David Lodge asserts that dividing texts into chapters or parts “gives the narrative, and the reader, time to take breath, as it were, in the intervening pauses”. Furthermore, he contends that the divisions may function as “transitions between different times or places in the action”.
My opinion regarding the function of the chapter divisions (to change point of view) and divisions within the chapters (to formally separate between stories/ideas as to not hinder the audience’s understanding) stands. My opinion about the division of the novel into parts had developed and will be discussed in more depth, as promised in the previous blog post. In my previous blog post, I said that Maps was divided into two parts, however, after completing the novel, I came to realize that it was actually divided into three parts.
Part one includes six chapters while part two and three each include three chapters. Part one is distinguishable from part two and three in that it focuses more on the collection of Askar’s memories. There are a lot of flashbacks and little structure or order. The audience most likely experiences the most confusion in part one, as opposed to the rest of the book, as part one is practically a reflection of Askar’s thoughts and recollections.
The interlude functions as a separation between part one and the rest of the novel. It may be structured this way due to the fact that part two and three are fairly similar, while part one follows an extremely different structure and serves a dissimilar purpose. Thus, the interlude breaks up the book into two halves. But in what way do these halves differ?
As stated earlier part one focuses more on Askar’s memories. Part two and three, on the other hand, follow a more set structure and chronological timeline. They also focus more on a plot, and are consequently less fragmented. I found part two and three difficult to distinguish from one another. However, when I took a closer look, I realized that part two begins when Askar arrives in Mogadishu and ends after he has met and gotten better acquainted with Misra. Part three, on the other hand, explores the rekindling of Askar and Misra’s relationship.
Lodge also contends that the chapters and divisions also may have “Expressive rhetorical effects, especially if it has a textual heading, in the form of a title, quotation, or summary of contents”
The quote in the Interlude: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” This quote, by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, is particularly fitting for this novel. Part one is the portion of the novel that allows the audience to understand the story, but in a confusing, backwards way. Part two and three, on the other hand, are presented in forward, clear, manner, but can only be understood by reading part one. Thus, the novel practically embodies this quote. Farah is simply saying: don’t worry audience, everything is about to start making sense.
The quote in the beginning of part two: The quote by Joseph Conrad states “All is illusion- the words written, the mind at which they are aimed, the truth they are intended to express, the hands that will hold the paper, the eyes that will glance at the lines. Every image floats vaguely in a sea of doubt- and the doubt itself is lost in an unexplored universe of incertitude”. This quote may refer to the maps, which are made up of lines, words, and images that are essentially all part of an illusion. The idea of incertitude in cartography is discussed in a conversation between Uncle Hilaal and Askar, resembling the gist of quote.
The quote in the beginning of part three: “who shall deliver me from this body of death” is a quote from the Bible (Romans 7:24). This quote is expressed apostle expresses his desire to depart from the body in order to enjoy an immortal life, and rid himself of the corruption and burdens of mortal life. This quote resonates with part three, as there are several instances where Askar notes that there is life in death and death in life. Misra’s death also may be related to this quote, as she freed from a life of false fault and an unclear identity.