Literature, Language, and Life

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Time-Shift applied in part one of Maps

One of Lodge’s main points that he makes in this chapter is that using time-shift is more interesting than chronological order.  Simple stories tend to tell the story in chorological order, which can lead to losing interesting effects caused from time-shift. By using time-shift, narrators avoid stating one event after another and eventually leading to readers being bored. This is what separates a simple novel from a more complex and attention grabbing novel.  Lodge states that time-shift “allows us to make connections of causality and irony between widely separated events “.  There is more room for interpretation when the narrative focus shifts either to the past or to the future. Readers are able to understand and form more opinions of the novel in general. Time- shift is “naturalized” as Lodge says in order to allow readers to actually think about the novel. Having the knowledge of a character’s childhood may alter a reader’s perspective and this can be evident in the novel Maps by Nuruddin Farah.

Maps is a perfect example of a novel that utilizes time-shift effectively. The first part of Maps describes fragments of memories and dreams of Askar’s life. An example would be Askar remembering the baths that Misra gave him when he was a boy, also remembering the times he was ill. Farah intends to confuse readers by adding random events and scenes from the past. This is reiterating Lodge’s point that time-shift is more interesting than chronological order. All these dreams and random conversations serve the purpose of understanding Askar’s life. For example when Askar randomly remembers a conversation he had with Misra about his hate toward his uncle Qorrox, then jumps to a dream Askar had.  All these events, dreams, and memories are all jumbled up in pages. Which makes this novel hard to follow and ultimately leads to many readers left off in confusion. However, confusion attracts readers to uncover the real meaning that serves their perception.


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