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The Sense of Place in Part 2 and 3 of Maps – Idrisa

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.

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