I would like to write about a famous Arabic writer, Naguib Mahfouz. His poetry and works inspire me a lot and I enjoy reading his things. My father always used to read them to me, because his poems were true. Mahfouz always talks about the issues affecting the people of Egypt: generational, historical, religious, and political. Egyptians always have something going on. With his writings, Mahfouz’s introduces the reader to Egyptian reformers and modern and traditional characters as they change. We all know that as a country Egypt constantly reforms, even at an early age, Mahfouz has been able to capture hints of revolution.
Mahfouz’s novels are stories of love, ethics, moral responsibility, and crises that characterize a culture that has had many changes. His stories talk about and describe the lives of ordinary individuals caught in struggles of identity and religion. His fictional work paint a picture of Egyptian Muslims that are ruled by their own culture, as well as those they encounter as a result of the outside influence of colonialism. This simultaneity allows Mahfouz to depict the contemporary Egyptian identity as both modern and traditional. In Naguib Mahfouz’s short story “Zaabalawi” there see a young man in search of the mysterious Zaabalawi, because he afflicted with a disease which doctors are unable to cure. Zaabalawi is known to cure illnesses, a holy man that has healing powers. Zaabalawi is like a mysterious figure that has some strange powers to accomplish the impossible.
While in this search, the protagonist visits a variety of figures including a religious lawyer, a book seller, a government officer, a calligrapher, and a musician. Not able to find any definite answers as to the whereabouts of Zaabalawi, he begins to doubt his existence. Eventually, however, while in a drunken sleep in a tavern, he dreams that he is in a beautiful garden and experiences a state of harmony and contentment. He awakes to find that Zaabalawi was with him but has now disappeared again. Though upset at having missed him, the main character is encouraged by his dream and determines to continue his search for Zaabalawi.
In this story the author uses symbolism to convey his message to his audience, that the quest to find Zaabalawi is a journey into our souls in search of the inner peace that inside us. Mahfouz uses a lot symbolic meanings, such as irony, that is why I want to write about this work. I have always been drawn to these types of writing.
1. Aboul-Ela, Hosam. “The Writer Becomes Text: Naguib Mahfouz and State Nationalism in Egypt.” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, 27:2 (2004 Spring), pp. 339-56.
– I chose Prof. Aboul Ela because his work because it’s easy to read and very simple, some of the other materials was a bit too hard to put together.
2. Naguib Mahfouz. “The Happy Man” ONE WORLD OF LITERATURE Shirley Geok-Lin Kim and Norman A. Spencer. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993. p.46-p.53 – Im using this source because it’s going to help me explain other literary works of Naguib Mahfouz in this essay.
3. Modern Egyptian Short Stories by El-Gabalawy, Saad (trans.) (Najib Mahfouz, Youssef Idris, Saad Elkhadem) ISBN: 0919966039 – Im using this other source because of the type of writing. This book explains how Mahfouz writes his stories, and what he uses in terms of grammar and how he builds the story, symbolism and irony.
– This source is going to help me discuss the state of mind of Naguib Mahfouz when he wrote his books. It explains how Mahfouz became a beginning of an era not only in the Egyptian literature but also in the Arab literature.He was always lonely, maybe that’s the reason why his writings were always kind of sad.
Subject: Short story,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 January 2017
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