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Home » Uncategorized » Lodge’s ideas: Epiphany (Lack of Epiphany) applied to Pt.2/3 of Maps by Nuruddin Farah

Lodge’s ideas: Epiphany (Lack of Epiphany) applied to Pt.2/3 of Maps by Nuruddin Farah

Over time, as I delved into Askars world and Lodge’s unique yield on it, I predicted early on in part 1 of  Farah’s Maps that Askar would finally experience epiphany, finally come to the understanding/ powerful realization and measly sense of who he truly is. Reading on and on, conflict followed by no resolution was a common pattern that had taken its course. However, in the sense of epiphany, a climax/resolution was finally found in part 2 of Maps. From chapter 6 after the interlude to chapter 9, a wide and vivid description was emitted all having to do with Askars reaction to receiving his “identity card” from his uncle which was sent from the government informing him of physical features and characteristics which he didn’t realize he ever had, and which, in turn, also separated him from Misra.

It’s as if Askar is born all over again, but this time, with an actual recorded birth certificate which stated his full name, precise height and weight, etc. As Askar sunk his “new identity” in, he expressed his relief and puzzlement that came along with finding out about himself, even if they mostly included physical identifications.

Rewind to part1: Askar distinctly narrated that he did not care about physical identifications. He did not care whether he was a boy or not, whether he had male characteristics or not, whether he was his own physically existing individual as the only identity description he had only included 10% of who he was and 91% of who Misra was. Even then his 10% was a scam to himself as that fraction of his identity still had to do with how he related to Misra. As long as his identification description is filled up with Misra-esc traits, that is all he cares about, that is all he identifies with.

Because I have become attached to the aspect of Epiphany, my expectations became quite high as to how Askar would experience epiphany towards the end of the novel, or if he would ever undergo it. Though epiphany occurred, I must say I felt “iffy” about it. I was both disappointed but ecstatic at the same time. My disappointment emerged from the route of the epiphany..the “identity card”. I felt saddened and discouraged due to the fact that Askar had finally come to realize who/what he is only because government officials told him so on a piece of paper. Keeping political and social matters in mind, Askar grew up with the misfortune of being surrounded by people who didn’t stop him from religiously believing he was a piece of another human being. Keeping in mind all of his environmental circumstances, I understand that the identity card is more of a golden ticket to departing from his internal confliction journey. My happiness shined through as I felt and witnessed the birth of a new Askar whom didn’t identify himself with Misra anymore; a new Askar who is perfectly content with being his own two legs, his own two arms and his own chest.

Questions for thought:

***Might the epiphany still be unclear? Is the “identity card” but a step closer to experiencing true epiphany as to who Askar truly is without using the card as a solid identity description?


  1. nassersamad says:

    I really like this post. I think the point about how the identity card that details certain characteristics about Askar that he did not know himself is really significant. It shows how everything Askar knows about himself stems from information someone else has told him, This is why Askar is struggling to find himself, it is not solely because he is conflicted as to where his allegiance lays, but it also because he has become accustomed to someone else telling him.

  2. ksaxx8 says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I found Nasser’s point very excellent, on how Askar goes into detail about other characters but does not really know himself or who he is. I also find this very important because it shows the true focus of Askar, how he does not know himself, yet specifically knows in detail everyone else. The point of the identity card being a solid description can also be questioned, because who he wants to be and who he is and is going to be are two different views and meanings.

  3. ojastaniah says:

    I found your post extremely interesting. I enjoyed how you questioned the validity of the epiphany due to the medium in which he received it. I did not think of the identity card as just “piece of paper”, but your explanation of the topic helps me understand the topic in a new light. I would like to believe that this “identity card” was a false-epiphany. Ask spent his entire life searching for who he really was and all he needed was a card with his name on it to determine that. I find that a bit farfetched and if I was in Askar’s position I would most likely be disappointed as well. Overall, I found your ideas refreshing and I enjoyed your perspective on the novel.

  4. sufyansheikh says:

    Your post was very intriguing especially the points you made on Askar being reborn. I agree with you on that point because Askar changed from that point in the story. After receiving his “identity card” Askar thought he knew who he really was, and i also agree with you on the fact that it is sad that he only recognized his existence because of a card he received from the government.

  5. diabsabrina says:

    I really enjoyed this post. It provided me with deeper insight to epiphany particularly in part two of the novel. Although I disagree that Askar has had his epiphany. I feel as though the “piece of paper” was what like Omar stated, as being a false epiphany. It may have given him some sort of identity but not the type of identity Askar had been searching for.

  6. kbdoyle09 says:

    Great post, Dana! The way I interpret Askar’s reaction to receiving his identity card is much darker than yours.

    With Farah’s views on nationalism in mind, it seems that it is nationalism that underlies a country’s need to “define” its citizens according to nationality, gender, and physical characteristics, and thus it is an attempt to restrict the individual’s sense of self. As Askar approaches the age of 18, when he will be officially recognized as an adult, the government wants to remind him that he is Somali. It is an attempt to reinforce the arbitrary divisions and borders that have perpetuated conflict, violence, and oppression for the people of that region.

    Misra certainly needed paperwork to enter Mogadishu, and it is likely that her papers said she was Ethiopian. This could have led to her murder.

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