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Motivation (Lodge) In Reference to Maps

As described in Lodge’s chapter on Motivation, “Motivations in a novel like Middlemarch is a code of causality. It aims to convince us that the characters act as they do not simply because it suits the interests of the plot but because a combination of factors, some internal, some external, plausibly cause them to do so.”

In part two of the novel, Askar’s internal struggle becomes more visible. “Uncle Hilaal and Salaado watched you as you sifted your ideas and sorted them out. You appeared desperate, like a man upon whom it has just dawned that a future is not possible without his disowned past.”

In order to proceed through his future successfully, Askar must find understanding and peace with his past. Askar tried to figure out everything he can about his mother. He brings Hilaal and Salaado his mothers old journal. This doesn’t do much, however, and Askar falls under the assumption that is his own fault that his mother has died. He even calls himself a murderer.

The issue with this is that this has caused Askar to feel as though murdering people that are essentially cruel isn’t morally wrong; “I, who had murdered my mother, I said to myself. Why should it not be possible to murder a hated Aw-Adan? And why should killing Uncle Orrax pose any difficulties?”.

He cannot proceed through his future as he is burdened with the idea of murdering his mother himself.

These feelings become more and more evident as Askar is described as “silent” in part two. Noise has been a reoccurring symbol of a state of satisfaction in Maps starting as early as page 5, “In Misra’s company, he was noisy”. In Part two however, Askar falls as his past causes him to contemplate his feelings about Misra, the war, and attending the University.


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