Essay on Naguib Mahfouz's Midaq Alley

Essay on Naguib Mahfouz's Midaq Alley

Length: 1176 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Midaq Alley, by Naguib Mahfouz, is a narrative told from the third person omniscient point of view. Normally, this means that the reader gets to view the happenings of each of the character’s lives from the same vantage point as God. No one in particular is telling the story, and the reader sees the story from the view of an invisible person always present at the scene. Midaq Alley is decidedly different. Mahfouz creates an impartial character that is able to observe everything that happens in the novel. No, this character is not God, or even an invisible person; in Midaq Alley, this character is the alley itself.
From the beginning the reader is introduced to Midaq Alley. Immediately the reader learns that the alley “is one of the gems of times gone by and that it once shone forth like a flashing star in the history of Cairo” (Mahfouz 1). Also, the reader learns that “Midaq Alley lives in almost complete isolation from all surrounding activity…” (Mahfouz 1). Clearly the alley once used to be a bustling and important place but now is an isolated place stuck in times that have long passed. Through these descriptions, Mahfouz is introducing to the reader the main character of the novel, the alley. This detached and ancient alley will serve as the setting for almost the entire novel. All of the events described in the novel are from the vantage point of the alley.
Next Mahfouz introduces the physical aspects of the alley. “One of its sides consisted of a shop, a café, and a bakery, the other of another shop and an office. It ends abruptly, just as its ancient glory did, with two adjoining houses, each of three stories” (Mahfouz 1). Just as all authors do with any character, Mahfouz wants his reader to visualize Midaq...

... middle of paper ...

... different from a person, the alley attracts a certain group of people, like Uncle Kamil and Radwan Hussainy, while repulsing others, such as Kirsha and Hamida. Just as relationships between people grow and develop over time, the relationship between Abbas and the alley changed during the novel; he was content and at peace with his life in the alley, until his love for Hamida and some prodding from his friend Hussain showed him that there was more in the world than the Alley. Midaq Alley contributed a great deal to the development of Abbas and thrust him into a new life. Mahfouz brilliantly uses Midaq Alley as a catalyst in the lives of its inhabitants, making it a real and viable character that exerts influence and affects interactions among other characters throughout the novel.

Works Cited
Mahfouz, Naguib. Midaq Alley. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1966.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Naguib Mahfouz’s Midaq Alley

- Class and love and marriage are three of the themes that are portrayed in Naguib Mahfouz’s Midaq Alley. The era which the story takes place is an era where societal norms began shifting towards modernity due to the impact of western colonization. Midaq Alley was written to portray a society within a larger society, which allows for analysis and comparison of the two. Cultural norms are constantly challenged throughput the novel and what is and what isn’t socially accepted is a theme that is recurrent throughout the text....   [tags: Class, Love, Marriage, Analysis]

Strong Essays
1816 words (5.2 pages)

Essay on Midaq Alley

- Naguib Mahfouz is the author of the book Midaq Alley that was translated from Arabic by Trevor Le Gassick. First published in 1966, Midaq Alley displays a historical period of Egypt in the most intimate sense as it is presented through the lives of the characters that inhabit the alley. Although the book is set in the early forties it possesses a taste of eternity as the reader watches the characters struggle through questions of morality, ethics, and traditions. (The answer of which shape their behavior.) This is all perceived through the eyes of the ageless alley, which is witnessed with total indifference....   [tags: Naguib Mahfouz, Midaq Alley]

Free Essays
534 words (1.5 pages)

Essay about Naguib Mahfouz’s Zaabalawi

- Naguib Mahfouz’s Zaabalawi The Islamic tradition, as reflected in Naguib Mahfouz’s Zaabalawi, has over the course of history had an incredible impact on Arab culture. In Mahfouz’s time, Islamic practices combined with their political relevance proved a source of both great power and woe in Middle Eastern countries. As alluded to in Zaabalawi, Mahfouz asserts the fact that not all Muslims attain religious fulfillment through this common tradition, and other methods outside the scope of Islam may be necessary in true spiritual understanding....   [tags: Naguib Mahfouz Zaabalawi Essays]

Strong Essays
532 words (1.5 pages)

Naguib Mahfouz’s Religious Ideologies Essay

- Naguib Mahfouz’s Religious Ideologies Naguib Mahfouz, an Egyptian novelist and a winner of the Nobel Prize, was stabbed after expressing his religious philosophies in Children of the Alley (Najjar 1). The writer serves as a threat to the conservative Egyptian society. Religious militants feel endangered by the introduction of westernized ideas, which do not conform to the Egyptian culture and tradition, especially in the 1990s. Mahfouz’ stance regarding religion is veiled in his superficial neutrality in novels such as Sugar Street and Children of the Alley, both being published in the 1950s....   [tags: Egyptian Novelist, Nobel Prize Winner, ]

Strong Essays
1321 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Naguib Mahfouz' Fountain and Tomb

- In the novel Fountain and Tomb by Naguib Mahfouz, the reader is thrown into a small alley in Cairo, Egypt in the 1920s. The narrator is an adult reliving his childhood through many random, interesting vignettes of his youth. We learn about many different aspects of Egyptian life from political rebellion, to arranged marriages, to religious devotion, to gang warfare. We are led to conclude that one of the major themes of the book is Truth. We come to question whether Truth is something that always needs to be known....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
1586 words (4.5 pages)

Essay about Midaq Alley

- The theme of "Midaq Alley" cuts to the heart of Arab society. Namely, it shows how a group of characters living in the same slum neighborhood responds to the combined promise and threat of Western-influenced modernization. Midaq Alley is about the Egyptian residents of a hustling, packed back alley in Cairo in the 1940's. The attempts of several residents to escape the alley and move up in status end with dreams broken and unfulfilled. The opening sentences of "Midaq Alley" points to a world bypassed by history: "Many things combine to show that Midaq Alley is one of the gems of times gone by and that it once shone forth like a flashing star in the history of Cairo....   [tags: Literature Analysis]

Strong Essays
1806 words (5.2 pages)

Obsession In Two Literary Works Essay

- Obsession is one of the greatest obstacles for mankind to overcome. In Naguib Mahfouz’s Midaq Alley and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, the motif of obsession helps to both characterize and even foreshadow the fates of the characters. Both novels illustrate that obsessions with an object or person leads to demise, but the novels differ in how they portray the effects of these obsessions on humanity. Before continuing this analysis, obsession will be clearly defined. For the purpose of this essay, obsession will be characterized by three concepts: the character is shown constantly contemplating the desired object or person, most of a character’s actions or goals are or...   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Strong Essays
1458 words (4.2 pages)

Leonid Afremov’s Painting, Alley by the Lake Essay

- Secure romantic relationships are based on trust and understanding. They are developed over time and tend to last the longest; however, just because a couple feels secure doesn’t mean the couple is necessarily happy. While every healthy relationship shines with rays of trust and happiness, shadows often lurk filled with lies and deceit. A painting, entitled Alley by the Lake, by Leonid Afremov portrays the secure, yet secret, side to relationships. Happiness holds relationships together. Finding someone who makes feelings arise, plastering a smiling on one’s face, draws any person in....   [tags: Alley by the Lake]

Strong Essays
988 words (2.8 pages)

Analysis Of The Story ' Half A Day ' Essay

- The story “Half a Day” by Naguib Mahfouz is a mystical tale that cannot be taken literally, but in my opinion has a very powerful message. This story brings up the ideals of conformism in society and also what is the purpose of education. The protagonist of this story does not like the idea of education for the simple reason that he states that the school is a “factory that makes men”. Mahfouz 's use of different elements of tone throughout this story pave the way for a story that is questioning the purpose of education in society....   [tags: Debut albums, 2006 albums, Naguib Mahfouz]

Strong Essays
1499 words (4.3 pages)

The Impact of Environment on Humans Essay

- “You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?”(Stone). Our environment affects us all in many different ways, just because we are all human and have different ways of adapting to specific situations, our reactions can be based upon how we were raised we have seen throughout our lives. But it is not arguable that we as intellectual beings adapt, but the next question is where does the border lie between adaptation and submission....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Sociology]

Strong Essays
2044 words (5.8 pages)