Presents The Unnamed Narrator English Literature Essay

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Mustafas point of view is introduced in Chapter 2, where Salih uses the framing narrative device to allow Mustafas first person narration of his story to the unnamed narrator. Salih's control of time is shown through Mustafa's flashes forward and backward in time, which allows the reader to access Mustafa's experiences as unravelling much like a mystery. The constant movement of time represents the personal point of view of Mustafa and his choices. This constant movement blurs the exact chronology of the situation, which leads to multiple interpretations of the novel. For example, the narrator rarely mentions his father and this creates ambiguity as to whether the father is alive, travelling or in prison. One interpretation is that Mustafa's mother killed his father, the same way Mustafa killed Jean Morris. Although the novel never reveals how Mustafa's father died, his mother might have killed his father out of jealousy or for certain political reasons.. It might be inferred that she eliminated him because "he and his tribe helped free the English Governor Slatin Pasha escape when he was the prisoner of the Khalifa El-Taaishi". Salih uses the framing device to add masks to the reality of characters and discloses the characteristics of others.

A further narrative technique used by Salih is the unreliability between the narrators. In the novel, the story is not told by an omniscient narrator, but by characters with emotions, feelings and biases. Mustafa, when acting as the narrator, selects specific parts of his life and tells the reader these fragments. Mustafa subtlety ignores fragments of the story, which is revealed in the final chapters, where he narrates the graphic parts of Mustafa's life story that were left out of Chapter 2. This signals into question what other fragments the narrator might have done within his life, which he did not reveal. This makes us question the reliability of the narrator and also adds to the multiple meanings of the novel. In addition, the narrator rarely quotes certain characters directly. This is seen with Hosna bint Mahmoud, whose dialogue is mostly reported by the unnamed narrator. Even though this could represent the lack of authority and rights for women during that time, the main purpose of this allows the reader to question its reliability. The absence of Hosna's voice in the text represents the unequal rights of women, and is reinforced by her situation such as a lack of choice in marrying Wad Rayyes. Through his use of multiple narrative voices, Salih highlights the instability of varying social and cultural beliefs.

One of the central literary techniques used by Salih to achieve depth of meaning is intertextuality, particularly the conscious use of Othello. When in Great Britain, Mustafa Sa'eed grasps Orientalist views of his uniqueness in his romantic and academic career. His wife, Jean Morris, pushes these constructions to the limit by casting him as the Moor Othello and herself as Desdemona. She purposefully evokes Sa'eed's jealousy by flirting. She even leaves another man's handkerchief for him to find as evidence. She is an active cause in bringing about her own murder, daring Sa'eed to kill her. Morris and Sa'eed re-enact these iconic literary roles, which can also be interpreted as being the binary of Western and Eastern rather than Othello and Desdemona, Othello representing Eastern and Desdemona representing the West. When Sa'eed was put on trial for the murder of Jean Morris, a professor who came to his defense argued that Sa'eed was "a noble person whose mind was able to absorb Western civilization, but it broke his heart. These girls were not killed by Mustafa Sa'eed, but by the germ of a deadly disease that assailed them a thousand years ago," an orientation to the negative effects of colonization. The professor, insisting that Sa'eed was innocent, instead blamed stereotypes and misunderstandings between the East and the West. Sa'eed says, "I am no Othello. I am a lie. Why don't you sentence me to be hanged and so kill the lie?" Sa'eed becomes the victim of stereotype, an Eastern stereotype of Western imagination. Salih's narrative techniques challenge the stereotypes from both sides. In this sense, it creates and adds another level of meaning beyond the literal circumstances.

Although there are many ways of understanding this novel, the Sudanese allegory of Mustafa is one of the most interpreted meanings of Season of Migration to the North. Salih uses the voice of Sa'eed and the narrator, to construct the novel as a national allegory, drawing parallels between the life of Mustafa Sa'eed and the history of Sudan. Salih uses the narrator to use the allegory to represent the characters of the allegory. However, throughout the course of the novel, this allegory becomes complicated, contradictory and ambiguous, as the other characters each shows different sides of Sudan. Mustafa Sa'eed, the main character of the national allegory, becomes an allegory for Sudan, particularly Sudan under British colonization. When he arrives in Britain, he is able to seduce every woman he has a relationship with, except Jean Morris who symbolises the colonizer. This, however, is when the coloniser overthrows his power. He spends every night with her "warring with bow and sword and spear and arrows", only to be overthrown when she will not concede to him as the other British women did, representing that Sudan was defeated by the colonizer. The meaning can sometimes be contradictory. Despite that Mustafa appears to symbolise a resistance against the British colonisation, British culture enters into his character, as well as British culture shifts into Sudan and its people in many ways and this is seen within Mustafa and the narrator who experienced both cultures. Salih peppers the meanings of the novel with allegories to allow readers to make multiple interpretations of the novel, as it adds a primary meaning to the novel.

In conclusion, there are many ways of understanding this novel. The framing device creates a blurred effect for the reader to recognise the exact chronology of time. Also, there is unreliability within the story-telling. The narrator consciously selects the events told, with some events highlighted and some abandoned, leading the reader to a biased view. In addition, Salih's use of intertextuality to represent characters adds another level of meaning beyond the literal circumstances. Finally, even the most interpreted meanings can be contradictory. Even though, Mustafa appears to symbolise the resistance against the British colonisation, British culture enters into his character, as well as British culture as it shifts into Sudan and its people. This leads the reader to make multiple interpretations of the novel.

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