Literature, Language, and Life

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Chapter 10: Throughout this chapter the narrator structures this section in a sort of stream of thoughts, the narrator goes through variously different topics throughout this chapter. It is as if the narrator is plainly narrating all that he remembers from his experiences and still trying to figure out who he truly is as a person. For example: “You knew things were not as easy as all that. But you were glad he had come. His arrival had injected new blood into everybody and there was a great deal of excited movement.”, “The neighbor’s wife had been ill for some time. According to the shamanistic prescription, the woman would have the spirits in her influenced for the better, and they would leave her.”, finally “There was a flood. And you floated. You floated, heavy as a corpse, asleep to the end of the world. You floated easterly, towards the sea.”

Chapter 11: In chapter eleven of this novel the narrator expresses his past horrid experiences through the use of aggressive and depressing emotions and thoughts. The narrator establishes a similar stream of thoughts as before throughout this chapter. For example: “I was eating, with great, relish, a slice of the sky and it was most delicious. It was blue – as steaks are brown when well done – and it lay in great heaps in front of me. ”, “The following morning, I awoke and there was a taste of blood in my mouth. I found it odd that, although my tongue scoured the area surrounding the palate and the floor of the mouth, I could not account for it. ”, “I said to Uncle Hilaal that instead of thinking about Misra’s disappearance, I started becoming obsessed with bodies.”, and finally “At the mention of her name, he appeared animated with life. He was like one who had found the right road to self-confidence.”

Chapter 12: In this final chapter of this novel, the narrator concludes that he is in fact who he is, and who he (his identity) is. The narrator establishes that he is Askar, and the only persona that he has. The narrator does through his past experiences and dreams. For example: “ “What is your name?” Askar Cali-Xamari”, “Her body was prepared for burial and Askar was not present. They buried Misra and he was not at the funeral.”, finally “He was in the garden which was lush with foliage and plants with memories of their own. And he recognized the tree that had the same birthday as himself, he sat in its shade which was sweet, ate what he could of its ripe fruits.”

Time-Shift CH.1-2

Thesis statement: Farah uses the stream of consciousness as a form of Time-Shift in order to allow a more fluid story and to allow the reader to fully comprehend the main character as they chose to.

In the first part of Chapter 1, Farah simply tells the story as if a narrator expressing this thoughts when they first come. It is an overflow of ideas; the narrator, Askar, seems to be jumping around from idea to idea and doesn’t seem to stick with one particular focus to be able to build on it. It is as if Askar may have been writing a memoir rather than a story. This is one use of Time-Shift that Lodge states. Lodge says that Time-Shift can be naturalized as the operation of memory. The first chapter does not seem to follow any form of chronological order. Lodge even says that Time-Shift can be a type of stream of consciousness or a memoir of a character. It does not start off from the birth of Askar and continue from there, but rather just seems to state information in the order than comes to the narrator. There seems to be little structure in the organization of the chapter. The first part of chapter one solely talks about Askar and dives into his person. A time-shift occurs in the beginning of part two in the same chapter. Now, the narrator focuses on Misra and how she viewed Askar. Furthermore, this chapter steers away from Askar’s individually and delves into the relationship between Misra and the latter. According to Lodge, using Time-Shift allows for a more interesting, lively story by deviating from the widely accepted use of chronological order. Lodge also states that a Time-shift may be used in order to change the reader’s perception. However, because of the time-shift early on in the book, Farah’s intended perception of Askar has yet to be set.

Motivation: Ch. 3-4

Analysis of Motivation in Chapters 3 and 4 of Nuruddin Farah’s Maps
As related to the “Point of View” chapter from David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction 

In the beginning of Chapter 3, Askar’s actions are unknown. Meaning he has no destination in mind to where he is running. This unknown motivation to leave and run can connect to one of Lodge’s main points in his essay on Motivation. “Motivation 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.” The readers are unaware of what is pushing Askar to run, only knowing that he must leave. Askar then starts to question his purpose in life. He knows what the river’s purpose is, “to irrigate and help grow food,” but what did man mean? What is the importance of human existence? It is then when Askar realizes that “he didn’t know where he was or who he was; and he no

longer had any identity or name.” It is like Lodge says, there are external factors that cause characters to act the way they do, and not for the sake of the plot. By having Askar question who he is, the reader is also asked to evaluate. We know where Askar came from, but is he later then identified by the factors that surround him? His identity, who he knows himself to be, is brought to question. The external force and unknown motive that pushed him to run, has also pushed him to question the meaning of his own existence.

In Chapter 4 of MAPS, Askar is questioning his identity once more. He has begun to age and has noticed his body become increasingly saggy. There is a girl brought to him, a young woman who is so beautiful. They have agreed to switch bodies; Askar to be young again and the young woman to not be stared at like an object. Lodge states: “By roundabout phrasing, the author imitates both the way we have to infer motives from behavior in real life, and the way we conceal our true motives even from ourselves.” When the time comes for the two to exchange the lips, both are hesitant. Askar doesn’t want his thoughts to change; he just wishes to be a young man once again. “You felt there was something unfished aboutyou, as though you had made yourself in such a haste you roughened your features unnecessarily.” While his motive was to become young again, his mind begins to question the reason behind the motive. Why did he want to be younger? “I was once a young man-but I lost my identity. I am a septuagenarian wearing the face, and thinking with the brain, of a young woman, although the rest of my body, my misplaced memory if you like, partly belongs to yet a third person, namely a seventeen year old youth.” This inner quest for the past to return, leads Askar to question who he is. His motivation for returning young was to return back to a time he was familiar and comfortable with. Like Lodge stated, the author used roundabout phrasing to conceal Askar’s true motives from himself and from the reader.

Chapter 3&4 Sense of Place Haroun Ansari

Chapters: 3 and 4

In chapter 3 and 4 the sense of place found in Misra is greatly altered to what the beginning of the book depicted.  In previous chapters, Askar describes her as loving, caring, and his “cosmos” or his everything.  Now that Askar is seventeen and just like every seventeen year old is beginning to separating himself from his parental figure ie.. Misra. In chapter 3 Askar recalls Misra when she is on her period, a time when she is fierce to look at, ugly, and describes her even as a homicidal maniac.

Misra is now depicted as a traitor and is a primary suspect for the killings of 100 members of the Western Somali Liberation Front.  This sets confusion between the Somalian part of Askar and the Ethiopian part of Askar.  This sets up a division, which is set up in two different geographical areas for the sense of place. There is the male half, the somalian half, the Mogadascio half which Askar takes that is on the side of his father that views Misra as a traitor, and then there is the feminine, Ethiopian, Ogaden half, that views Misra as an extension of himself.

Later in chapter 3, the sense that portrayed Misra as ugly and violent changes to a more tolerant view of Misra. This happens at the encounter with the old man that tells Askar that a mother’s curse is far worse than a father’s curse. This coincides with Askar starting to lean back towards the Feminine, Ogaden, Ethiopian side, where he begins to become more accepting of Misra.  He still recognizes her as his “cosmos”, or his everything, and this contributes to Askar’s confusion.  This sets up a question of Where do Askar’s Loyalties lie? Is it with his dead father that he had never met before and his duty to his country, or is it with the woman who brought him up, his “extension” of himself, but rumored to be a traitor to the country?

This confusion is portrayed on page 58, where Askar spews many curses upon Misra but finishes the curse by saying, “If and only if she had betrayed”.  And is also shown about how he reminisced about his childhood where Misra was the only one he found comfort and happiness in, whereas everyone else’s company was “demanding, boring, in short, lifeless.”

Chapter 1 and 2 Sense of Place Haroun Ansari

In chapters one and two, Farah establishes a different sense of place for Askar for each of the characters he is with as well as which place he is from.   The sense of place, described by David Lodge, is another way of saying that description in a good novel is never just description.

The sense of place is a characteristic that some geographic places have and some do not, while to others it is a feeling or perception held by people (not by the place itself). It is often used in relation to those characteristics that make a place special or unique, as well as to those that foster a sense of authentic human attachment and belonging.

The main characters that a sense of place becomes established with for Askar are Misra, Uncle Qorrax, and Uncle Hilaal.  Askar finds comfort in Misra that he doesn’t find anywhere else.  Misra is everything to Askar because his mother died and Misra was the one who raised him. Misra was not only Askar’s motherly figure but he commonly referred to her as his cosmos, meaning that she was his everything. He views himself as an etension of Misra’s body.

Uncle Qorrax makes Askar very uncomfortable and has had a hate for his uncle since he was a young child. Farah made this evident when Askar was a baby and at the sound of Qorrax’s “ugly voice” he would cry. Askar has avery negative sense of place when he is with Qorrax and this helps illustrate the nasty behavior of Qorrax. Qorrax prides himself with having a multitude of wives, divorcing many just to marry others. Andif this were not bad enough, he uses Askar as a way to obtain sex from Misra, stating that if she doesn’t pleasure him, then he will find another women to take care of Askar. Misra caring too much about Askar, has to follow Qorrax’s demands.

Uncle Hilaal is described much differently than Uncle Qorrax. While Askar has a hate for Qorrax he has a love for his Uncle living in Mogadiscio.  Uncle Hilaal treats Askar differently than other people treat him. Regular people shy away from taking about death with Asakr because he is an orphan, which makes Askar feel more uncomfortable. However, Uncle Hilaals openness with these topics helps make Askar feel less like a stranger, and make him feel more accepted.

Chapters 5 and 6 Sense of Place by Haroun Ansari

Chapters: 5 and 6

In chapters 5 and 6 the sense of place found in Misra is greatly returned to what the beginning of the book depicted.  In previous chapters, Askar describes her as loving, caring, and his “cosmos” or his everything.  In the start of chapter 5, Askar reminisces about when Misra held Askar while he was naked and how he was an extension to his body. However the sense of confusion is present when Askar remembers all the things about Misra, he was the first to hear her joy, her pain, her happiness, and he was the first to know when she was on her period.  Her period, and blood in general, is symbolic with negative things, especially violence.  Askar not knowing whether or not he feels love towards Misra, plays a part in his search for identity.

We learn that Askar has a large hate for the masculine side of people.  A sense of place is established for Aw-Adan which shows Askar’s hate for him.  When Aw-Adan beats him in the Koran school he feels uncomfortable and sees Misra as an extension of himself.  However, Misra doesn’t completely provide Askar with the sympathy that Askar predicted he would acquire from her, and this adds to his confusion of whether Misra is a traitor or not, which correlates with his sense of identity.

Chapters 3-4 (Defamiliarization)

Sometimes, defamiliarization is used in order to explain something inappropriate, for example, in pages 50 and 51 in which Karin explains to Askar why Misra is ‘bleeding’. She mentions that Misra called it Xayl and also mentions that “women have other ugly names for it.” (51) Using adjectives such as ugly and the classification of menstruation with different names, allows a different perception of the concept being discussed rather than explicitly and directly stating what that concept is. Using defamiliarization, Farah generates a new perception and a recognized idea and as Lodge says, “The purpose of art it to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known.” (Lodge 53)

Another instance in which defamiliarization is effective is in chapter 3, where Farah describes Askar’s dream. It is narrated that in the dream, Askar is woman, then transforms into an old man. Askar is rather confused because he thought that he was a seventeen-year-old boy, yet he was taking on all these forms. This defamiliarization is a depiction of what an adolescent goes through and is related to the overall theme of Askar being confused and uncertain about his identity. Askar is confused. Is he a young, frail woman because he believes that he has went through menstruation? Or is he a weak yet wise old man? The use of defamiliarization, as Lodge sates, is to provide a perception of an already recognized concept or idea rather than stating that idea explicitly.

Defamiliarization

  • “The purpose of art it to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known.” (Lodge 53)
  • The description has no narrative content and the story halts so that the description can be delivered, yet it still has a narrative function:
    • It contributes to the characterization of the object, or person, or event, etc.
    • It provokes the scene and develops it by providing a visualization
    • “[We] ‘perceive’ what we already, in a conceptual sense, ‘know’, by deviating from the conventional, habitual ways of representing reality. Defamiliarization, in short, is another word for originality.” (Lodge 55)

Names in Chapters 3-4 of Maps by Nuruddin Farah

Chapter three shows a whole new, older, and much more mature side of Askar. He is going to be attending college and things have changed drastically. He is no longer Misra’s young son “Awake, and washed, handsome, shaven, and seventeen years old…” (Farah, 48). His character has evolved in a way to show who he really is. The name Askar means “soldier” in Somali which is not yet explained in chapter three, but soldier could be interpreted in an indirect way of calling his character a fighter. He is a fighter because he is experiencing an internal fight within himself. Askar fights the urge to be with Misra who is Ethiopian. His name meaning “soldier” explains how he is strong enough not to give in even to his greatest desires even loving the woman that found him as a baby and raised him. In these chapterss Askar begins his search for identity. He questions his existence by asking “Who am I?” several times. He is very lost and does not know who he truly is, which has the reader question who is Askar as well.

Misra has no longer become Askar’s cosmos. He still cares about her and what she thinks of him, but her character does not have the role of being the meaning of her name as she did before. For Misra to not be Askar’s cosmos any longer creates a shift in the plot of the novel and also contributes to having the reader wonder what will happen next to Misra, because of how the definition of a name usually predicts how the character will be.

Names in chapters 5-6 of Maps by Nuruddin Farah

In the beginning of chapter five Askar seems to still be attached to Misra and clinging to her and still calls her his “mother”. The author uses many examples to show how in need Askar was to Misra such as saying that she was always there to help him and protect him. Through the end of chapter five Askar’s character becomes someone completely different from whom he was in the beginning of the novel. Askar even calls himself a “man” and says that after he is circumcised, he has entered his “manhood”. In chapter six, he goes on to saying that he is just fine without Misra and he no longer needs her. The shift in his character tells the reader much more about him than before. His internal conflict is greater than before because he must choose between Misra his mother and cosmos or his mother country. The war was on. […] But what mattered to Askar was it presaged, for him, a future maturer than he had awaited, that it predicted a future in which he would be provided with ample opportunities to prove that he was a man” (Farah, 96).
The aspect of having the main character’s name be Askar which means “soldier” is very important because the story line of this novel is about a war going on  between two rival countries. Askar must fight for his country and also loses many of the most improtant people in his life.

The naming of Misra as “mother” of Askar is very complex. In reality she is not his mother, she is the woman who raised him due to consequence. Misra’s world changed completely when she found  Askar. Askar grew up knowing that Misra was not his actual mother but still called her that and remained attached to her. Later on in the novel, once Askar has grown up, he no longer calls Misra his mother and even considers her to be a traitor.

Maps 3 & 4 Analysis

Chapter three of Maps begins with Askar sprinting through the forest blindly without any thought of why he was running. Farah establishes a stream of consciousness as Askar is taking into consideration that he doesnt know why he is running, only that he cant stop. An interior monologue begins when Askar asks himself, “could it be possible – venus at dawn.” This is the first question asked before he meets a woman that, to him, resembles Misra. He is staring at the woman and attempts to introduce himself but his sentence is left unfinished. Although the author doesnt offer enough evidence, the reader can infer that Askar’s thoughts are racing. He is trying hard to piece together thoughts  to figure out who this woman is. Its only when the woman introduces herself that Askar begins his stream of thoughts ranging from “a man whose chest was tattooed the Somali flag with three points” to “Misra promising to answer all questions.” Some of the things he was thinking about had nothing to do with figuring out who the woman was, but they were pieces of his consciousness’ puzzle that were linked. As he attempts to turn to face her, she has disappeared, along with his memory of her. He adds to his interior monologue with the question asking, “is it possible that… i am… was not after all incomplete.” This shows the development in his stream of consciousness going from a question he didnt know the answer to, to a question that he asked only because of the thoughts he pieced together.

Chapter 4 is told in the 2nd person, making the detection of a stream of consciousness much easier for the reader. like chapter one, you are plunged into a stream of consciousness that deals directly with internal conflict. Farah says, “you began debating with the egos of which you were compounded, and, detaching itself from the other selves, there stood before you, substantial as a shadow, the self (in you) which did not at all approve of your talking with or touching Misra, lest you were lost in the intensity of her embrace.” This is a complicated example of a stream of consciousness because it deals strictly with the stream of thoughts on one subject (Misra), rather than the stream of thoughts on multiple subjects. Farah clearly wanted to push the reader into focusing only on Askar’s thoughts about Misra, rather than the thoughts on Askar’s overall internal conflict

Time-Shift ch. 3-4

Time-shift is ever present on these 2 chapters. It is shown within the first sentence of chapter three. Chapter three starts off in third person, contrary to the first person point of view in chapter 2 and second person point of view as chapter 1. This is significant because this chapter can no longer be seemed as a character’s stream of consciousness or memoir. Rather, it begins to finally seem like a novel. Chapter three delves into the brain and thoughts of Askar. As Lodge says, Time-Shift is common in works of fiction, such as Maps, but are naturalized as operation of memory. On the bottom of page 44, there is a déjà vu thought. Askar thinks that “perhaps in a previous life, he had seen that portal before and he had been turned away from it by a uniformed man.” This scene of time-shift allows the reader a pause from reality and a playback of thoughts and memory of Askar in order for the reader to understand the feelings he is going through. Part one of chapter 3 is a dream; a time-shift takes place and segways into part two where Askar is in Uncle Hilaal’s house. The reader finally sees a glimpse of the present. With the beginning of part three in chapter 3, yet another time-shift takes place. This time to the past, where Misra is on her menstrual cycle and Askar thinks of her as a “Chinese doll.” Furthermore, chapter 4 returns to the original point of views of the book; this chapter is in the second person point of view. This change in point of views between chapters may change, as Lodge states, our interpretation of something which will happen later in the chronicle. The end of the part one of chapter 4 acts like a cliff hanger before it shifts in time; the last sentence remains unfinished. This effect allows the reader to be one with the character’s thoughts. The beginning of the second part, another time-shift takes place when Askar visualize an old man on top of a female body. This as well as the dream he was having about the old man and about Misra putting a curse on his head, according to Lodge, allows the reader to enter through the stream of consciousness of Askar. This whole chapter is full of time-shift for the very purpose of understanding Askar fully. Farah allows us to enter Askar’s thoughts and dreams in an attempt to uncover the true identity of Askar and to fully comprehend his struggles of achieving self-rest with himself.

Defamiliarization (Maps: Chapters 5-6)

Farah uses demaliarization on page 78 where it is narrated that “I was part of the shadow she cast- in a sense, I was her extended self.” This is defamiliarization of a small infant who is attached to his mother and is taken with her wherever she goes. When mentioned explicitly, the reader sees this is something normal, where a child is dependent on their mother and cannot survive without her; however, the diction in Farah’s defamiliarization reveals that there is a perception of this idea that a child needs their mother or elderly figure. Farah mentions that the child was part of the shadow of Misra. In a way, the child did not have its own identity. It was recognized as an extension of Misra. It was part of something else. So, using defamiliarization provides a perception of a child not having its own identity because it is so dependent on its mother. This ties back to the central theme of identity. Askar believes he does not have his own identity. He is defined through others, and in this case, he is defined by Misra. He is simply an extension of her and could not be identified without Misra being involved.

MAPS Duration Ch 1-2 -AC

MAPS Duration Ch 1&2 -AC

According to Lodge, the meaning of Duration in a story explains the concept of time. The complex idea of time can be different pertaining to the novel. Fictional time can be measured by comparing the time events that would have taken up in reality with the time taken to read about them. In essence, the idea of time in the sense of a novel affects and shapes situations and scenes in the book. Elements such as suspense or fast forwarding to explain story plot can be useful to enhance the understanding of the story. A novel can also move in fast moving or slow moving frames of time.

When implying this set of theory to Maps, the story begins in second person narrative, describing the birth of the assumed main character Askar.  The narrator goes on to describe Askar’s first encounter with Misra, setting the base of the story and letting the readers be familiar with the characters. The author’s choice of choosing to begin the story with the birth of Askar would imply that the story would move forward chronologically, but by deep in the chapter Askar is of a few years of age, he then towards the end of chapter one is referred to as an “adult”, and the story has shifted into first person perspective.

The authors choice of fast forwarding to adulthood suggests that the story might be being told within flashbacks or recaps, however towards end of chapter one there is a letter in real time debunking this theory.   In Chapter 2, Askar speaks of the subject of death, which in terms of time, meaning the end. When a person is dead, they have completed their time here on Earth and have entered into another destiny. Askar’s references to water, ” So, in depthless water, my beginning. ” ” In depthless water , too, it was I saw my future.” Water is used as  a channel through time to perceive the past and the future. Askar mentions that Misra would also read blood and the palms of his hand. All these are used to see into the future, in which might suggest a foreshadowing aspect to the story.

Analysis of Motivation – Interlude/Chapters 7,8,9 – Yasmin

Analysis of Motivation pgs.123-201 of Nuruddin Farah’s Maps
As related to the “Point of View” chapter from David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction

Interlude: The quote at the beginning of the interlude is significant because it was a purposeful action made by the author. This quote shines light on what is to be expected from the coming chapters. “Life can only be lived forward and understood backwards.” The reader, up until this point, has a decent amount of knowledge built up about Askar and how his mind works. The reader is reading his life, which is sometimes written in the present, past, and future. This quote by Kierkegaard links motivation as an important factor to the upcoming chapters. Askar’s motivations and goals make him focus on the future and to live forward. However, as Askar is retelling his life to the readers, they are able to understand his life better because it was told forward and backwards. The author’s motivation to set the chapters up in a way where Askar’s life does not follow a consistent pattern leads the readers to generate a different understanding on Askar’s personal thinking. The author’s purposeful choice connects to one of Lodge’s main points in his Motivation essay: “The novelist has an intimate access to the secret thoughts of her characters denied to the historian, biographer or even the psychoanalyst. The novel, therefore, can offer us more or less convincing models of how and why people act as though they do.”

Chapter Seven, Eight, and Nine: These next few chapters go back and forth again like in Part One. Chapter seven starts off with Askar meeting Hilaal and Salaado, and a strange encounter with their maid. Askar’s inner thoughts are surrounded by his lack of connection to the rest of society. He has been labeled different from a young age because of his stare and early maturity. “Silent and withdrawn, yes. But your mind was busy, your tongue active. And you put a distance between yourself and the world.” Askar’s actions by distancing himself from those around him, other than Misra, show an inner motive. To understand himself he must understand the world around him and how it defines his self. Askar needs to remove himself from the picture to really understand how he fits in, and not by how past actions have defined him. Once again, Kierkegaard’s quote can be tied in: “Life can only be lived forward and understood backwards.” Askar is able to understand his past life by understanding what is happening in the present. Similarly, Lodge makes a point: “Motivation 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.” Throughout these chapters, Askar’s inner conflict with himself becomes apparent. “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.” This is Askar’s own identity he must try to sort out. Misra, Aw-Adan, Uncle Qorrax, and many others impacted Askar’s way of thinking and outlook on life. It was the situation he lived in and the events he faced, like lying next to his dead mother as a baby, that has forced Askar to be mature. Unlike the other characters in the novel, Askar’s inner motivation and goals were the same since the beginning, even though they may not have been obvious early on. Askar is trying to figure out who he is, in a world that is trying to force him to be what they want him to be.

MAPS Duration Ch 3&4

MAPS Duration Chapter 3&4- AC

In the beginning of Chapter 3, there is a dream Askar is having. Dreams are fragments from the subconscious mind. Dreams can also be repressed memories, Askar is said to see a man described so heavenly, with a golden glow and spoke words of advice. This figure could be Askar’s imagination building a father figure in his dreams. Askar is now again not seven anymore but seventeen years old, time has progressed and he is in a house in Mogadisco. In this chapter a lot is discussed of the past, Askar is again seven years old, the narration is third person. There are stories from the past to explain what is happening in the future. The author uses this technique a lot to wrap around the meaning. An idea is introduced but not explained until much later.

In chapter 4, page 81, Askar questions calendars. He questions the concept of days of the week, the months, the years. All are man made fragments of time, that we have made up to  organize our lives. Although, as the author progresses through the story, it is prevalent that he uses events to mark time more than calendar dates. He goes back to memories, the age of Askar, or an important event that has happened. Time is also included when Askar speaks of Misra’s menstrual cycles and how every month is marked by it. As Askar continues to dwell into the past, he seeks answers to find his inner self and time fails to constrict him.

Showing and Telling Ch. 5 & 6

In his chapter on showing and telling, Lodge states, “Fictional writing switches between showing us what happened and telling us what happened.” (122) “The purest form of showing is the quoted speech of characters, in which language exactly mirrors the event (because the event is linguistic).” (122)  The author gives characters dialogue if they are trying to emphasize a concept or spend more time on the concept.  Particularly in chapters five and six, dialogue is used to reflect what the characters are thinking.  Chapter five is written in first person narrative so the reader understands everything that Askar himself is feeling.  There is conflict between the characters of Askar and Misra.  The only way to understand Misra’s character at this point of the novel since her and Askar disconnected is through her dialogue and through the thinks she says to Askar.

“The purest form of telling is authorial summary, in which the conciseness and abstraction of the narrator’s language effaces the particularity and individuality of the characters and their action” (122)  The use of showing instead of telling (summarizing) provides an emphasis on the characters personality and their behavior and also the events that the reader should focus on. 

The difference between showing and telling is that showing (dialogue) demonstrates the characters’ personality as a contradiction or an agreement to the narrator’s depiction of the character (telling/ summarizing).  With knowing Askar’s thoughts since chapter five is in first person we understand they he is not saying every to Misra that comes to mind.  Askar even doubts himself sometimes but he portrays himself as a manly figure towards Misra.   

The author avoids an unwanted tone by telling certain parts and then showing what they want so that it contributes to the intended tone and message.  In chapter five, Askar gets circumcised and even though that action doesn’t require much action through dialogue, the author still chose to “tell” this part.  It gives that section a personal tone since it was in first person narrative, so we really only want to know what Askar if feeling.

The use of showing and telling creates a contrast between illusion and reality and shows what characters do rather than say. 

Showing and Telling Ch. 1 and 2

In his chapter on showing and telling, Lodge states, “Fictional writing switches between showing us what happened and telling us what happened.” (122) “The purest form of showing is the quoted speech of characters, in which language exactly mirrors the event (because the event is linguistic).” (122) The author gives characters dialogue if they are trying to emphasize a concept or spend more time on the concept. In the first two chapters of the novel, Maps, Farah doesn’t use that much dialogue between characters and lets the narrator explain what is occurring. The narrator in chapter one differs from a second person perspective to a first person perspective in chapter two. When the scare dialogue is used it usually emphasizes a major idea that intertwines themes within the book as a whole such as death. In chapter two, Askar has an entire conversation about death with Misra. If that dialogue was a summary instead, it would contribute a lesser meaning to the text since the dialogue emphasized the concept of death in relation to the relationship between Misra and Askar.
“The purest form of telling is authorial summary, in which the conciseness and abstraction of the narrator’s language effaces the particularity and individuality of the characters and their action” (122) The use of showing instead of telling (summarizing) provides an emphasis on the characters personality and their behavior and also the events that the reader should focus on. The narrator in the novel changes between Askar’s first person perspective and an unusual second person perspective. Both the narrators share similar perceptions of the other characters. Since summarizing is used more often than dialogue in the first two chapters, the narrators play a huge role in what information the reader receives about characters. We as the audience learn about Misra as the center of Askar’s life. The narrator sets up their relationship as interdependent and Askar refers to her as his “cosmos.” The facts about Askar’s mother and birth are too many to be presented in a dialogue, so the use of summary of what Misra tells Askar and what people say about him is digestible for the audience. In addition, both narrators present Uncle Qorrax and Aw-Aden negatively and explain that their interaction with Misra and Askar negatively which would probably contradict how they would perceive themselves if they were to speak in a dialogue. Their behavior towards Misra is shown as insensitive and forceful as if she doesn’t have a choice. However to them, they would perceive otherwise.
The difference between showing and telling is that showing (dialogue) demonstrates the characters’ personality as a contradiction or an agreement to the narrator’s depiction of the character (telling/ summarizing)
The author avoids an unwanted tone by telling certain parts and then showing what they want so that it contributes to the intended tone and message.
The use of showing and telling creates a contrast between illusion and reality and shows what characters do rather than say.

Showing and Telling Ch. 3 & 4

In his chapter on showing and telling, Lodge states, “Fictional writing switches between showing us what happened and telling us what happened.” (122) “The purest form of showing is the quoted speech of characters, in which language exactly mirrors the event (because the event is linguistic).” (122)  The author gives characters dialogue if they are trying to emphasize a concept or spend more time on the concept.  Through the development of the chapter and the revealing of the different narrators when from switching to chapters makes the reader confused and have a skewed understanding of the truth about Askar.  In chapters 3 to 4 it shifts from third person perspective to second person perspective.  The two points of view are similar but with small little details contrast each other.  The dialogue is what is basically the only real life action taking place and conveys what Askar says directly without the interpretation of the different narrators.  Also the dialogue in this particular section of the novel emphasizes the theme of women.  Askar has a conversation with Karin about the ails of menstruation and its effects on Misra in chapter three.  This exchange about menstruation shows Askar’s sympathy and also his development of understanding the concept.  It also demonstrates Askar’s ability to converse about mature subject matters with adult and also contributes to the idea of him being like an “adult”.

“The purest form of telling is authorial summary, in which the conciseness and abstraction of the narrator’s language effaces the particularity and individuality of the characters and their action” (122)  The use of showing instead of telling (summarizing) provides an emphasis on the characters personality and their behavior and also the events that the reader should focus on.  Through these chapters, the narrators play a major role in determining what is emphasized in summarizing events and what is not important to focus on.  The third person narrator played an impactful role in telling the dream that Askar had about his father.  It showed that the dream was an experience that Askar went through and may have a bigger meaning to the rest of the novel.

The difference between showing and telling is that showing (dialogue) demonstrates the characters’ personality as a contradiction or an agreement to the narrator’s depiction of the character (telling/ summarizing)

The author avoids an unwanted tone by telling certain parts and then showing what they want so that it contributes to the intended tone and message. 

The use of showing and telling creates a contrast between illusion and reality and shows what characters do rather than say. 

Narrative Structure (Part 3)

Chapter 10: Throughout this chapter the narrator structures this section in a sort of stream of thoughts, the narrator goes through variously different topics throughout this chapter. It is as if the narrator is plainly narrating all that he remembers from his experiences and still trying to figure out who he truly is as a person. For example: “You knew things were not as easy as all that. But you were glad he had come. His arrival had injected new blood into everybody and there was a great deal of excited movement.”, “The neighbor’s wife had been ill for some time. According to the shamanistic prescription, the woman would have the spirits in her influenced for the better, and they would leave her.”, finally “There was a flood. And you floated. You floated, heavy as a corpse, asleep to the end of the world. You floated easterly, towards the sea.”

Chapter 11: In chapter eleven of this novel the narrator expresses his past horrid experiences through the use of aggressive and depressing emotions and thoughts. The narrator establishes a similar stream of thoughts as before throughout this chapter. For example: “I was eating, with great, relish, a slice of the sky and it was most delicious. It was blue – as steaks are brown when well done – and it lay in great heaps in front of me. ”, “The following morning, I awoke and there was a taste of blood in my mouth. I found it odd that, although my tongue scoured the area surrounding the palate and the floor of the mouth, I could not account for it. ”, “I said to Uncle Hilaal that instead of thinking about Misra’s disappearance, I started becoming obsessed with bodies.”, and finally “At the mention of her name, he appeared animated with life. He was like one who had found the right road to self-confidence.”

Chapter 12: In this final chapter of this novel, the narrator concludes that he is in fact who he is, and who he (his identity) is. The narrator establishes that he is Askar, and the only persona that he has. The narrator does through his past experiences and dreams. For example: “ “What is your name?” Askar Cali-Xamari”, “Her body was prepared for burial and Askar was not present. They buried Misra and he was not at the funeral.”, finally “He was in the garden which was lush with foliage and plants with memories of their own. And he recognized the tree that had the same birthday as himself, he sat in its shade which was sweet, ate what he could of its ripe fruits.”

Narrative Structure (Part 2)

Interlude: This section is narrated in a second person point of view as well as the rest of part two. Throughout the interlude the narrator is explaining his transition from one life to another. To be specific he is moving away from the Ogaden to Mogadiscio. The narrator is seeking his new identity throughout this interlude. He is narrating this experience in a descriptive way and uses his emotions to do so. For example: “You noticed that Misra was keeping a deliberate distance from you, as though she didn’t want to make any bodily contact with you. Perhaps she thought that once you had touched, it would be difficult to part again.” , “When Kallafo was but a dot in the dusty distance, smaller than the speck of dust it is represented as on the map, it was then that you sensed that your heart had begun beating again and that you had lungs with which to breathe, and you were whole again.” , finally “The man to whom I had been entrusted as his charge until we got to Uncle Hilaal’s assured me that he would’t leave me before he made certain I was in the right hands. I thanked him profusely.”

Chapter 7: Chapter seven is the new beginning of the narrators life. The narrator is attempting to adapt to his new environment throughout his narrations, as well as to establish a relationship with his new family through the narrators emotions. For Example: “Stating that the main purpose of your being sent off to Mogadiscio to your maternal uncle was that you would become a student.” , “Alone in your bed at night, lonely in your room, the first few nights were disheartening. You wished you were allowed to share their room. You were frightened of the dogs that barked in a house not very far away.” , finally “He knew you would speak, sooner or later; that you would tell him the dreams which had left impressions on your growing self.”

Chapter 8: Throughout this chapter the narrator is undergoing an narrating experiences of distinguishing the Somali identity from the Ethiopian identity. The narrator is seeking to doing so through continuous narrations of dialogue between he and his uncle, as if he is narrating a story. In this chapter the narrator discovers his official identity and expresses this through his past experiences and his emotions. For example: “Every ethnic Somali is entitled to live in the Somali Republic. They may belong to any Somali-speaking territory, be it Kenyan, Ethiopian or even Djibouti.” , “Misra being Oromo as you’ve explained to me once, belongs to a peripheral people.” , finally “And I remember the day the photograph was taken; and I remembered how much fuss was made about my clothes; I remembered being forced to change the shirt and trousers that been my favorites.”

Chapter 9: This chapter is a significant chapter to the narrator, the narrator undergoes various emotional experiences of his early life. The narrator narrates this chapter in a way that he is throwing all his feelings and thoughts of Misra around. For example: “And when I asked Misra what her name meant in her language, I remember her saying that it meant “Foundation”.” , “Askar, wake up. Misra is here. And he wouldn’t wake because he believed his dream was dreaming a dream.”, finally “Askar was most ruthless. He said, on hearing the tragic stories which had befallen Misra, that he wasn’t at all moved. He accused her of showing to the world the brutal scars of a most ravenous war – that was all.”.

Analysis of Motivation in Chapters 5 and 6 – Yasmin

Analysis of Motivation in Chapters 5 and 6 of Nuruddin Farah’s Maps
As related to the “Point of View” chapter from David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction

In the beginning of chapter five and certain parts after that, the diction is very intimate. Askar is telling the audience about his dependence and deep physical connection to Misra. He is her shadow. Wherever Misra went, so did Askar. “I was her extended self.” The bond they have together is so deep that when Askar is first separated from Misra, to go to the Koranic School run by Aw-Adan, he is physically in pain. When Askar returns home, it is made known that Misra did not share the same feelings as him. She still took care of him, giving him a bath, but her feelings toward the first separation between the two are still unknown. This can connect to David Lodge’s point: “The novelist has an intimate access to the secret thoughts of her characters denied to the historian, biographer or even the psychoanalyst. The novel, therefore, can offer us more or less convincing models of how and why people act as though they do.” While the author is aware of the thoughts swirling in Misra’s head at this point in time, the readers are left to question why Misra is attached to Askar, but at the same time unattached as well. As the narrator progresses through the story, Askar is unhappy about his current situation; leaving Misra to attend Aw-Adan’s Koran school and be beaten. As the reader is introduced more to Aw-Adan in this chapter, and his violent side, an assumed motive can be made. Aw-Adan is beating Askar under the guise of ‘discipline,’ however his true motive could be jealousy; Misra is paying more attention to Askar then him and this is a case of jealousy. Lodge states: “By roundabout phrasing, the author imitates both the way we have to infer motives from behavior in real life, and the way we conceal our true motives even from ourselves.”

Chapter six informs the readers that Askar is no longer a boy, but a man. After his circumcision, Askar’s outlook on life has changed. He is no longer solely dependent on Misra and views himself as part of a community. To be accepted into this community, his goals and motives are to prove he is a man. “What mattered, he told himself, was that now he was at last a man, that he was totally detached from his mother figure Misra, and weaned.” In the last chapter, Askar was expressing to the readers his pain and misery towards separation from Misra; his outlook on his own identity has changed. This swift in thought connects to one of Lodge’s main points: The novelist has an intimate access to the secret thoughts of her characters denied to the historian, biographer or even the psychoanalyst. The novel, therefore, can offer us more or less convincing models of how and why people act as though they do.” The author is fully aware of the thought process in Askar’s head currently, while it remains unknown to the audience why a circumcision has so much significance. Because of this action, his allegiance has shifted from Misra to his mother country, Somalia. Askar’s current motive is to be loyal to his country, and embrace all she has to offer to show the world he is a man.

Ch.5-6 Narrative Structure

Chapter five is narrated in a second person point of view. Throughout this chapter Askar is narrating his transformation from a boy to man. Askar does so by narrating his final moments as a boy and his first moments as a man. Before the narrator underwent his initiation of man hood, “I was overcome by fear – fear of pain, fear of being lonely, fear of being separated forever from Misra.”. After Askar became a man he “knows he might even kill me (me being Misra) to make your peoples dream become a tangible reality”. In other words the narrator is narrating his transition into adulthood in this chapter.

In chapter six the main character Askar narrates the beginning of his first stages of adulthood in a second person point of view. Throughout the chapter the narrater narrates his first experiences as an adult and that he knows he will have to make choices that define his identity, and the fight for the Ogaden territories. Throughout the chapter the narrater is searching for a way to define who he is.  For Example: “wished Misra was awake to celebrate the birth of “Somalia” in Kallafo” , “A spokeswoman of the crowd promised they  would take “Government Hill”.”, and finally “whatever it took to be a man who was ready to be conscripted into the army, a man ready to die and kill for his mother countrym a man ready to avenge his father.”

Analysis on Ending for Ch.5-6 of MAPS

Lodge integrates this idea from another author and says in his chapter on Ending that “The first shift is comparatively inconspicuous – from the present tense narration in Chapter One to past-tense narration in Chapter Two… The fifth chapter is conventional in style, but deviates from the cross-cutting pattern of the previous chapters, presenting the interconnected experiences of the two main characters in consecutive chunks” (227).

This idea in Lodges chapter had been integrated in Nuruddin Farah’s book MAPS ever since chapters one to four on the transition of narration. According to chapters five and six, the narrator seems to be speaking in second person and to some extent a third person perspective. The idea of interconnected experiences of two main characters is apparent in MAPS specifically in chapter five stating that “I seem to have remained a mere extension of Misra’s body for years — you saw me when you set your eyes on her. I was part of the shadow she cast — in a sense, I was her extended self. I was, you might even say, the space surrounding the geography of her body…” (Farah 78). This quote from MAPS suggests that the two protagonists, Misra and Askar, are extensions of each other and are both one in soul and mind.

Lodge also takes the idea of this author who says “I felt the need to provide some variety and surprise for the reader on another level of the text, and accordingly wrote each chapter in a different style or format” (227).

Throughout the previous chapters in MAPS, Farah constantly italicizes words that are significant to the entirety and concept of the work. Those words can be either in the English language or the Somalia language. At the end of the chapter, those words link to create an understanding on the cultural, ethnical, religious and social influences the protagonist is under and how it develops the overarching theme of identity. These words include alif, ba, ta, Faatixa, cuuds, balif, fa, tha and suddenly. All these words have a religious connotation and relate to the Holy Quran, spelled “Koran” in MAPS. Askar was trying to learn the Arabic alphabet so that he would be able to read the Quran. He would constantly mispronounce the letters incorrectly and had a difficult time learning the Arabic alphabet.

“Please do not attract eyes to yourself. People can be bad, envious, wicked. People’s eyescan make you fall ill. They are terrible when they are bad, people’s eyes” (105). There is a significant repetition on the italicized word “eyes” that is sort of like a motif.

Overall, Farah constantly transitions narrations from chapter to chapter and consistently changes the formatting certain words. He does this to create thematic development in the book and to develop his characters.

Telling In Different Voices: Maps Chs. 1-2

Analysis of Narrative Technique in Chapters 1 and 2 of Nuruddin Farah’s Maps

as related to the “Telling in Different Voices” chapter from David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction

In his chapter on Telling In Different Voices, David Lodge states that “According to Bakhtin, the language of traditional epic and lyric poetry, or the language of expository prose, is “monologic”, striving to impose a single vision, or interpretation, on the world by means of a single unitary style. The novel in contrast is “dialogic”, incorporating many different styles, or voices, which as it were talk to each other, and to other voices outside the text, the discourses of culture and society at large” (27). Farah shifts the narrative throughout the first two chapters. While using a second person narrative for Askar in the first chapter, and transitioning into a first person narrative in the second chapter, Farah creates Askar’s unique sense of self identity. Askar’s change of narrative leads to the ideal that society and external factors define who Askar is. In chapter one, Askar’s second narrative talks of moments where he was not consciously aware, and makes them solid moments that he does not question. He tells from different voices, of Misra’s, Uncle Hilaal’s, Karin’s, etc and molds them into his own idea of reality. His style of narrative changes to resemble to who or what is being said. When he talks of Misra he quotes her within the sentence, and uses her voice as a guide to his own. By doing this, Farah exemplifies the relationship between Misra and Askar, and how she is his cosmos. This creates a “dialogic” style, and aids in conveying the theme of self actualization throughout the novel.

At the simplest level there is the alternation of the narrator’s voice with the voices of the characters, rendered in their own specific accents and idioms of class, region, occupation, gender etc. In chapter one, the reader is sure that the second narrative is Askar himself because of the way he refers to Misra. From the first page, Misra is introduced as one who is equal to Askar’s own thoughts and mind, “You doubt, at times, if you exist outside your own thoughts, outside your own head, or Misra’s.” Thus, Askar’s voice subconsciously alternates with the voice of Misra’s.

By the technique of free indirect style they can combine their own voice with the voices of their characters in order to render thought and emotion. Or they can give their own narrative voice a different kind of colouring that has nothing to do with the character. 

Bakhtin called this kind of writing “doubly oriented discourse”: the language simultaneously describes an action, and imitates a particular style of speech or writing.

 

Names in Chapters One and Two (Meshael)

Lodge says that the naming of a character in any fictional literary work is very important. Names tell how things about the characters in the novel such as personality.  Names provide a very important role in many times the plot of the literary work

In chapter 1 of Maps, Misra is described as making Askar her “cosmos” (Farah, 6). Misra’s name is Ethiopian which literary translates to cosmos. The author’s choice to choose the name “Misra” is a very key part of the novel. Misra is very loving and caring of Askar and even though she is not is biological mother she treats him as if he is her whole world. Once the reader finds out what Misra’s name means it open up the reader’s ability to understand Misra’s character much better than before. Is the reader had some background knowledge on Ethiopian names they would know much more from the first time they find out what her name is. The author puts quotes in the novel in order to hint to the reader what the character’s names mean such as the one about Misra. “’Allah is the space and time of all Muslims, but not to you Misra, Askar is.’” (Farah, 12) This proves that Misra made Askar her whole world (cosmos) which is the definition of her name.

First names are usually the ones that carry the most value, whereas surnames are not usually chosen by a person’s mother or father and cannot be changed. Therefore, first names are considered more important because they tell more about a person’s character rather than just their family.

The meaning of the name “Askar” is very important to the novel. The name “Askar” in Somali means “soldier”. This is important and tells a lot about Askar’s actual character because Askar has lost both his mother and father and he is a fighter especially against those who try to hurt his “mom” Misra who took him in a took care of him. Also, the name “Askar” is significant because the whole plot of the novel is the war going on between Ethiopia and Somalia.

The names of Qorrax and Hilal have opposite meanings. The name “Qorrax” means The Sun, whereas the name Hilal means the crescent moon. The fact that the author decided to have these characters have names that have opposite meanings allows the reader to know that they will have opposite personalities later on in the novel.

Coincidence in chapters one and two of Maps by Nuruddin Farah

Coincidence, “A chance in a Million”

In David Lodge’s chapter about coincidence, he states that coincidence, the imitation of life’s randomness, inconsequentiality, and openness always trades off with the achievement of structure, pattern, and closure in fiction writing.

Farah begins the book- setting up a structure for coincidence in the relationship between Misra and Askar- by creating an abnormal scene for the birth of Askar in section one of Chapter one. The circumstances of Askar’s birth suggest that his life in itself is a perfect coincidence. It is inadvertent that Misra, or anyone would find Askar a day after his birth, while he was still alive and in time to nurse him back to health. It is evident that, “ Possibly [Askar] would have died of the chill [he] was exposed to if Misra hadn’t accidentally walked in”(Farah 7). However, Misra did walk in and find him in due course, and treated him as her own, creating the sense that she was Askar’s domain, and he hers. The element of coincidence continues as Askar defines Misra’s name as meaning Cosmos. Not only does Misra physically create a world- “cosmos”- for Askar, she at first is the only person that Askar connects with and understands. The narrator speaks of the Misra as the sole being that can decipher and appreciate Askar’s being. For her he exists outside of his body and stare. Beyond Misra’s name and her discovery of Askar, he states that it is as everything feel into place, coincidentally to create the absurd perfection of his birth. Askar remarks, “It is absurd, if you want to know my opinion, absurd because I know of no birth like mine. The hour of my birth, the zodiac’s reading, the place of birth, the position of the stars, my mother’s death after she had given birth to me, my father dying a day before I was born- do each of these contribute in small ways, towards turning he act of my birth into a unique event” (Farah 24).

Allows us to see intriguing connections between people who would not normally have had anything to do with each other.

Askar’s unusual relationship with Misra further accentuates the aspect of his coincidental birth. It also highlights the atypical nature of the interrelation between the two individuals. The likelihood of Misra and Askar ever crossing paths is slim. While the probability of Misra and Askar’s intimate relationship is even slimmer. The coincidence of Misra finding Askar at birth allows us to see the potential between two characters that would have more possibly never shared a connection. The bond that sprouts between the two creates the entire story that exists between them and the readers.

The occurrence of coincidence should vary depending on the genre and period of the writing: In realistic fiction cases of coincidence must be measured and calculated to avoid the impractical element.

Farah places the birth scene at the beginning of the book, which creates a subtle element to the coincidence that occurs with the birth. Because we, the readers do not know much about either character, we do not suspect the impracticality of their meeting because we initially know not of the circumstances that are in place. In addition, placing the scene of Askar’s birth, we consider the coincidence as purpose: this book was written to tell the story that sprouted from this tragic coincidence. The readers will get the sense that this story will elaborate on the importance of this coincidence. This also contributes to the magnitude of structure in coincidence. The placement is essential; it lessens skepticism about the incident, emphasizing successful intervention rather than perception of coincidence.

Ending Analysis on Ch.3&4 of MAPS

According to a saying in Lodges chapter of Ending, “I felt the need to provide some variety and surprise for the reader on another level of the text, and accordingly wrote each chapter in a different style or format” (227). This idea is apparent through out the text of chapters 3 and 4 of Nuruddin Farah’s book called Maps. As the author had ended chapter 2 on an ambiguous note with unanswered questions that have the word “you” italicized in them, similarly, chapter 3 has italicized words scattered all around the chapter. From the analysis that had been done for chapters 1 and 2, the conclusion had been drawn that mostly all italicized words hold some significance and meaning to the overarching theme of the novel. That theme is identity. In chapter 3, words or phrases such as “he”, “Xayl”, “canjeera”, “his”, “her”, “Misra is here, in Mogadiscio”, and “shamma”, were italicized. All these words relate one way or another to a person and his or her culture. In the context of the story, the italicized phrases were related to Askar, who is searching for his identity and is exposed to all these cultural and traditional influences of Somalia (Mogadiscio, canjeera, shamma, Xayl). Also, the ideas presented in chapter 3 culminate and end the chapter on what the reader expected the story to end on, the theme of identity. The author has no intention of changing the message he is trying to build up through each chapter of the book in order to surprise you.

An idea also relevant in Lodges reading states that “the first shift is comparatively inconspicuous  —  from present-tense narration in Chapter One to past-tense narration in Chapter Two. But the third chapter is in epistolary…” (227). This idea is similar to what Farah did in his book when he transitioned from a second person narration in chapter two to a third person narration in chapter three. This allowed more dialogue and conversation within chapter three between the characters. But as you get to chapter four, he switches back to a second person narration. There is more description on the plot than actual conversation. Nonetheless, the ideas contributed through italicizing words or phrases build up on the overarching theme of the book.

Ch.3-4 Narrative Structure

Throughout Ch.3 of Maps, the main character narrates throughout all of chapter three in a Second and Third person point of view. All the statements made are recalled by Askar, and his own opinion on himself and his actions. Throughout the chapter Askar depends on his own experiences and makes his own decisions. Throughout this chapter Askar narrates experiences from his past as a young boy, and near the end of the chapter Askar is narrating his life as when he was a young man. For example: “Askar needn’t have spoken – she could see from the expression on his face that he didn’t follow her explanations.”, “Awake, and washed, handsome, shaven, and seventeen years old, he now stood behind a window in a house in Mogadiscio”, finally “He asked himself the question whether, to live, he would have to kill her if he saw her”. To be specific half of chapter three is narrated in the third person point of view, and the other half of the chapter is narrated in the second person point of view.

Chapter four is narrated in a second person point of view. Throughout the chapter Askar is recalling stories that he has heard from Karin, and Misra. Throughout the chapter Askar is glancing back to the past, and looking for answer to how to solve his riddle of a nightmare. The reason Farah chose to have this chapter narrated in a second person point of view is to emphasize the importance of the extent at which Askar yet does not know whom he is, and he is trying to decipher himself. For example: ” “Then the living miracle in the form of Askar took the place of the dead child inside of her,” she said. Holding you closer to herself, you, who were, at that very instant.”

Stream of Consciousness Analysis on Ch. 1&2 of MAPS – YR

          The stream of consciousness was a phrase conceived by William James. It characterizes the continuous flow of thought and sensation in the human mind. Literary critics would later use the stream of consciousness to describe a particular kind of modern fiction which tried to imitate this process. It has been said that the stream of consciousness novel is the literary expression of solipsism, the philosophical doctrine that nothing is certainly real except ones own existence. It offers the readers some relief from the daunting hypothesis by offering us imaginative access to the inner lives of other human beings, even if they are fictions.
There are two sample techniques for representing consciousness in prose fiction.
    1.      Interior Monologue; in which the grammatical subject of the discourse is an “I” and we overhear the character verbalizing his or her thoughts as they occur.
    2.      Free Indirect Style; renders thought as reported speech (in the third person, past tense) but keeps to the kind of vocabulary that is appropriate to the character, and deletes some of the tags (she thought, she wondered) that a more formal narrative style would require.  this gives the illusion of intimate access to a characters mind but without totally surrendering authorial participation in the discourse.
          Lodge defines the stream of consciousness as the abrupt plunging of the reader into the middle of ongoing life. This typifies the presentation of consciousness as a “stream”. This is evident in the very first chapter of the novel “Maps” by Nuruddin Farah. Farah tells the story through a second person point of view throughout the entire first chapter. You as the reader get thrown into a stream of consciousness that the character is going through. You are being told what is going on in your life both physically and mentally. Farah says, “You sit, in contemplative posture, your features agonized in 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.” The entire chapter is structured this way as a means of allowing the reader to almost be the character (Askar) himself.  The author allows you no room to think, only to go flow along with the stream of consciousness that the character is experiencing.
           The second chapter switches to a first person point of view, removing an essential quality for a stream of consciousness to take place. Askar reflects back on his childhood years, organizing the events in a specific layout. With organization comes the suspension of any kind of “stream” of though because the thoughts are not continuous or sporadic. What Askar’s reflections entail, are characterized by an “Interior Monologue.” Interior monologue is defined as a passage of writing presenting a character’s inner thoughts and emotions in a direct, sometimes disjointed manner. We become acquainted with the principal characters not by being told about them, but by sharing their most intimate thoughts represented as silent, spontaneous, and unceasing streams of consciousness.

Ending Analysis on Ch.1&2 of MAPS

In Lodges chapter on Ending, he talks about how the endings of a novel are significant and how they are the most difficult piece of a novel to compose. Lodge concentrates on ideas that pertain to the end of a novel where the conclusion lies and not during it. It’s difficult to integrate his ideas on ending to Nuruddin Farah’s book Maps because he mostly concentrates on how a novel should end. But there is one aspect in Lodges reading where it interrelates to the structure and ideas represented in Maps. Lodge says “I ended the novel in the novel in this fashion for several, interrelated reasons… I felt the need to provide some variety and surprise for the reader on another level of the text, and accordingly wrote each chapter in a different style or format. (227)” This idea is integrated in Farah’s book where he constantly italicizes certain words or phrases throughout the first two chapters. Words such as “knows”, “was”, “de facto”, all pertain to the theme of identity and how ones own existence is fabricated from stories told by others. These ideas relate to the protagonist Askar, who’s life has formed by the people who “supposedly raised him” as he grew older and shares his experiences about it. Lodges ideas continue as Farah integrates them into the end of chapter one of his book. Farah ends chapter one of Maps with a long italicized letter from Uncle Hilaal to Askar where he completely changes the format and style of how the chapter is written.

Lodge says “The first shift is comparatively inconspicuous – from present-tense narration in Chapter One to past-tense narration in chapter two” (227). This idea is similarly integrated in chapter two of Maps. Farah shifts from a second person narrator (chapter one), where he provides information on Askar, to a first person narrator (Askar) in chapter two. Though the narrator was not explicitly stated or identified, the shift to a first person narrator explicitly states Askar’s life experiences in depth and contradicts some of the ideas stated in chapter one. These contradictions include denying Askar’s existence and how his whole had been a lie.

Farah constantly shifts the perspective on who is telling the story in his chapters and consistently alters the way the text is formatted and written to keep the reader thinking on how each chapter ends. The ideas Farah contributes in each chapter are tied all the way until the reader reaches the end of the chapter where he shifts the momentum completely on how each chapter is written. That is not always the case in every chapter but is something to think about when you are near the end of a chapter.

Telling in Different Voices (Chapters 1 and 2 of Maps)

Analysis of Narrative Technique in Chapters 1 and 2 of Nuruddin Farah’s Maps As related to the “Telling in Different Voices” chapter from David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction

In Maps, Farah uses the technique of telling in different voices in order to avoid the monotonic voice of narration and to provide different voices to allow a dialogic structure that sparks conversation between voices both in the text and outside the text, generating a variety of ideas and opinions. Using a variety of voices, the reader understands there are several different perspectives both positive and negative that deviate from the average monotonous neutral perspective of the narrator.

As Lodge mentions, the language of the novel is not a language, but a variety of styles and voices, making it a democratic literary form in which no ideological or moral position is immune from challenge and contradiction. One voice that stands out in the first chapter is Aw-Adan’s voice in which his voice is a voice of condescension and jealousy towards Askar. Using this voice indicates that Aw-Adan’s ideological position is open for challenge and contradiction such as when he is speaking to Misra about Askar and says “ ’Allah is the space and time of all Muslims, but not you, Misra, Askar is.’ He didn’t see anything wrong in what he said. But then how could he? He was jealous.” (12) There is a quick transition in narration here. Prior to this quote, the narrator was describing the situation that was happening between Misra and Aw-Adan, and then suddenly the narrative voice transitions into the voice of Aw-Adan. This reveals that the novel is really a collection of several different voices rather than being a monotonic work in which there are several viewpoints generated from different voices that are exposed to challenge or contradiction. This transition in narrative allows the novel to not have a neutral viewpoint in which one narrator simply describes everything in a monotonous narration, but to have a variety of viewpoints in which opinions are expressed and observations are shared and discussed. Narration is considered neutral and with the addition of voices, the work creates a tone full of exposure to challenge and contradiction.

Telling in different voices, as the name suggests, is an inclusion of the different voices of different characters through transition in narrative voice. Throughout the first chapter, the story is being narrated in a second person point of view; however, on page 20, Farah includes a letter that was written by Uncle Hilaal. There is a transition in narration from Askar speaking about himself and his life, to the voice of Uncle Hilaal in the letter in which he expresses his opinion of Askar mentioning he is “disturbed by [his] behavior”. Uncle Hilaal shows concern towards Askar when he says “Please think things over. And do not do anything rash.” (22) Most of the chapter revolved around the narration of Misra praising Askar, but through this transition in narration, we realize that there is another character with another voice (Uncle Hilaal) has a different perspective and a different voice than that of Misra’s or Askar’s. The inclusion of different voices indicates that the feelings or opinions towards someone or something are not universal.

Telling in different voices style of narration can be classified as “dialogic” as it incorporates different styles, or voices, that seem to talk to each other or even to other voices outside the text. In some instances in the novel, Askar begins to ask Misra several questions about death or human interaction. The narration provides dialogue rather than brief summary of the discussion in order to generate a discussion in which several different voices, both inside the text, and outside the text. Questions Askar asks such as “ ‘But why do people love children?’ ” (15) or “ ‘What happens to the soul when the body dies?’ ” (32) are directly quoted in the novel and spark conversation, which is evident because Askar begins to discuss this question with Misra. The use of a new voice is effective in a way that it allows other voices from the novel as well as outside the novel to discuss, creating a dialogic tone. This can be contrasted by other questions that do not use another voice other than the narrator’s such as on page 25 where the narrator asks a few questions that are not quoted such as “Did I stare at her?” and “Can I simply say that she brought me into existence?” These questions are being addressed by the narrator rather than from a voice of a character. These questions appear to be somewhat rhetorical because they remain unanswered and not discussed because the whole excerpt is monotonic and full of description rather than a variety of voices providing different observations.

Lodge’s points:

  • The language of the novel is not a language, but a variety of styles and voices. This is what makes it a democratic literary form in which no ideological or moral position is immune from challenge and contradiction.
  • Telling in different voices, as the name suggests, is an inclusion of the different voices of different characters through transition in narrative voice.
  • Authors use the technique of telling in different voices in order to provide a variety in narration rather than having a monotonous voice.
  • This technique allows the author to provide a brief narration of the incident/ setting and follow it with the transition from a simple description, to a character’s inner thoughts while in that situation/ setting.
  • Telling in different voices style of narration can be classified as “dialogic” as it incorporates different styles, or voices, that seem to talk to each other or even to other voices outside the text.
    • One way to do this is the alternation of the narrator’s voice with the voices of the characters, and are altered by the narrator’s voice or interpretation. (Free indirect style, for example)

Motivation – Yasmin

In the chapter titled “Motivation,” David Lodge informs us that “The novelist has an intimate access to the secret thoughts of her characters denied to the historian, biographer or even the psychoanalyst. The novel, therefore, can offer us more or less convincing models of how and why people act as though they do.”

Throughout the first two chapters of MAPS, the readers become familiar with the relationship between Askar and Misra. The importance of their relationship is displayed the moment the two meet, when Misra finds Askar next to his dead mother. Characters are overcome with emotion and driven to perform certain tasks, sometimes without thinking about the consequences of those acts. After having lost her own baby not too long ago, Misra is overwhelmed with motherly instinct to take care of Askar. Her motive however, could be considered selfish. She kept Askar hidden at first in order to ensure a bond was made between them. Once the bond between mother and child was placed, it would be difficult for them to separate. “She sought her childhood in you and she hid her most treasured secrets which she was willing to impart to you and you alone.” Lodge believes that these actions from the characters are “the product of several drives or conflict”; they are an integral part of the character and the character’s personality. Misra’s motive to keep Askar to herself shows her inner desire to be needed, and not just physically by Aw-Adan and Uncle Qorrax.

“By roundabout phrasing, the author imitates both the way we have to infer motives from behavior in real life, and the way we conceal our true motives even from ourselves.”

In the first two chapters, it is clear that Askar and Misra are both dependent upon one another for separate reasons. Their actions define their motives and can offer the readers an insight into the character. Askar and Misra’s actions define their relationship between one another. To Askar, “Whether what she said made sense or no, she was the cosmos.” Askar can only be his true self when he is with Misra, and makes it a point to always be with her. That defining moment started when he was just a baby, the bond that was made when Misra kept him a secret from the rest of society. Askar’s true motive up until this point is to understand himself. The author creates a conflict for the readers because the true motives of the characters are not obvious. The readers must develop a relationship with the character to really understand the turmoil the character is going through. Physical, mental, and emotional distress in the story for each character contribute to the meaning of the character’s actions. What they do, and what they want to do, is shaped by what is happening around them.

“Motivation 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.”

The characters’ actions define who the character is. Some actions are selfish, others are done for the greater good, and some can be linked to external pressure. The author is not always clear whether the motivation to commit a specific action is truly a personal desire of the character or an action that benefits the story line. Misra caring for Askar, and their life together, is the main part of the story; how they use one another to find themselves. Misra means the world to Askar; she is his cosmos, while Askar is a chance at a new beginning for Misra, a child that needs her. The conflict the readers are confronted with while reading Maps is separate the internal motives from the character and the motives set by the author to benefit the plot line.

Narrative Structure

Lodge begins his chapter on Narrative Structure by stating “the structure of a narrative is like the girders that holds up a modern high-rise building: you can’t see it, but it determines the buildings shape and character.” Lodge uses an example from The Hand, the first sentence says “I smacked my little boy” lodge responds by stating that that first sentence “establishes a familiar domestic context”.

In chapter one of Maps, Nurridin Farah establishes an internal stream of thoughts of the narrators self. The narrator states throughout chapter one: “You doubt at times, if you exist outside your own thoughts, outside your own head, or Misra’s”, and “On the other hand you loved Uncle Hilaal and his wife, Saalado, directly you met them. The flow of their warmth was comforting – sweet as spring water”. Throughout the chapter Askar is telling things about himself, that other people have told him, he is struggling to know who he is through his own memories.

Throughout chapter two of Maps, the narrator (Askar) establishes thoughts in which describe his likes and dislike, as well as an attempt to locate his identity. The narrator states throughout chapter two: “Misra never said to me that I existed for her only in my look”, “I didn’t like Uncle Qorrax. It was no secret I didn’t like him. I was barely three days old when I made that abundantly clear”, and “The sight of blood didn’t repel or frighten me…. Water comforted me and I fell silent when it.” Throughout the chapter Askar is narrating things about himself, of what he knows from his own personal memories, without any external input.

Point of View: Maps Chs. 1-2/ Lodge’s The Art of Fiction

This analysis provides you with a model for your own writing as you complete the assignments related to Maps.  

Only in this first assignment for the novel must you mention all of the main points Lodge makes in the chapter that discusses your focus aspect.

The document you send should begin with your chosen focus aspect as your title and your name (first only, please!) as the author of the analysis. If you prefer not to have your name appear at all, you may leave it out.

Please respond to the post here below and at least one other post to get full credit for the assignment.

Analysis of Narrative Technique in Chapters 1 and 2 of Nuruddin Farah’s Maps

as related to the “Point of View” chapter from David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction

 

In his chapter on point of view, David Lodge states that “The choice of the point(s) of view from which the story is told is arguably the most important single decision that the novelist has to make, for it fundamentally affects the way readers will respond, emotionally and morally, to the fictional characters and their actions” (26).  In choosing to begin Maps in the unusual second-person perspective, Farah disassociates the definition of Askar’s identity from Askar himself right from the beginning of the novel. The reader thus sees Askar as completely lacking in the power of self-determination. Both the reader and Askar himself must rely completely on the stories that others tell (in secret) about his birth and early childhood, with the first day of his life remaining a mystery that only Misra is privy to. Because of the vulnerability of her social position in the Ogaden, Misra keeps those details to herself. The reader also is forced to withhold moral judgment on the behavior of the characters, as the lack of clarity in terms of characters’ motivations and loyalties precludes it.

Telling the story from a particular perspective not only serves to further thematic development, but also helps to capture and hold the reader’s interest. The second person narrator of chapter 1 is never identified, yet the reader must accept the information given about Askar and the other characters as truth, as no other perspective is available. This reinforces the theme of the powerlessness of the individual in determining his own identity. The second person narrator is effectively telling Askar who he is, and the reader is forced to rely on this information. Only in chapter 2 does the reader become aware of Askar’s own thoughts, some of which immediately contradict statements made by the second person narrator. The first sentence of chapter two, for example, states that Misra never told Askar that he existed for her only in his look, an idea presented to the reader by the second person narrator in chapter 1.The conflict between external forces and social realities that define a person, and the internal thoughts and emotions that person experiences in reaction to those external forces, remains at the center of the novel and the characterization of the setting of a war-torn, socially chaotic Somalia. The maps drawn by European post-colonial politicians have defined who is Somali and who is Ethiopian, without regard for who the inhabitants of the disputed area understand themselves to be.

The shift from the second person narrator of chapter 1 to the first person narrator (Askar) in chapter 2 and the contradictions that follow prompt the reader to consider the tenuousness of his own sense of self, and to question the wisdom of relying on culture, history, and family as sources of self-understanding. This makes Askar’s story more personally relevant for the reader.

The point of view chosen by an author works in tandem with the language choices (diction) and sentence structure (syntax) to establish tone, mood, and/or atmosphere, as well as drive character and thematic development.

In providing a clearly limited point of view on the story, authors rely on readers’ knowledge and experience to create effects such as irony and pathos.  

The choice of point of view may add layers of meaning to figurative language such as similes, because it determines the actual significance of comparisons and associations.

Most authors maintain consistency in the point of view throughout their novels in order to avoid disturbing the reader’s “production” of meaning as they progress through the work as a whole. Authors who choose to shift the point of view within a work usually do so according to some “aesthetic plan or principle” (28) that the reader can understand and use in understanding the text and its themes.


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