Anouar Majid’s novel Si Yussef deals essentially with the issue of hybridity. Anouar Majid’s protagonist marries Lucia with whom he lives in Tangiers. Actually, there is a logical prediction that most readers automatically would expect that Si Yussef would influence Lucia culturally. This expectation is quite normal for a very single reason; the socialization process is at Si Yussef’s side. Unpredictably, the novel suggests the inverse. In the novel, Si Yussef is depicted as a hybrid that is trapped between Spanish and Moroccan cultures.
He speaks Spanish so fluently to the extent that he was habituated to reading newspapers in Spanish language. The narrator portrays Si Yussef as being divided between his absolute loyalty to the woman he loved and his pride for the culture that made him. Captivatingly, the interracial marriage of Si Yussef and Lucia specifically invokes a cultural coexistence between a Catholic and Muslim individuals. The author’s message centrally evokes the issue of religious and cultural tolerance. Building on the fact that neither Lucia nor Si Yussef converts to the religions of each.
Nevertheless, due to personal trustworthiness and love the two characters lived a joyful life. However, beneath all what he achieved there are certain losses that Si Yussef himself declares; through he admits that he cares about her to the extent that he would die for her if need be. In a nostalgic ton, Si Youssef says my good luck has denied me the chance-no it’s more than chance, it’s passion- the passion to regain my faith and to continue to recite the Qur’an, like I did when I was a child. Si Yussef resorts to the workings of memory and the confronting processes of reviving the past, of attempting to reconnect the self with its origins.
Nostalgia, then, comes into view in the moment when Si Yussef attempts to confront the cultural changes and conditions imbricating him within his homeland. He sets his struggle to come to term with his past against present calamities. Si Yussef exiled himself culturally, and the processes of his memories do not only invoke nostalgia, but also negotiate a coming to terms with the challenges to really revive the past. The writer could successfully use nostalgia as a tool that redirects Si Yussef who suffers from a sort of cultural misdirection.
Si Yussef shows that the real soul is his language and faith. The aspects of his life have not been coherent; contradiction and ambiguity have often prevailed, and hence a risk of disorientation is posed throughout Si Yussef’s thought. Under the impact of Lucia’s love, Si Yussef reacts with lively satisfaction, yet deep inside Si Yussef is full of pain and nostalgia to his past heritage and life. He wishes to assert his own old identity, many segments of which have been lost. Si Yussef tries to reconstruct his own identity and revive some of the cultural bits that have been forgotten.
He is cast into the deepest nostalgic encounter encouraging a certain reconstitution of the personal past, of origins and roots. The blaming interrogations that this protagonist voices offer implicitly a powerful account of the tensions between Si Yussef’s past life and present one. He, who is culturally displaced, appears to travel across space to oscillate dramatically between the past and the present. His unstable and unbalanced position forcefully fragments his mind, making life ambiguous and dividing him to the vein. The image of confusion reverberates in the sentence: ‘My successful life was a failure’.
This vision of internal disjunction enhances the image of Si Yussef’s uncertain terms, his shaky and flawed status. The protagonist SI Yussef seems to be as a subject seeking a partly lost selfhood’ through an attempt of reintegration with the past heritage; his fractured mind and soul recalls the distant and absent past when he used to recite the Qur’an, when he used to perform his prayers and when he used to attend the gathering of Tulba writing and so on. Moreover, he confessed that he had not performed his prayers since he was twenty.
The very act of dreaming of the old Tulba is a symbolic hint to the problematic of self-reconnection. Moreover, the very wavering between two extremes conjures up the restless movement of Si Yussef between the present and the past. It is within these boundaries-past and present- that the tension between the self and its identity is celebrated; the protagonist is burdened by a double belonging, one is lived the present- while the other – the past is sought to be revived. Si Yussef’s alienation within his homeland leads us to explore a major feature of post-colonial literatures, which is concerned with place and displacement.
Si Yussef suffers from linguistic as well as cultural alienation whose roots go back to both the colonial and imperial eras. His sense of self has been eroded by a special type of dislocation. It is the cultural alienation that dislocates him, regardless of the fact that Tangiers is his geographical location. Actually, the novel reflects the negative side of cultural as well as linguistic hybridity. In contrast to other postcolonial theorists and literary writers who think the hybridized nature of postcolonial culture as strength, Anouar majid depicts it as a weakness.
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