Literature, Language, and Life

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Time–shift applied to part two of Maps

Time-shift is an effective literary feature that is used in numerous novels, movies, and plays. Unlike following the simple chronological order, time-shift offers readers more perspectives and more ideas to be formed. In the novel Maps, time-shift is one of the most important literary features used. Time-shift is used through a number of different perspectives to allow the reader to fully comprehend the main character Askar.

In the beginning of the interlude, the perspective seems to be discussing the events that took place before Askar’s arrival at Mogadiscio. The going back and forth through time in the novel seems to be a common occurrence. On page 132, “Of the rest of the journey to Belet Weyne, and then eventually Mogadiscio, Askar would remember when the bus was stopped and the men and the women passengers parted” The shifts that suddenly occur such as Askar memories serve to symbolize the sudden events that Occur in Somalia. These unexpected shifts from past to future are meant to convey the unexpected events that take place. Farah is trying to connect Askar to the readers in order to let them feel the same feeling that would have been felt in Somalia.


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