After reading both parts, I have come to the realization that the narrator in part 1 was more unreliable than the narrator in part 2. This is solely because the narrator in part 2 more sure of himself and who he is apart from Misra. Although he is more aware of himself as an individual, he does show signs of unreliable narration.
“Unreliable narrators are invariably invented characters who are part of the stories they tell.“
On page 247, Askar asked his uncle Hilaal about Misra and about her well being. When asked, Hilaal doesn’t seem to remember who he is. As Askar is reflecting on this, the narrator says “Askar wondered if, together with his intellectual sobriety, Hilaal had misplaced or been deprived of his memory too”. His use of the word “too” indicates that Askar had misplaced his memory of Misra as well.
“The point using an reliable narrator is indeed to reveal in an interesting way the gap between appearance and reality, and to show how human beings distort or conceal the latter.“
Later, the narrator says that Hilaal had began to think about Misra’s “depressive seasonals”, but then he seems to be confused and says that it was in fact Askar that wasn’t sure about what was real or what was misplaced.
“If he had been reliable, the effect would, of course, have been incredibly boring.”
If we had known what was real and what was unreliable, we wouldn’t have thought twice about the events that occurred.
Once again, Intertextuality is when a text refers to another text. This could be done in order to enhance meaning. Lodge begins his chapter in intertextuality by using a quote from The Shadow Line (1917). He does this in order to get his point across when coming to speak about intertextuality. The ways texts can refer to another is through the use of several devices such as : parody, echo, or allusion etc. It is believed that intertextuality is the “condition” of all texts, because all texts are based off other texts.
In Part two of the novel Maps by Nuruddin Farah the same idea still applies. The way Nuruddin specifically uses intertextuality is by him assuming the readers have background knowledge on the conflicts occurring in Somalia. The only difference in part two is that the narrator shifts. but the same ideas of intertextuality apply.
In the second part of Maps by Nuruddin Farah, Askar goes to live with his uncle and aunt Hilaal and Salaado. While there he gets a visit from Misra’s friend Karin, and Karin tells him about all the bad stuff that Misra has done like betraying the Somalians to help an Ethiopian soldier, and in the process got 603 people killed. But what stood out to Askar is the fact that Misra lied about the meaning of her name and Askar began to resent her for that reason. Even though that was Askar’s point of view, Misra was trying to do right by Askar even being tricked into rape, because she thought she was going to meet one of Askar’s relatives. And so we have two different voices, Askar and Misra, telling two different stories, from two different points of view.
There are many connections that I found in the chapter Telling in Different Voices to Maps by Nuruddin Farah, but the one that caught my attention is the intense connection between two human beings. The example shown in Maps is the intense maternal connection between Misra and Askar. Askar even calls Misra his “Cosmos” showing the intensity of their connection. The chapter Telling in Different Voice portrays a love connection between Christie and Gracie, and as always there a two sides to a story when two people are involved. Christie is a rich man who has whatever he wants, this includes women. Gracie on the other hand is devoted to Christie and her only goal in life is to court him as shown when the author says, ” Christie is Gracie’s ambition. Not a diploma, not a career, nor the world’s recognition. Just Christie.” In Maps Misra, to Askar, is everything. He would do anything for her, as anyone would do for the motherly figure in their lives. But to some readers, such as myself, Misra’s parenthood towards Askar can be seen as though she is taking the fact that he is of Somalian decent to her advantage, and using him to to get herself out of trouble caused by the war between Ethiopia and Somalia.
Lodge’s first claim is that “effects in fiction are plural and interconnected, each drawing on and contributing to all the others.” (page 56)
This statement still stands to be true in the final part of Maps. In part 1 we saw the literal and figurative borders of Somalia and Ethiopia through Misra’s character and their effect on Askar. This caused a dichotomy in his character because he did not know whether or not he should ignore one and let the other be dominant. In the final parts of Maps, Askar comes to realize that Misra and Somalia are both apart of him and he comes to discover this after moving in with Hilaal and Salaado and reconciling his relationship with her [Misra]. Hilaal and Salaado encourage Askar to embrace who he is and they assist him in his journey of self-discovery. They made him feel safe and loved and he was able to live with them instead of as an extension of them as he was with Misra. This sense of security allowed Askar to be free within limitations which isn’t anything he had ever felt before what with Aw-Adan and Uncle Qorrax constantly telling him who to be.
The realization of Askar’s identity is known to himself and the reader while he is living in Mogadiscio While the setting is never described, the effect of the place is very evident in Askar’s character development. We see his ability to grow as an individual rather than an extension of Misra. Although he misses her dearly, he enjoys his new surroundings because he is able to have his own senses and experiences. This change in Askar’s character can be seen from the interlude until chapter 8. He was at first sad to leave Misra and went through a state of not being able to feel because he was without her (page 127 “I have no inside.”). These emotions take over Asker for a while however he quickly becomes accustomed to Hilaal and Salaado’s personalities that this side of him is easily recovered and is soon able to feel everything in his own perspectivee rather than how he is told to feel it.
Lodge states that authors need to “attempt to make the reader “see” or to describe its sensory impact” in their descriptions which ultimately the goal of the sense of place. (page 58)
In part 1 of Maps, we saw that many sensory impacts were hyperbolized to make the reader connect with Askar’s journey. We also explored how the hyperbolized effect of the scene works with diction and syntax to create meaning. This is seen in many places in part 2, but one of the most meaningful instances is on page 147 “You loved them so much you wanted to put them in your mouth.” This quote shows the effect Hilaal and Salaado have on Askar and how he feels loved and protected around them. This also denotes that Askar is used to being strangely close to people he loves which reflects on his relationship with Misra. Being so close with her and she guided everything he did which shaped his experiences. This shows that he also was close to Hilaal and Salaado and that relationship also shaped his experiences which assisted in his journey of self discovery.
Lodge also states that “what intervened [with literal description] was the Romantic movement, which pondered the effect of milieu on man”.
In part 1 of Maps, Askar’s milieu was the Ogaden region with its war-torn environment shown through Misra as being Ethiopian and all her flaws and Askar being Somalia and how he mentally conformed to the stigmas associated with being Ethiopian. In part 2 of Maps, Askar is able to reflect on the Ogaden region because he is in Mogadiscio without Misra so he is in a completely Somali environment for the first time since Misra found him. The effect of Askar being in a fully Somali environment made him understand nationalism however when Misra came to find him, he also realized that she was a part of him who would not be ignored.
In David Lodge’s chapter about endings, he begins by stating that “conclusions are the weak points of most authors” and that “to victorian novelists endings were apt to be particularly troublesome, because they were always under pressure from readers and publishers to provide a happy one.” Lodge then proceeded to say later in his chapter “As the novel progressed I became increasingly conscious of the problem of how to end it in a way which would be satisfying on both the formal and the narrative levels.”
As I stated in my previous blogpost, “Maps” is a story of Askars coming of age. in the second part of this novel is where the plot really begins. Askar has a family. He is living with his uncle and his wife. The ending of the first part doesn’t give the reader any satisfaction, because it is not meant to end there. the purpose of an ending is to satisfy the reader/ audience. The scenes of the novel end unexpectedly. This suggests that the narrator feels there is a heavy burden as he seeks to recall events from his memory. There isn’t a resolution or definite ending because the main focus isn’t a beginning, middle, and ending, but the journey of self discovery.
But now that we have reached to the second part of the novel, it is evident that there still isn’t a clear ending. The scenes still continue to end abruptly. This represents the cutting short of lives, the dismemberment of war.
For example, on page 152, Hilaal decides to burn his research and then the conversation is cut. After that, Askar becomes ill after ending the conversation with Karin on page 177.
On page 196, a light bulb goes “pop,” then on page 221, Askar and Hilaal are left stranded in a car where the ignition cuts off.
The ending of the novel is unclear because it reflects backward and forward to the beginning of the novel, specifically the first page. This unclear ending reflects the theme of self identification, and the idea of the various points of view.
Time-shift is an effective literary feature that is used in numerous novels, movies, and plays. Unlike following the simple chronological order, time-shift offers readers more perspectives and more ideas to be formed. In the novel Maps, time-shift is one of the most important literary features used. Time-shift is used through a number of different perspectives to allow the reader to fully comprehend the main character Askar.
In the beginning of the interlude, the perspective seems to be discussing the events that took place before Askar’s arrival at Mogadiscio. The going back and forth through time in the novel seems to be a common occurrence. On page 132, “Of the rest of the journey to Belet Weyne, and then eventually Mogadiscio, Askar would remember when the bus was stopped and the men and the women passengers parted” The shifts that suddenly occur such as Askar memories serve to symbolize the sudden events that Occur in Somalia. These unexpected shifts from past to future are meant to convey the unexpected events that take place. Farah is trying to connect Askar to the readers in order to let them feel the same feeling that would have been felt in Somalia.