Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North Essay

Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North Essay

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In Tayeb Salih’s, Season of Migration to the North, the reader encounters the story of one of the main characters, Mustafa Sa’eed. In Stuart Halls’, Cultural Identity and Diaspora, we get an insight on what forms an identity and what molds it to be the way it is. Throughout Season of Migration to the North, the narrator attempts to discover the true identity of Sa’eed, but instead, finds himself as well. Cultural differences help mold one’s identity into one’s being, versus what they become. Halls’ article about cultural identity can be correlated to the experience the narrator goes through in order to find out more about the mysterious Mustafa Sa’eed.
Stuart Hall’s addresses how the voice of a person representing themselves says a lot about them. He goes on to question, “From where does he/she speak? Practices of representation always implicate the positions from which we speak or write - the positions of enunciation” (Hall 222). The way we speak can give away almost everything, ranging from perhaps guessing their country of origin, to level of education, and can even go as far as being a clear indicator of social class. That’s why in the novel the beginning is introduced with a nameless character who returns to his small and simple hometown of Wad Hamid, after having studied in Europe for seven years. The nameless character (who will be referred to as ‘the narrator’ for purposes of establishing character identity) becomes mesmerized with the cool and mysterious vibe he gets from Sa’eed. The narrator is bothered by the questions those around him ask about his long adventure in Europe. The narrator believes that because of the disadvantages in terms of economic advancement and development of education that are not available i...


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... ‘one people’ with the colonizing efforts, changes by the end of the novel. By the end he understands how he is metaphorically ‘stuck in a river’ in which he has no hopes of getting out of. The effects of colonization take a toll on his ‘being’.
Through the ‘diaspora experience’ that Mustafa Sa’eed and the narrator end up going through, the audience sees how though very similar, their cultural identities were anything but the same. In the efforts of the narrator discovering the misfortunes of what Sa’eed was going through and why he chose the life he did, we see the narrator ‘become’. Unlike Sa’eed, he is not fixed, and though at first a bit worrisome that he would leave himself to die drowning in the river, the audience understands the difference between the two characters when the narrator chooses to save his life because of the want to smoke a cigarette.


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