Quétin employs an ironic tone throughout the description to build contempt for Arab civilization and culture. One way he builds this contempt is through his description of Emir Abd-el-Kader, a young religious leader. The Emir became an unlikely military general after, the guidebook says, he cajoled Algerians to fight for their independence “despite their pronounced desire and need for peace.” Quétin pokes at Abd-el-Kader’s clothing because it is indistinguishable from the clothing of his inferiors—a choice a French general would never make. Yet the author also seems to both admire and ridicule how “nothing equalled the servility of the Arabs around him… they prostrated themselves, then they kissed his feet and his hands, and presented to him their offerings.”
The book also includes a first-person account from a French Catholic priest who describes a conversation he had with Abd-el-Kader. The conversation was, in fact, a terse deal made about the exchange of prisoners, but the author includes overtly friendly dialogue that the two exchanged about Islam and Catholicism. Yet that Quetin allows the Emir to speak and act positively does not grant Emir Abd-el-Kader autonomy. Because he has already been given the “noble savage” stereotype, he is a man who is admirable yet who “is always vanquished.” The priest’s account also provides a perfect example for Mary Louise Pratt’s description of an “anti-conquest” narrative, as he conceals an imperial motive under the innocent guise of answering the Emir’s questions about Christ.