The vague idiom ‘do what you got to do’ signifies the role of Daru in Albert Camus’, The Guest, and often translates to students who are faced with dilemmas. Influenced by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Camus’ protagonist, Daru lives in an environment that reflects absurdity.
Nature serves as a theme of alienation from the beginning of the book, all the way through the end where Daru is returned to his state of isolation. The story’s plot is driven by Balducci’s (the gendarme) demand of Daru’s assistance in transporting an Algerian prisoner. Balducci expresses, “In war times, people do all kinds of jobs.” This can be directly correlated with the events after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.
The U.S. had been thrust into World War II, which caused everyday life across the country to be drastically changed. Regulations on food, gas and clothing became normalcy. Communities conducted scrap metal drives. Women stepped-in and became electricians, welders and riveters in defense plants in order to produce more weaponry. More recently, natural disasters in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Mexico have caused people to leave the comfort of their everyday lives and take on new responsibilities. The theme of “Country” and “Unity” come to mind with these exploratory topics.
As teachers, you can engage in cross-curricular projects that bring together U.S. History and English Literature or Composition. You do this by having students perform research on the events that took place after WWII and the events taking place now after Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey. They can then conduct a comparative analysis of how peoples’ lives were altered and what kinds of jobs they had to take on.
Daru struggled with surrendering to others the determination of his fate. Many people who have been affected by the hurricanes have surrendered their fate to American Red Cross, or local emergency services. What kinds of moral dilemmas do people face at this time? Pop-culture has some suggestions on how to react in disastrous times like these. A celebrity telethon fundraiser was initiated and four major broadcast networks committed to air the special for an hour on September 12, 2017.
In times like these when disaster strikes and lives are taken too soon, it is important to analyze our roles as citizens, but more importantly as human beings. As the future of this country, it is important for students to grasp this understanding of unity in the midst of absurdity.
“The U.S. Home Front During World War II.” History.com, 3 October 3, 2017, http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/us-home-front-during-world-war-ii