Literature, Language, and Life

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Introducing a character (Omar S)

Introducing a character is very critical in any novel, because before the character speaks or has any interaction with the reader the other characters describe him or her and give you a vivid image of the character. Lodge states that “character is arguably the most important single component of the novel…but nothing can equal the great tradition of the European novel” (67). Lodge also thinks that introducing a character is one of the most important aspects in a novel. For example when Askar began to describe Misra before she had any dialogue all we knew about her was what we had heard. Narrator said “she was the cosmos” (Farah 6). This means that Misra was the world to him and she meant everything to him. Also when the narrator says “she became a mother to you” (8). Even though though Askar was not her actual son she took care of him and cared for him and loved him just like her own. So reading about Misra before she began to talk was very important because reading so much about her gave a lot of background and helped us understand who she is as a character.

Lodge says “modern novelists usually prefer to let the facts about a character emerge gradually, diversified, or actually conveyed, by action and speech.”(68).What Lodge had said is exactly what happen in the book Maps. Farah lets the narrator in part one of the book gradually talk about Misra and goes further and further into her story until we know what had happened. For example in the beginning of chapter one we did not know how Misra had found Askar and why she cared so much about him but later in the novel we found out about what had happened to her child and that filled in that gap for us. So Farah falls under the modern novelist because he follows the way they introduce characters.

Finally Lodge says that “those green fingernails on grubby hands are what I first think of when her name is mentioned” (69). This just shows how the first thing that is said about a character before they even have any dialogue in the novel shapes up how you perceive them throughout the rest of the book. While I was reading maps the first thing that was said about Misra was “Misra noticed that noticed that your eyes were full of mistrust” (Farah 5). As soon as I read this I knew she cared for Askar and loved him just like a real mother loves there child. This stuck with me throughout part one because it was the first thing I read about Misra.


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