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QUESTION

FOR KIM WOODS ONLY - Summary and Analysis of The Guest by Albert Camus

FOR KIM WOODS ONLY 

Assignment:1. Select 1 passage from The Guest by Albert Camus.

Your passage may be any length. You may also piece together multiple passages using ellipses (...) in between.

Be sure to include the paragraph number(s) after the passage, like this (para. 27) or if piecing together multiple passages, like this (para. 27, 54).

2. Write a short summary of the passage (1-3 sentences)

3. Analyze the passage you have chosen (3-4 sentences).

What does it show you as a reader?

Can you apply a theoretical lenses to the passage? What does that reveal about the passage?

What is your interpretation of the passage?

4. Write a well-developed analysis of the passage that you chose on step #1. Length one page. 

You must present an organized and structured literary analysis of the passage.

The purpose of the essay is to discuss the themes, issues, and symbolism that you view as significant within the text, as represented by this passage. In other words, your essay is a close reading and analysis of a particular passage, and your essay will analyze this passage.  Your essay may cite other passages from the text as well as the initial passage.Example of how this homework should be:

1. Passage from the text:

Quote from “Near Pala” Whites by Norman Rush 

“Nan said to Tess, but projecting for the benefit of the front, ‘Truly, are we so superior as we think?  I wonder little.  When we first moved in at the mine, we did something at the house so stupid am still in pain.  There were two pawpaw trees growing side by side by the house, one thriving with nice big pawpaws on it and the other sick-looking and leaf -less – dead looking.  Well, we thought it was plain what we should do: take down the dead tree.  So we hauled and pushed on the trunk of the poor tree and strained and pulled it over – uprooted it,Gareth and myself.  It was his idea: we must just straight off do this, get it over.  Then, with the crash, the servants come out.  They had funny looks on.  Dineo said, so quietly, ‘Oh, Mma, youhave killed the male.’  We didn’t understand.  It seems the pawpaw grow in pairs, couples, male and female.  The male tree looks like a phallus – no foliage to it, really.  The female needs the male in order to bear.  They take years to reach the heights ours had.  Then the female died.  The staff had been eating pawpaws from our tree for years.  It was a humiliation.” (21).

Analysis:

Norman Rush’s short story “Near Pala” deals with the relationship between white European sand black Africans in Botswana, as well as with the relationship between white males and females.  Through the dialogue of two white English couples driving through Botswana, Rush draws a parallel between these two complex relationships.  Rush makes clear that in both of these relationships there is an oppressor and an oppressed; while the blacks are oppressed by the whites, the women are oppressed by the men. Rush is also pointing out that the oppression of both of these groups of people has led them to depend on their oppressors in one way or another. The passage that I have chosen to illustrate these aspects of Rush’s story is like an allegory within the story.  In it the complexities of the relationships of blacks and whites and women and men are revealed.  Nan begins the story with a preface that lets the reader know that this story is going to debase the idea that the whites are superior to blacks.  It does this in avery literal way, by explaining how a couple of white people (herself and Gareth), in their ignorance of Botswana life, land, and society, destroyed something very important to the Botswana people.  They killed a perfectly healthy tree that the Botswana people ate from.  This is a specific instance in which the white people are shown not to be superior to the blacks. At the same time we can see this passage as a commentary on the relationships of men and women. Like the male tree, which is depicted as “sick-looking and leaf-less- dead-looking”(21), Gareth is portrayed in a rather unappealing way.  He is rude, abrasive, degrading and controlling towards Nan.  He demeans her by dismissing all of her thoughts and comments.  As Nan puts it, “The smallest thing I propose is always senseless, madness- I must put it from me”(25).  In Gareth’s point of view nothing Nan says has any validity.  Likewise, he is very uncompassionate towards the Botswana people.  He criticizes them and even laughs at their misfortune: “They passed a small settlement and the men began to laugh.  An imposing thorn tree overhanging a shed at the roadside was clotted with paper refuse- streamers of toilet tissue caught in the spines”(20).  Gareth fails to understand that this problem is not solely the fault of the Botswana, but of the white people who brought them inorganic materials and did not explain to them that these items were not bio-degradable, as Nan explains.  However, like the female tree is dependent on the male tree, Nan is dependent upon Gareth, who has impregnated her.  She is obviously unhappy about her pregnancy as she says she doesn’t want to talk about it and she forgets about it at one point.  Also, there is a scene in which Tess says that she can feel herself ovulating, and Nan responds, “‘Aren’t you lucky!’ Nan said.  Her eyes reddened, and she turned to look out the window on her side”(23).  Nan obviously thinks Tess is lucky, because if she herself had known when she was ovulating, she would not be pregnant,and therefore, she would not be forever tied to Gareth. Like Nan is dependent on a man who degrades her and controls her, the Botswana people are dependent on the white people, who control and degrade them.  We see in the story how many white people view the black people.  They see them as inferior.  Tom and Gareth make generalizations about the Botswana people being thieves, or being wasteful.  They refuse to help the Botswana people, who are in desperate need of water.  However, like Nan, the Botswana people need the help of the very people that are making them need help in the first place.  They need the acrylic blankets that the white people bring, because since the white people came they can no longer afford wool blankets, and it is because of these acrylic blankets that their babies are getting pneumonia.  And because their babies are getting pneumonia, they depend on the help of the white doctors. Thus, the complexities of these two different, yet parallel relationships are beautifully illuminated by the story of the pawpaw trees.  However, while the story itself is told beautifully,the pictures it paints of the situation between whites and blacks in Africa, as well as the situation between Western men and women, are overwhelmingly bleak.  Although, there is a certain amount of hope in Nan, a white person who does have compassion for the African people, that hope is all but crushed when we realize that Nan herself is almost powerless to help as she is in an oppressive situation very similar to that of the Africans.

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