“There is nothing more tragic for a man who has been expecting to die than a long convalescence. After that touch from the wing of Death, what seemed important is so no longer; other things become so which had at first seemed unimportant, or which one did not even know existed.”
Having recovered to the extent that he is able to get up and go about Michel wanders widely gaining strength. But the result of having been warned in Gide’s preface about bad things to come is that you are on the look out for some sort of slide into moral ambiguity. As a result the interest that Michel takes in the local boys seems to be heading in a unnatural direction and his attitude towards the need for secrecy in his relations with them sets some alarm bells ringing.
But before a chance emerges when he might get the chabce to do something he might regret – or is this akll just imaginary? – they head off away from Tunis towards Algeria. Michel starts to get stronger, bronzing his body in the sun, and as a result starts to take more of an interest in the world around him and his desires start to become stronger.