Literature, Language, and Life

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Interior Monologue and Identity

Interior monolog is defined as a passage of writing presenting a character’s inner thoughts and emotions in a direct, sometimes disjointed or fragmentary manner. In maps by Nuruddin Farah, askar’s personality is split and shifts in identification throughout the first, second, and third- person sections of the book. Using an odd mix of omission and limitation Farah is able to separate the different personalities of askar to achieve a view of three different entities in turn identifying these three unreliable narrators as different versions of askar. These three narrators present the separate mental processes of a single entity (askar), this is important as interior monologue directly correlates with the issue of identity in this novel. Askar struggles to find himself as he cuts ties with his substitute mother Misra, growing into manhood with ties to the land, Somalia. The struggle of the land, metaphorically represented by maps, directly correlates with Askar’s journey of self-discovery. This journey is one of instability, as the use of first, second, and third narratives gives the reader an idea of Askar’s internal struggle with identity, as does the struggle with the land, between Somalia and Ethiopia, a sense of immense instability grips the land as it does Askar.


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