals their sexual desires.

“Often they spent their evening alone”, “their thought entangled”, “the dark discreet room, their isolation, the music still vibrated their ears united them”, “in her eyes he ascend to an angelic stature”, “he heard the strange impersonal voice”, “we cannot give ourselves, we are our own” are some of the textual evidences that proves the relationship of Mr. Duffy and Mrs. Sinoco was formed because of sexual desire. But interestingly, when she touches him, he ends up the relationship completely.

After their relationship broke Duffy has written: “Love between man and man is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse.” Here, however, the question is that why Mr. Duffy thinks that sexual intercourse is such a terrible thing? It is the Mr. Duffy’s rigid belief about the sexual relationship. He fails to differentiate love, friendship and sex.

Equally important question, what is the factor that attracts Mrs. Sinico, a married mother, to Mr. Duffy? She begins an emotional attachment with him because her husband rarely cares her. “He had dismissed his wife so sincerely from his gallery of pleasures that he did not suspect that anyone else would take an interest in her” suggests the cold relationship of Mrs. Sinico with her husband. Duffy, however, fails to realize her loneliness. As a result, their intimacy results in discomfort. Years pass, and we can see characters’ tragic conditions, guilt and loss.

Four years later, Mr. Duffy reads in a newspaper that Mrs. Sinico has been killed by trains’ struck. In the newspaper article Mrs. Sinico’s husband states that she began drinking two years ago. Though, it is not clear whether her demise is coincidental or suicide but the details suggest that she may have committed suicide. Duffy concludes that his rejection is responsible for her death. He even asks himself “why had he sentenced her to death?”

He realizes that how much he cared for her and how much lonely he feels. “No one wanted him; he was outcast from life’s feast” reflects his loneliness, isolation, and emptiness. Finally, Mr. Duffy comes to an epiphany that he lost his last opportunity to feel love and emotions he never allowed himself to experience in his life. As a result he become more isolated. “He could hear nothing: the night was perfectly silent. He listened again: perfectly silent. He felt that he was alone.”

 

Early Church Fathers, Paganism and Christianity

The Church Fathers were the writers of the time who combined philosophy and theology to produce a more sophisticated Christianity (Watson, 245). Particularly they were of the first five centuries of Christian history. At that time, the theological discussions was not limited to Rome. Outside Rome, Alexandria and Antioch became the intellectual capital of the then Christian world.

The best known of the Alexandrians was Clement (c. 150-216). His aim was to “reconcile pagan scholarship- especially Greek ideas– with Christianity (Watson, 245)”. He disagrees with pagan intellectual and argued that “the world was not mythological phenomenon full of gods and daemons rather it was a natural governed by supreme self-subsistent God (Tarnas, 108).” For him “only the one invisible God and the one biblical revelation were authentic.” He borrowed this concept of “invisible God” from Platonic philosophy. To Plato, God is transcendent-the highest and most perfect being-and one who uses eternal forms, or archetypes, to fashion a universe that is eternal and uncreated (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Clement’s view was that the pagan statues of deities were no more than stone idols. He criticizes Greek paganism and he attacks “the mystery religions for their obscurantism and trivial rituals.”Clement found a ‘contempt’ for ‘this world’ in Plato’s theory of ideas, which was echoed in the theory of teaching of Jesus (Watson, 229).

Clement had run a school in Alexandria but was forced to leave during prosecution. After a gap of some years, his school was reopened by Origen (c. 185-254). He used to teach pagan subjects (rhetoric, geometry, astronomy, philosophy) alongside Hebrew. Origen’s most famous innovation was that everything in the Bible has three meanings- the literal, the moral and the allegorical and that only the last of these is the revealed truth. For example, “the Virgin Birth of Christ in the womb of Mary” was not to be primarily understood in a literal way. It represents “the birth of divine wisdom in the soul.” Likewise, Origen was highly influenced by Neoplatonism. He argued that “the universe was ‘a hierarchy of spiritual beings, with God at the apex and the devil and fallen angels at the base (Watson, 230).” His point was that the God can be knowable in two ways- through nature and through Christ. For him Christ was companion and as ordered as nature. “Man comprised a rational soul in a body of flesh and because of that occupied a position half-way between the angels and the demons. The soul was corrupted by its presence in the body and the object of life was to behave in such a way that one corrupted one’s soul as little as possible (230).”Moreover, he did not believed that resurrection would be of the material body. Since the Second Coming did not occur, this view became more and more influential as time passed.

Jerome (c. 340-419) was an educated man who tried and failed to start his own monasteries. Jerome begins translation of Bible into Latin. Around 383, Jerome produced a major revision of the Latin versions using earlier Greek texts to correct errors. “Jerome’s Bible became the basis for the Vulgate, the standard Latin version, replacing earlier partial translations, called the Itala (Watson, 165).” “His aim was to write a work that would please not only scholars and bishops but ordinary people as well (230).”

Augustine (354-430) was the greatest of the Latin fathers of the church, and “major figure in the history of ideas.”His father was a pagan and his mother was a Christian. He had so many pagan elements that he was known as ‘great sinner who became great saint.’ “According to his own confessions, he was a sinner until he was thirty-two, when he turned to Christianity. But even after that he was unable to live up to his hopes because of a ‘weakness in dealing with sexual temptation’ (232).”  But later he was “turned into a great writer with 113 books and 200 letters.” ‘The Confessions’ and ‘City of God’ are his masterpieces.

Augustine’s great contribution was the idea of free will. According to him “humans have the capacity to evaluate the moral order of events or episodes or people or situations, and can then exercise judgment, to order our own priorities, so that we avoid the bad route and follow the good one.” His another influential idea is the Trinity. There was controversy at that time whether Jesus could be divine in the same way as God the Father. Theologians find out a solution. They argued that the Trinity was not three gods but a spiritual/mystical experience, the result of contemplation.

Augustine argued that “since God had made us in his own image (as it said in the Scriptures), ‘we should be able to discern a Trinity in the depths of our minds’.” In ‘On the Trinity’ he said there are “three faculties of the soul – memory, intellect and will; three stages of penance after sin: contrition, confession and satisfaction; three aspects to love – the lover, the beloved and the love that unites them.” There is memory of God, knowledge of God and love of God. “It was a clever intellectual achievement, a fusion of theology and psychology that had never been conceived before (232).”

Augustine’s other well-known work was ‘City of God’. In this, Augustine rejected both the immortality of the human race proposed by pagans, and contemporary ideas of ages (such as those of certain Greeks and Egyptians) that differed from the Church’s sacred writings. He argued that, “the fall of Rome took place because she had fulfilled her purpose: the Christianization of the empire.”According to him the real purpose of history was to pit self-love against the love of God. ‘Self-love lead to the City of Man, love of God to the City of God. These two cities will remain at odds and conflicted throughout time, until the city of God is eternalized as heaven and the city of Man as the hell.Though Augustine’s main aim was to developa philosophy of history, his perspective of history comprised of pessimism. According to him, God had sentenced humanity to eternal damnation as a result of Adam’s original sin. This ‘inherited sin’ was passed on through what Augustine called concupiscence, the desire to take pleasure in sex rather than in God. From Augustine on, Christians viewed mankind as humanity as chronically flawed. “Augustine formulated the Christian Platonism that dominated the medieval Christian thought in the West (Tarnas, 103).” “Christian integration of the Greek spirit frequently regarded Socrates and Plato as the “divinely inspired pre-Christian saints.” Similarly, Augustine rejected the ancient idea of time as cyclical. Instead, he said, time was linear and it was the property of God.

Gregory the Great (540-604) “was the marvelous administrator and under him the church became ever more efficient in an everyday, worldly sense.”“Gregory centralized and reformed the papal administration, elevated the status of priests, expanded the Church’s care for the poor and distressed (Tarnas, 477).” His one of the influential idea was ‘the seven deadly sins. The seven sins were set out on a scale of increasing seriousness: lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath, envy, pride. “A highly popular pope and widely venerated in his own lifetime, Gregory sought to make the Christian faith more comprehensible to the masses of uneducated Europeans by reforming the Mass and by popularizing miracles and the doctrine of purgatory (477).”

It is increasingly accepted among scholars that “at the end of the 1st century AD there were not yet two separate religions called ‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity’ (Goldenberg, 2002). “Christianity had been a separate religion since the time of Paul (Watson, 222)”, and spread rapidly to the other parts of the empire under his leadership. “By the end of the fourth century, Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire (Tarnas, 89).” But the conversion of the empire from dominant pagan to Christian was not easy task. Christian had to bear torture at first, they tolerated, and then crucifixion for their new system of belief.

“Paganism dominated the Roman Empire until the fourth century (Viola and Barna, 41)”, but “between 380 and 450 paganism shrank fast (Watson, 241).”The turning point came in the early fourth century when the Roman emperor Constantine convert himself a Christian. “He committed himself and his imperial power to Christianity’s propagation (Tarnas, 890.”

The first-century Christians were opposed to the world’s systems and avoided any contact with paganism. “This all changed during the fourth century when the church emerged as a public institution in the world and began to absorb and Christianize pagan religious ideas and practices (Viola and Barna, 61).” In this way the pagan ideas/scholarship were denied at first but later they were assimilated and incorporated by Christianity.

Work Cited

Goldenberg, Robert .Review of Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism by Daniel Boyarin. JSTOR 92.3-4 (2002): 58.http://www.jstor.org/. Web. 16 May 2014.

Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of the Western Mind: understanding the ideas that have shaped our world view. London: Pimlico, 1996. Print.

Viola, Trank and Barna, George. Pagan Christianity? Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices.New York:Tyndale House Publishers, 2008. Print.

Watson, Peter. Ideas: a history of thought and invention, from fire to Freud. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. Print.

Morley, Brian. “God, Western Concepts of God.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 08 June 2014. http://www.iep.utm.edu/god-west/

 

Relationship in Kincaid’s “Girl”

Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” is the story of conflicting and complicated relationship between a mother, a dominant narrator, and her daughter, a hidden protagonist. The mother’s life seems completely focused on domestic work and teaching her daughter to do the same. One can understand her psychology as the product of patriarchal oppression. She has many cruel ideas about what a woman is supposed to do in her life in order to be accepted in the society.

It seems she wants to rule her daughter’s life. For this reason, the mother keeps on ordering her daughter to follow certain rules to be respected by people. The mother orders countless rules on how to manage a household (sewing, ironing, sweeping, setting a table), social customs (smiling at strangers, playing marbles, bullying a man) and market (buying cotton and bread).Each of these rulesbelongs to the gender roles and cultural norms. The gender roles can be seen when the mother suggests the daughter act like a girl saying “don’t squat down to play marbles—you are not a boy, you know.”

In one hand, the mother seems to be caring towards her daughter because she is trying to teach her daughter the proper way to be a perfect girl;on the other hand,the mother is not only giving advice but also scolding her.The mother says that the daughter may hang out with “wharf-rat boys” and asserts that the girl is “bent on becoming” a slut. The use of words like “slut” tells what she thinks of her daughter. She believes that her daughter has already started wrong way because of the way she walks, sits, and sings Benna during Sunday school. The mother says, “Is it true that you sing Benna in Sunday school?” and, “Don’t sing benna in Sunday school.” Benna is a song of sexuality and forbidden knowledge. Sexuality plays a great role in this story. The mother is weary of her daughter’s sexual reputation and duty as a young woman.

The daughter is mostly a passive participant, listening to her mother. However, the daughter twice interrupts her mother to ask a question or defend herself. The mother’s refusal to listen the daughter shows the lack of options for women in the society. Moreover, the use of a series of long sentences in the story symbolizes the lack of communication, relationship and intimacy between them. The daughter tries to protest her mother’s belief by asking questions. But the mother never responds them. It shows cold relationship between mother and daughter.

The mother demands her to be a “proper” woman and not to be a slut, which her mother thinks she is already on the road to becoming. Her advice gets more and more firm as the story continues; culminating in the final line, “you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread?” The mother’s final remarks also reveals that the mother is not fair and sympathetic towards her daughter.

Bartleby’s Refusal against Capitalism

Bartleby in Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” is a revolutionary worker who refused to be a commodity in capitalist society. His passive resistance is an allegorical representation of war against commodification of human being. In this sense, he is a challenge for capitalism.

In reality, Bartleby is a victim of a capitalist society which always seek for constant production and profit. Scriveners like Bartleby are engaged in boring jobs of copying and proofreading texts. Moreover, they are the part of machinery of capitalistic economy. As a result of endless non-creative work, depression and frustration grows in society.Bartleby’s basic task was to copy legal documents. “It is an indispensable part of a scrivener’s business to verify the accuracy of his copy, word by word.” He, however, blatantly refuses every request and orders politely with his five phrase “I would prefer not to”.

The narrator writers “at first, Bartleby did an extraordinary quantity of writing.” “There was no pause for digestion.” But from the third day of his work in a law firm in Wall Street, he refuses to obey his boss. His boss, a lawyer, asks him to examine a paper. Bartleby, “without moving from his privacy” and “in a singularly mild, firm voice”, replies “I would prefer not to”. Later he even says “I like to be stationary”. The narrator proposes various occupations for Bartleby, but he each time says that the suggested job would not please him. Finally, in desperation, the narrator offers Bartleby a place to stay in his own home. Bartleby refuses, and the narrator leaves him.Bartleby is discovered occupying the office at weekends towards the end of the story. Here, his silent refusal and verbal obstruction becomes physical revolt.

Though the narrator seems to be good and helping person, he does not respect the person working in his office. The workers in the lawyer-narrator’s office are called by their nicknames based on their habits such as Tukery, Nippers, and Ginger Nut. This shows capitalistic society does not respect the people.

“Bartleby” is another allegory for failure of modern social life which always runs after excessive production, and consumption. His dissatisfaction and refusal of American Dream symbolizes the failure of democracy to protect individual right and freedom. Before death, he rejects food and normal human interaction. Bartleby’s isolation not only cuts him from job and society but also from life. The image of ‘Dead Letter’ also reflects how much the modern industrialized and capitalistic society is failed to communicate with human beings.

Narrator’s final words “Ah Bartleby! Ah Humanity!” shows how human beings are failed to understand and help its own mankind.

The Parallel Lines

My mind is imbalanced like a floating leaf on the sea. I am trying to convince myself; however, the attempts are becoming more meaningless. There are two lines in my memory. There is no certainty where these two lines begin and end. My journey does not have definite trail and decided destination. What is the meaning of my existence? Does a leaf floating on the water have destination? Does it have any meaning for existence? Alas! I realized how much my values have been declined. Valueless indeed. It has become ragged like a damaged thing inside the showcase; like a design already outdated without taking real shape. What a maniacal moment!

Those days are still fresh in my memory. Every one used to bless me- ‘Nani! Read a lot. May you get all the knowledge in the earth. God bless you with a nice husband.’ Now I contemplate. Was that really a blessing? Yes, that was but at the same times a curse within the blessing. Yes, that was certainly a curse. And, I am in the process of facing the trial within the circumference of two parallel lines. I had desires, expectations and passions- to study, study more, study unless I reach its optimum. Did I reach its ecstasy? No. I am incapable to review my past. I do not want as well. After all, I know, I already have a kind of allergy with books, study, exam and things alike.

When I was a student in school or college, I never realized the puberty in my girlhood. I never faced in front of mirror with that kind of feeling. The only desire was to catch the moon; to hide the whole earth within me. I used to read newspaper, dwell into history, and play with philosophy. I was passionate to learn heroic deeds around the world. An imagination used to claw me, “I wish I could be like them.” But where are those imaginations now? What happened to those feelings? Disappeared. I do not know where they have gone. They might have gone to touch the moon- to the sky I never saw. They must have mixed with the earth I never touched.

It is said, the moment we spent in our school, college, and university are pleasant. But I do not know. I do not have such pleasant moments in my memory. I think, I never experienced. All these three epochs have departed without attracting me; before I notice them. At the moment, a sudden desire takes me back again to those days. It’s real, the clock never stops; time never waits. Many boys have asked my father for my hand. Some of them have met me in private. My parents have persuaded me, “Nani! Marriage does not hamper your study.”

Nowadays, I struggle to maintain myself in front of mirror. For them, I was extremely beautiful in my teenage but I believe I was not as beautiful as today. Absolutely, I was pretty in my school/college days. Many boys used to follow me as if they were ready to die for me. Some of them have tried to speak. One of them had succeeded to talk with me. Sometimes, I see him in the streets. He is seen walking, holding his son’s hand and laughing with his wife. Most of my friends have already become mother. They are always busy with their family and life. Some of them express their formalities speaking with me, some make ironic smiles.

I completed my M.A in literature. I never realized- My values have changed; grow old with my education. It seemed that my M.A. degree has been under the shadow of my age. A new ornament has been added before my name- Budhikanya-A spinster. I know, I have become an illness for my parents. It is not unnatural, if parents are worried about their grown daughter’s future. I understand their inner feelings. However, I want to find the solution in my own way. “I will not marry. I want to find a job. Get Employed. Be independent”, I wanted to share. Both, father and mother, gaze at me. I wanted to feel their look. Certainly, their look is the amalgamation of hatred, anger and pain. “We have not yet engaged her in any job. Time is not the same.” I am used to with this kind of debate. I listenedas still as a mouse. Their debate concludes unsolved.

Boys used to come here to ask my hand with my parents; to see me. Some without formal education; even illiterate, some younger than me, some who had gone to the West. Some seem to be lost in alcoholism; whoring…. How to live life with such a person? My imagination differs- At least he must be well-educated, caring, understanding and full with dream. I wish we could join our hand in every race of the life. A tiny world under the open sky. Where my desires and passions could blossom. I could laugh until my teardrops. How delightful moments! Sadly, these are mere imaginations. Uncertain and desperate dreams. They may not happen in real.

The advertisement has not ended yet. I decided mentally- The advertisement should be ended. “I will not marry. I will search for job.” But is getting job so easy? My words disappear before they reached my dad’s ears. “We wish, you could marry soon”, they too had their own desires and its limitations.

I know my feelings will not be heard; recognized. Even if I express, I fear because I may be termed bad. I had become unnecessary burden for my family. It’s my final decision, I will not marry. As soon as I make decision, it is ruined in front of me. After all, I am a lady. A women. I must marry. I must spend life with someone. I also have desire to be a mother. Desire? There is uncertainty- unclear like the cloud in the sky.

I have chosen my line. However, I cannot claim it to be the complete one; the whole one. For a while, this seems only a partial decision to restrain myself. The path without solid structure. My parents are not aware about the path I dream about. In reality, I have not told them. I even cannot told them.

Yesterday my Mother had said, “Nani! A boy will come to see you tomorrow. We have heard his goodness. His father is in politics. Brahmin from Pokhara. Be ready.” I wanted to make her clear, “My advertisement has been ended now. I will not marry! I want to do job.” But I could not say so. The boy may like me, may not. May be things are solved. Is there possibility? Ooh! What a damaged condition. How will be the boy? Like the one in my dream? Or more than that? Yes, I have to be well prepared for tomorrow’s advertisement. On the other hand, the boy may not come. Even if he come, he may not like me. Also, I may not like him. No, I have to be prepared for an interview instead of advertisement.

The whole night goes in vain. Same things have been scattered around the room. He will come. Everything will be all right. No, he might not come. Even if he comes, he may not like me. I may not like him. I have to go for an interview. Would I be able to pass the interview? Doubts and suspections. Yes, both the path does not have definite destination. No solid structure. An unclear realization. May be false.

I have to choose one; within two hours. Mother is busy with decorating the room to please the guests. She is insisting me to perform this; not to do that. I have no interest at all, in anything. Not even in eating, talking…. I wanted to be crippled. Picked up all the certificates from the drawer, put them in my bag. “Aama! I am leaving for an interview. Return them if they come”, want to say. But the feelings could not turn into words, sound.

I again contemplated the moments after the interview. What will be the consequences if I could not succeed? The boy will never return again. She is still busy in decoration. There is the smell of different foods from kitchen. The clock on the wall indicates the time is about to pass.

The situation is still uncertain. What an agitation; anxiety. I felt as if I was broke out in a cold sweat. The lines are changing their form with one another. Interview- Advertisement- Interview- Advertisement. I am searching a connecting line between these two lines. But the time has already passed.

Human Relation and Morality in Camus’s “The Guest”

Albert Camus “The Guest” (1957) portrays the act of making moral decisions, choice and accountability. The story basically deals about a school master named Daru who has the problem of making a moral decision regarding what to do with the Arab prisoner, left under his supervision by the gendarme Balducci.

Balducci, a military police officer, is the first to talk about a revolt, and speaks about the obligations that men face during war. After Balducci leaves, Daru forms a genuine human relationship with the Arab.  He gives him hospitality and they form a relationship. This adds a new dimension to the moral choice—now he has formed a human connection with the person he is going to have to bring to execution.

Daru’ssituation is symbolized by what is on his blackboard: “the four rivers of France, drawn with four different colored chalks, had been flowing to their estuaries for the past three days.”Even, Daru tells Balducci that he is not going to take the Arab to Tinguit. Furious Balducci makes Daru sign a paper that states the prisoner is in Daru’s custody. After Balducci leaves, Daru forms a genuine human relationship with the Arab. Moreover, he gives him hospitality.

Daru has a perfect existential choice to make. There are consequences to whatever he chooses to do.  If he is perceived as helping the Arabs, he will be considered a traitor.  If he is perceived as helping the French, he will become a target. Later actually this happens.

There is a justice to executing him for murder, but it is not a justice that Daru is really entitled to meet out.  There are very good arguments against both of his possible courses of action delivering the prisoner or helping him escape.  Daru attempts to have it both ways—he tries to pass on the moral consequences for the decision to the Arab by giving him the choice.

The climax occurs when Daru decides to release his prisoner. This decision becomes his personal declaration of independence from the authority of the state. It also provides the Arab an opportunity to choose his own fate.

Arab also faced an existential choice: Freedom versus Death. The Arab chooses certain death rather than the terrifying aspects of freedom. It is notable that Camus believes that most people would rather have a comfortable death than the existentially terrifying prospect of real freedom.