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The Title

“Titles could indicate a theme or suggest an intriguing mystery or promise a certain kind of setting and atmosphere.” Says Lodge (194).

By looking at the title “Maps”, the reader takes the idea of geography and the involvement of a journey or destination. The word brings thoughts of different places and possibly a path or direction. By the simplicity of the title and the simple meaning it has, the reader can view the book as if it is simple. When you first start off the book the first sentence is “You sit, in a contemplative posture, your features agonized and your expressions pained; you sit for hours and hours and hours, sleepless, looking into darkness, hearing a small snore coming from the room next to yours.” Maps (3). This gives the reader the ability to foreshadow and put together a story using the beginning of the book and the connection of it to the title. This point of the connecting and foreshadowing the book by reading the title is also explained by Lodge where he says “For the novelist choosing a title may be an important part of the creative process, bringing sharper focus what the novel is supposed to be about.” (194).

“Novels have always been commodities as well as works of art, and commercial considerations can affect titles, or cause them to be changed.” Says Lodge (195).

The title being short and one word gives off a mysterious idea and makes it more attracting to the reader. If the title was to be “A Confused African Boy Without a Mother”, that would give off the main point of the book and takes away the mystery and that takes away the interest and the art of it. The title being simple “Maps” and simple keeps its mystery and gives off the beautiful art that lodge speaks of. The same of the point made by Lodge that the title is important, the make of the title is just as important. It has to be interesting and has to give off an important idea but not give away the book in a couple of words.

The title of the book can be seen as the most important part of the book, and this is because the title is what gives off the interest to it and brings the readers to it. For the title being short with much mystery behind it can catch the eyes of others. Moreover, the title allows foreshadowing for the book and helps the reader understand what it is about and allow the connecting of ideas back to the decision of what the title is. Lodge speaks of other writers and their decision making behind their titles and how they chose to title. This can be in a way decided on how the writer wants to set the setting and atmosphere. This is the importance of it and how it helps the books interest. The further the reader gets into the book with the involvement of Africa and Ethiopia; they’ll connect back to the title and see how it relates to it.


  1. oshammo says:

    When i first was handed the book i first read the title and immediately thought the same thing. I thought it was going to be about geography, But i was in for a big surprise. While i read about Askar and his journey i began to connect the dots. I understood why Farah called the book Maps because when you use a map you use it to get to your destination. But we were on the journey, Askars journey to his identity and Misra was the map to all of this. She helped him find his inner self.

  2. samiajrab says:

    I enjoyed reading this post about the title of Maps, it has presented me an idea I had not yet thought of; shorter titles are more appealing to readers than longer ones. I agree that the title “Maps” gives the novel a strange edge. I also agree with the idea that titles are works of art. I’d like to propose the idea that the “Maps” depicted in the title are more metaphorical than they are tangible, however, in that they present Askar’s relationships with people. Askar didn’t begin to mean something to Misra until he was given a name, or until he called her “Mother”, he says: “Perhaps that is when I began to mean something to Misra. Or is that an absurd statement to make? Until I was sent to school – or rather, until i met the larger world which consisted of a large number of children – I called Misra “Mother”.” The Maps could illustrate that what is real is only so in reference to everything else. Askar was only important when he was given a name; his name gave him a role in the social world.
    Again, i enjoyed reading your post.

  3. hebazaidan says:

    I agree with Samia, the title is more reader friendly because it’s short, easy to remember and it’s pretty catchy. I agree that the title adds to the book by making it unique. I think the title serves multiple purposes. One is to represent the the geographical border disputes in the region which he grew up in. In addition, I think it also refers to the mental map Askar is building of himself and his identity. I also agree with Omar in that Maps could also refer to the guide of self-disovery. I think this post was extremely insightful and I enjoyed reading it because it gives perspective on what another’s take is on the title 🙂

  4. idrisarahman says:

    I think this is a great feature to look at seeing as the title is the first thing the reader sees when they select a book. When I first received Maps, I did not think about it in relation to a journey to seek self, I thought of a map with a start point and a finish point and directions on how to get to where the character is going. I also thought of borders on Maps which I agree contributed to the idea of mystery surrounding the title.
    I think that the title being Maps, after reading the novel is especially suitable because it talks about the literal and figurative maps in the story. I think that this simple word that is able to portray the story of Somalia vs Ethiopia and Askar vs the world the most effectively. Title isn’t very acknowledged when analyzing a novel, however the title works to sum up the main point of the book in a few words. This is important because it can help the reader tie everything back together to the main point.

  5. abdullahaly97 says:

    I agree with you here that the title of the novel is important to understanding the novel. I like the idea of the novel being our “Map” through the journey that is Askar’s life. In that since, the novel is our Map and we must follow Askar through his journey to achieving an identity. Part of a journey is getting lost and that is why I think that Farah confuses the reader and forces us to use his “map”

  6. diabsabrina says:

    The following post was very beneficial to me. This is because when i first began reading the book, i didn’t really think about the title to be honest. But the post brought light to it. Now that I think about it is it like Askar is trying to navigate his life through hardship, conflicts in his country, and internal conflicts as well. So the title functions as though it is a “Map” taking us through Askar’s journey. I agree with abdullah lay when he says Farah uses it to confuse the reader and force us to use the ‘map” he has equipped us with.

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