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Discussion Questions over Camus’ The Guest
Type a healthy paragraph response (1/2 page) to each questions. Reference the text and explicate your ideas.  Adhere to the MLA writing guidelines in the syllabus (font, spacing and format).  Send your responses to Online Tutoring, and edit thoroughly before submitting your work.  Points will be deducted for inadequate support and/or poor word choice and grammar.  Analyze literature in Present Tense.

Describe the landscape in The Guest. How does this imagery relate to the struggle in the story? How does it relate to Camus’ philosophy as a whole?


Why is Daru so conflicted about turning in the Arab? Describe the moral dilemma at the heart of the story. Should Daru turn him in? Why or why not?

3. How does Daru change over the course of the narrative? Is he morally conflicted at the story’s beginning? How does his sense of the plateau change?
4. Jean- Paul Sartre said the following about Camus: “I would call his pessimism ‘solar’ if you remember how much black there is in the sun.” Is The Guest a pessimistic work? Does Camus see pessimism as the inevitable portion of humankind? Is redemption possible in The Guest?
5. What should a reader take from the message written on the blackboard? What do you think this message means to Daru? Do you feel that Daru wrote it himself, or did someone else write it? How important is it that Camus leaves the message so ambiguous?
6. What do you make of the accusations aimed at the Arab? Do the others in the story presume that he is guilty? Do they care? Do we receive any explanation for why the Arab must be tried according to European justice?
7. Compare Daru and Balducci. Do they have conflicting senses of duty? Consider their ages, social roles, their occupations. Why does Balducci call Daru “son.”
8. Discuss the idea of freedom within context of the narrative events. Does Daru’s decision to allow the Arab freedom of choice count as a “free” decision for Daru? Does freedom lead to happiness? Is freedom even possible within the world of The Guest?
9. Camus once stated, “The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.” How does this quote apply to The Guest? Discuss the landscape, the events, and the conversation in the story in the context of Camus’ concept of absurdity.
10.  How does this story impact you as a reader?  To what extent can you identify with the situation and/or characters?


Why is The Alchemist divided into two parts? What lesson or point does each part make?
In The Alchemist, Santiago seeks a literal treasure: buried gold. Why does Coelho choose such a concrete, obvious treasure instead of something more abstract?
Many of the wise people that Santiago meets are really old. What does this say about wisdom in The Alchemist? What do young people have to offer?
Personal Legend. The Language of the World. The Soul of the World. What is with these capitalized concepts that are repeated throughout the book?
What is the role of nature in The Alchemist?
Santiago’s treasure is buried gold. Fatima’s treasure is Santiago himself. Is that fair?  Is there some unfair gender biases at work?
There has been talk of making The Alchemist into a movie for years and years. If you were the director, who would you cast as Santiago, Fatima, the old king, and the alchemist?
What do you think happened to the girl that Santiago had a crush on back in Spain?
Do you think that it’s a good idea to use The Alchemist as a self-help book, applying its lessons to your life? Why or why not?
What lesson have you learned from this book that you can apply to your own life?

Read the assignments and watch the videos for week 1.  Reflect on the content.  Then, compose a minimum 250 word response to the following question: What is the capacity of the human mind?  To what extent have I tapped into my own mind?  Which of Zakaria’s points resonate with you, and how do these ideas connect with the video “Brilliant Minds?”  Do not search for “answers” on the internet.  Quote the article and refer to specific thinkers and scenes in the documentary!

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