external image n127099.jpg2nd challenge: After watching a movie clip that is based on fiction’s most famous existentialist short story "The Guest", create something (a movie poster that includes plot details??) that shows element(s) of existentialism. You can plan and start creating today, but then you need to bring it to class on Fri. I will have English teachers choose the winner after school. I will post the winners on the wiki Tribe Rankings page. Good luck!

The following is for your information that may help with your creation:

Existentialism: a summary.
We define ourselves through living: making choices and following the through. Only this act of choosing, i.e. living, gives our lives meaning.
Human nature, spirit, faith etc. are all well and good, but they are pointless unless we act accordingly. What we do is the only tangible measure of our being.
This implies that we are defined through our interactions with others. Brotherhood and responsibility (political commitment and action) play a huge role for some Existentialists, i.e. Camus.
We have meaning because of our actions: our existence, not because of our thoughts/spirit: our essence : ‘Existence precedes Essence’
For further explanation on Existentialism, watch this short clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=82EV4KBIsNk

The underlying concepts of existentialism are simple:
Mankind has free will.
Life is a series of choices, creating stress.
Few decisions are without any negative consequences.
Some things are irrational or absurd, without explanation.
If one makes a decision, he or she must follow through.

Background Info you might need about "The Guest":

The French-Algerian conflict.

Algeria – independent state in Ottoman Empire until 1830.
In 1815/16, Algeria withstood attempted invasions by America, Holland, and Britain.
1830 – French invaded, captured Algiers and in 1834 Algeria was annexed as a colony of France.

Under French colonial government in 19th /early 20th centuries, only French citizens were allowed skilled jobs and positions in social institutions (education, police, government).

1947 – after WWII, and nationalist uprisings, the French government established a parliament in Algeria, made up equally of Algerian and French delegates.

1954 – Foundation of FLN – National Liberation Front -> guerilla war, attacking government buildings, military posts and communications installations.

1957 – In response to progress of FLN, the French government called in 400,000 soldiers to combat the uprising – atrocities on both sides: soldiers slaughtered entire villages, FLN used terrorism against white civilian population (in Algeria and in France). French set up electrified fences along Tunisian and Moroccan borders to restrict movement of FLN, rounded up Algerian males in camps.

1962 – ceasefire established. About 100,000 French soldiers and settlers had died, about 1 million Algerian civilians and guerillas. In July a referendum was held, and independence was voted for overwhelmingly. In August, Algeria voted for its first president. (wikipedia)


Plot Summary for the short story

Daru is a French schoolteacher who teaches Arab children. Though he is French, he has established a trust with the Arabs in that he both teaches their children and gives food to their families in times of drought. However, Daru leads a solitary existence; he lives by himself in the schoolhouse. In the beginning of the story, he sees outside two men; one on horseback, the other, on foot.
The horseman is Balducci, a gendarme and old friend of Daru. An Arab trails behind him, his hands tied together and to Balducci's horse. As the horse approaches the schoolhouse, Balducci greets Daru, and Daru invites him into the house. He offers Balducci some tea.
Balducci orders Daru to take the prisoner and deliver him to the prison the next day, and offers him a revolver in defence. Daru initially refuses. It isn't his job to take care of prisoners, and he doesn't want to be tangled into such an affair. During tea Balducci informs Daru of the Arab's crime; murdering his cousin. Balducci orders him again, and then leaves, and Daru has no choice but to keep the prisoner in the schoolhouse.
Daru cooks some galette for the Arab, and they eat and drink together. That night, Daru cannot sleep; he hears footsteps outside, but dismisses it as his dream. The next morning, he makes coffee, and the two eat breakfast together. Daru then packs some sugar, money, and dates and starts to lead the Arab to the prison. Just after starting the journey, Daru again hears a slight sound coming from near the schoolhouse. He investigates, finds nothing, and moves on.
Partway there, Daru stops, he gives the prisoner the food and money, and allows him to choose for himself whether to continue on the path to prison or to escape. Daru starts to walk away. He turns around, and sees the prisoner standing there. Daru keeps walking away. When he turns around again, the prisoner is gone. Daru is curious as to which way the prisoner went and when he goes back, he sees the prisoner on the path to prison. When Daru returns to the schoolhouse, he sees a note scrawled on the blackboard: "You turned our brother in. You will pay." Alienated from the Arabs as well, Daru feels alone. (wikipedia)

Major Themes

The major theme of The Guest is that decisions and choices have a consequence and the ultimate consequence of death is not a result only by chance, but by the fact that everyone will eventually die and that life does not matter after you die. This piece is characteristic of Existentialism, the prevalent school of thought among the era's literati. It also presents Camus' concept of Absurdism, as well as many examples of human choices. The dilemmas faced by Daru are often seen as representing the dilemmas faced by Camus regarding the Algerian crisis and there are many similarities between the character of Daru and his creator Camus. Both are French Algerians exiled by the choices they have made. The main themes of The Guest are of choice and accountability. Camus emphasizes, characteristically of existentialist philosophy, that there is always a choice, that the only choice unavailable is not to choose. Daru chooses how he will handle Balducci and whether he will turn in the prisoner; the prisoner chooses whether to go to jail or to freedom. More important, however, is the theme of accountability. The essence of Camus's philosophy is that everyone is "condemned" to an eventual, inevitable death, and accepting this allows for a certain freedom; the prisoner, having achieved self-awareness when Daru gave him the choice to flee or go to jail, realizes the futility of fleeing from the inevitable punishment and goes willingly to jail, thus revolting against the inevitable by making the decision of his own accord and holding himself accountable for the murder.
Yet another theme can be extracted from this short story, however: complete neutrality is unattainable. This is evidenced by Daru's attempt to not make a decision; in the end, the Arab made the decision for him, and he lost his neutrality.(wikipedia)

In this story, Daru the Existentialist resents having his own life directed by outside forces, whether they be the loyalty of friendship or the pressures of politics, and similarly refuses to direct the life choices of anyone else. It is ironic at the end of the story that the townspeople believe that despite the fact that Daru really did not make a choice -- despite the fact that he simply relocated the burden of choosing back onto the person most affected by the ramifications of the decision -- that he "turned over [their] brother." Camus would argue, however, that because Daru refused to intrude on the Arab's free will, it was Daru -- and not the townspeople -- who really acted as a brother. (http://www.storybites.com/camusguest.htm)

So....after you have watched the clip, read the background, discuss 1st how Daru is an existentialist. Then create something that shows your understanding and promotes the film's essence of Taking Responsibility for One's Actions and Allowing Others to Make Choices for Themselves.

After this, there are 2 challenges left: physical and creative. Good luck!