A'alaa AlMajnouni

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Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” as an Anti-Transcendental Poem

In My Research Papers & Essays on June 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm

The Law of Newton’s Action-Reaction“…The direction of the force on the first object is opposite to the direction of the force on the second object…”applied on physics. Yet, this law is partially applicable to some literary movements too. For each movement emerges as an action there is the reverse reaction towards. Transcendentalism as an Action is a famous American movement or a philosophy based on the ultimate reality of God, the Universe, and the Self. It is idealistic and optimistic because it could find the answer to any existential question through intuition and observation of the natural world (Harmon & Holman 527). However, its Reaction formed the Anti-Transcendentalism, or ‘Dark Romanticism’ which is based on the total diverged from the first, mainly about the destructiveness of the human race. For the reason that Anti-Transcendentalism revolves on pessimistic beliefs and believed that Transcendentalism was naïve, selfish, and unrealistic. It viewed nature as vast and incomprehensible, a reflection of the struggle between good and evil (Harmon & Holman 458). Therefore, this paper seeks to present a concise attempt to analyze the elemental aspects of Anti-Transcendentalism applied on the poem of Edgar Allen Poe “The Raven”.

The perspective of Anti-Transcendentalists towards the world is viewed as evil as an entity, and the sin as an active force within. They believed in a higher authority, and humans could not understand the nature of which in a complete individualism. Hitherto this proposition by them would lead to selfishness and man’s fall into wickedness. Moreover, and on the artistic level, their works reflect these beliefs and often include either an allegory of the fall of man or supernatural intervention and man’s depravity. Accordingly, Edgar Allan Poe considered by many critics as one famous Anti-Transcendentalist for his prevalence of human depravity through all his works (RTA). However, the works of him are noticeably coherent with his personal aesthetic beliefs and judgments. The thematic tales of Poe are commonly connected with fear and terror where they present the elemental aspects and emergence of ‘American Gothicism’. Furthermore, James Lowell stated to support:

Mr. Poe as a great master of imagination has seldom restored to the vague and the unreal as sources of effect. He has not used dread and horror alone, but only in combination with other qualities, as means of subjugating the fancies of his readers.  (qtd. Rasmus 23-24)

Although Poe did not publically mention Ralph Waldo Emerson, the founder of Transcendentalism, but he relentlessly attacked his ideas and American Transcendentalism in general. In short, Edgar Allen Poe meant to jeopardize the ideal of nature all through the nineteenth century (“The Domain of Artifice” 1) and in the United States in particular. Besides, they were constructed on a base of deep rejection to his transcendentalist’s contemporaries on their ethical and aesthetic myths (RTA).

“The Raven” is Edgar Allen Poe’s most popular poem and it was first published in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845. Yet again, “The Raven” as an anti-transcendental work is as well a renowned category of finest example of Gothic poetry! Poe meant not to have a meditation on death nor a philosophical examination of how death affects our lives after the loss of our beloved in this world, but he made Death as a crucial part of its existence (Campbell & Ford 19). In “The Philosophy of Composition” Poe’s own essay about “The Raven” describes it as one that reveals the human weakness for “self-torture” as evidenced by the speaker’s tendency to weigh up himself through grief (qtd. Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine). For Poe in order to establish the proper extreme of grief in the poem’s speaker, he needs to be absolutely drained of any tiny hope of seeing her again, ‘Lenore’. Wherever, only death could provide such an absolute!

“The Raven” is opening with an exhaled of ‘Ah’ and agitated emotions of the narrator on a cruel day of December, with the bitter coldness, and lifeless isolated house, where the atmosphere is so dark death-like and so horrifying. Poe starts:

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.  (7-11)

It is assumed that the narrator to be a scholar, who might be Edgar Allen Poe himself. The narrator is sitting alone at this night lamenting and trying to read volumes alone forgetting the death of love the gloominess of love the struggle between remembrance of love and forgetting. Here, he is trying to forget to deny living, as nothing happened to overwhelm oneself with books and reading to pass the time to take the mind of problems. As the Poetic tale continues the landscape quickly broadens with fear and uncertainty in where the poet in the prison catastrophic richly furniture room heard a gentle tapping on his chamber door. Filled with excitement and fear, the poet decided to open the door as the essayist Dana Gioia assumed:

He thinks at first it is a late night visitor, but opening the door, he finds only “Darkness there, and nothing more.” (This initial glimpse into black nothingness will prove prophetic of his ultimate fate.) Half afraid, half wishful, the speaker whispers the name of his dead lover. Irrationally he hopes the visitor is her ghost. There comes no reply, however, except the echo of his voice. Soon the tapping resumes-now at his window, Opening the shutter, he finds a Raven.  (33)

The next stanza hold up more anti-transcendental portions shown clearly on the Gothic atmosphere, and once the narrator began to have a hysteric thought about his love; he is so moved by remembering her, his Lenore! Poe wrote:

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!’
Merely this and nothing more.   (25-31)

He whispered her name he is wishing that the late mid-night visitor will be his Lenore. He fears he wonders and he still loves. He is living in hopes and dreams of everlasting love. The Raven the omen of bad things or the angel from heaven might be seeking shelter from the coldness of winter into the room with the dead amber. Yet, the Raven might represent nothing maybe it is all inside the mind of the narrator the images he seeks or desire the most. But B. J. Bolden in his essay of “Poetry for Students” said:

Though logic tells the young man that the raven’s “Nevermore” is merely a rote response, he is beyond reason. Having experienced a turbulent shift in his emotions, from dreamy melancholy to irrational hope, by the second half of the poem, the young man is precariously perched on the brink of insanity. As though the raven can divine the source of the young man’s grief over the lost Lenore and the desperate hope that he will once again “clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-,” the raven continues to utter only the solitary word “Nevermore.” The young man’s spirit sags over the finality of Lenore’s death, yet he proceeds to indulge in sweet torture by his rhetorical interrogation of the stoic raven, as if his desperate questioning keeps her precious memories alive.  (qtd. Gale 28-29)

The narrator now is in a situation that can’t be described he is in a state of hysteric to madness. He first thought the bird as a messenger from heaven as a ghost of his passed lover as a joyous memory later in the second half of the poems his mind swung completely as he now think of the eternal vision of nothingness or as bad omen. Once again on what Dana Gioia supposed:

A devil sent to claim the speaker for the underworld. The speaker’s dawning awareness of his hellish doom is reflected in the poem’s changing refrain, which begins as “nothing more” and “Evermore,” but darkens once the bird speaks his prophetic “Nevermore” By the poem’s last line, the narrator has accepted the bird’s dire prophecy. Echoing his shadowy tormentor, he declares his soul “Shall be lifted-nevermore.”   (34)

As the narrator now in a agitation and because he needs to cling to the memories of his lost Lenore, the young man experiences inner turmoil as he tries to face the thought of life without her. Finally, he chooses the torture of past memories over the pain of present emptiness. As a plot device, this works fine, because the reader is assured that there is no way they could ever be reunited. The poem’s weakness, though, is that the bald fact of death is not used to generate any new understanding. Grief is an honest, basic response to death, but Poe does not take it anywhere. The speaker does not think about his own death or life, nor about what his time with Lenore was like or whether her life was full and significant in the short time she did have: he just grieves and grieves and grieves. The reader would be right to question whether this is a realistic response to death, and whether in real life people do respond to death with such perpetual and chronic sorrow. It is a characteristic of Romanticism, the literary movement that Poe is associated with, to stretch a human emotion beyond the shape that we are familiar with in real life: beauties are stunning and unforgettable beauties, suffering is agony, and grief is uncontrollable. Death is one of the few things that cannot be fixed or reversed, and the enormity of it is therefore entirely appropriate for the exaggerated emotions in Poe’s work (BR).

Thus, we can understand that he has quite lot of deep meaning behind the surface of horror poem alone. So, What is the main idea behind the text? What is the major aspect? What does Poe want to tell us? Are the images the main source behind the text? Or is it the persona? Is it the atmosphere? Or they are all combined together to show us the hidden meaning between Poe compositions. Poe with his creative imagination spellbound readers and he as well confuse scholars and critics for they can not decide of what is the real meaning behind it or who is the persona who represents Poe, maybe none or both N.P Williams in the death of Edgar A. Poe said: ” The Raven was probably much more nearly than has been supposed, even by those who were very intimate with him, a reflection and an echo of his own history.

He was the bird’s

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore

Of ‘Never-nevermore.'”

A harsh master treated the bird just like his harsh experiences deprived Poe of all faith in man or woman. It might suggest that he was a hard worker and not being appreciated by society and getting low wages and money for his great works. On the other hand some critic like Dave Smith said that:

Poe is the narrator himself the lonely gloomy figure who permits the witness to Some close to his creature and yet keep safe, a glimpsed but not engaged threat. Still, having summoned the raven, Poe cannot so easily deny or repress it: he tells us the bird sits in the forever of that last stanza, a curse neither expiated nor escaped. Poe loved women who died, often violently, diseased. His mother went first; he was two and an orphan. He was taken in and raised as ward of John Allan and his wife Frances, a sickly woman who would die on him, but first there would be Jane Standard, on whom he had a fourteen-year-old’s crush. She was thirty-one when she died insane. Poe suffered the death of three women before he finished being a moody teenaged boy.  (40)

To sum up, Edgar Allan Poe is one of the major influences of Dark Romanticism. As an anti-transcendentalist he not only addressed the central question of nineteenth-century romantic symbolism, or that of reality over illusion or the power of the imagination (Gale 31). Indeed, Poe in his narrative “The Raven” transported Romantic symbolism to new heights, and envisioned the Dark side of Nature as pessimistic, evil and dark mystery if not centers on the Death as a main premise.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2008.

B. J. Bolden, in an essay for Poetry for Students, Gale, 1997.

Campbell, Killis, The Mind of Poe and Other Studies, New York: Russell and Russell, 1962.

Dana Gioia, in an essay for Poetry for Students, Gale, 1997.

Dave Smith, “Edgar Allan Poe and the Nightmare Ode,” in Southern Humanities Review, Vol. 29, No. I, Winter, 1995, pp. 4-10.

Harmon, William, C. Hugh Holman, and William Flint Thrall. A Handbook to Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000.

Hastrup, Rasmus. A Crack in the Mirror. Echoes, Reflections, Doubles and Confined Space in the Life and Work of Edgar Allan Poe. København, 2001.

Poe, Edgar Allan, ‘The Philosophy of Composition,” in Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. XXVII, April, 1846, reprinted in Literary Criticism of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Robert L. Hough, University of Nebraska Press, 1965, pp. 20-32.



A Marxist Analysis on Class Conflict in the Novel of Sir William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

In My Research Papers & Essays on June 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Mahatma Gandhi once declared that; “Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed red with innocent blood” (Non-violence in Peace and War, 1948). Thus far, Sir William Golding’s Lord of the Flies overarches a premise that humanity is pessimistic and corrupted and brutally chaotic instincts throughput a characters of children. In order to have a better understanding, this novel is first Published in 1954 shortly after the WWII and its firmly rooted in the sociopolitical concerns of its era. It advertingly narrates London Blitz (1940-1941) where children were evacuated from the metropolitan area: some were sent to Scotland, some to Canada and Australia (teachrobb.com) and to provide an authentic environment to the text. Thus, this paper seeks to point out the Ideology of Golding in Lord of the Flies through a Marxist reading over the Class Conflict.

The Ideology of Sir Golding alludes to the Cold War conflict in between the Liberal Democracy in his presentation of “Ralph’s” whereas “Jack Merridew” is the totalitarian communism (teachrobb.com). Since “Marxists do not see any literary works as an aesthetic objects but a product of the socioeconomic aspects.” (Dobie 94) appropriately, the novel of Lord of the Flies substantiates a Marxist principle elucidated by the Class Conflict throughput the boys’ attempts of civilization and devolution. Despite the boys mimicry of the social organization that they think would reflect the adult world realistically (“Article Myriad”) it turned into savagery and bloody violence.

Terry Eagelton had stated that; “Marxism is as inseparable from modern civilization… as much part of our “historical unconscious”…” (Bressler 161).  Therefore, Lord of the Flies as work of fiction is an applicable text accepts the elemental perspective of Marxism. The story revolves on a conflict between groups of English boys who trapped on a deserted island with no grownups survivors. The philosophy of Sir Golding and the “historical unconscious” of the Cold War materialized allegorically. Additionally, to know that Sir Golding as a British naval commander in WWII and to know some of the facts of the British involvement in the war helps in understanding a relation to the premise of the text (“Article Myriad”). Thus again, the Children Conflicts presented all through the struggle among the characters to develop their sociopolitical system until they get rescued! Yet, Karl Marx proclaimed about the social constructions that:

“It is not our philosophical or religious beliefs that make us who we are, for we are not spiritual beings but socially constructed ones. We are not products of divine design but creation of our own cultural and social circumstances.”   (Dobie 92).

Then subsequently the struggle of the groups turned to be a completed dystopian[1] society and the children alone are the champions.

By scrutinizing the major three childish characters in the Lord of the Flies, Sir Golding uses “Ralph” and “Piggy” together and “Jack Merridew” along with “Roger” as major characters to portray his theory that; when Man is left in certain situations to survive and fend for themselves, they will ultimately resort to cruelty and evilness (“Article Myriad”).  For “Ralph”, he is the embodiment of Democracy and the protagonist of the story. He is one of the oldest boys on the island and quickly the leader and a Crouch-holder. This young boy is around the twelve years old, well built and in the novel you would get the impression he might grow into a boxer one day yet never to a ‘Devil’! (qtd. Golding viii). “Ralph” embodies democracy by the qualities of being fair, sunny, decent with the other boys, sensible and considerate as well as the quality of leadership stated in the novel as; “There’s another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountains. We must make a fire.” (46; ch.2) and through this; “‘I’m chief. We’ve got to make certain [that there is no beast] There’s no signal showing [on the mountain]. There may be a ship out there.'” (98; ch.6). However he does not understand the world around a lot – and that’s why he needs the help of “Piggy”, still as a Democrat he has two things in his mind very clearly fixed: (1) they will be rescued yet not when and how. (2) In order to be rescued he sees that they must hang together! These two facts of “Ralph” is stated as; “This is our island. It’s a good island. Until the grown-ups come to fetch us we’ll have fun.” (41; ch.2). Although to “Ralph” calmness and rationality, with sound judgment and a strong moral sensibility he is yet susceptible to the same instinctive influences that affect suicide the other boys. It is demonstrated by his contribution to both Simon’s death and Piggy’s, stated at the end of the novel; “Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy.” (248; ch.12) which as well shows the shaking base of the Democratic Party through the Cold War. Nevertheless, “Ralph” remains the most civilized character throughout the novel with his strong commitment to justice and equality as described in the novel; “Ralph launched himself like a cat; stabbed, snarling, with the spear, and the savage doubled up.” (279; ch.12) and when the Officer at the novel closing asked; “ who’s boss here? “I am,” said Ralph loudly.” (283; ch.12).

On the other hand, the character of “Piggy” is a bit multifaceted, for he represents culture within the democratic system embodied by “Ralph”. Although he is described as chubby, awkward, and averse to physical labor for his asthmatic condition, “Piggy” still sensitive, conscientious and the intellectualist of the island (qtd. Golding viii). “Piggy’s” intellectual talent endears him to “Ralph” in particular, who comes to admire and respect him and make him the Brain Trust. “Piggy” is dedicated to the ideal of civilization and consistently reprimands the other boys for behaving as Savages; “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything.” (40; ch.2).

Yet, on the contrary, is the character of “Jack Merridew”, the leader of a boys’ choir; “Jack” exemplifies Militarism as it borders on Authoritarianism. He is cruel and sadistic, preoccupied with hunting and killing pigs, stated: Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in” (75; ch.4). His sadism intensifies throughout the novel, and he eventually turns cruelly on the other boys; “[Jack and the two hunters] weremasked in black and green.” (160; ch.11). He feigns an interest in the rules of order established on the island, but only if they allow him to inflict punishment. For he represents anarchy which proved by the rejection of “Ralph’s” imposed order: “‘Which is better — to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph…” (164; ch.11). But the bloody results of this act indicate the danger inherent in an anarchic system based only on self-interest. “Jack’s” transformation from civilized bully to savage killer has begun. He’s obsessed with hunting at the expense of all else, even rescue; They knew very well why he hadn’t: because of the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood.” (31; ch.1) “Jack” fears killing the pig at first, a fear he overcomes as he sheds civilization and adopts the way of the savage, but; “He tried to convey the compulsion to track down and kill that was swallowing him up.” (51; ch.4.). Thus, his hunting mask has obliterated that small semblance of civility, for Jack had: “The mask was a thing of its own, behind which Jack had liberated from shame and self-consciousness (64; ch.4).

However, the Children Conflict at Lord of the Flies holds the reader to a critical purpose towards the childish constructed government that indicates allegorically a relevant of our modern politics. Sir Golding visualizes the naïve; inexperienced boys into a place where there are no adults, no social institutions and no order yet a try to mimic the social organization that they think would reflect the adult world faithfully (“Article Myriad”). The children government is shaped and it is created out of necessity: they identified a leader by election to be “Ralph”; “‘All right. Who wants Jack for chief?’ ‘With a dreary obedience the choir raised their hands.’ ‘Who wants me? [Ralph] ‘Every hand outside the choir except Piggy’s was raised immediately.” (23; ch.1). Selected an item that give their society-building significance illustrated by the ‘Conch-shell’ to be Democracy that brings all the voices together. Established rules to fulfill their basic human needs; making ‘Fire’ in order to get rescued by the smoke, warmth and sheltered. Besides initiating workable relationships with one another stated in the text:

“[The boys] found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society. They were glad to touch the brown backs of the fence that hemmed in the terror [of the makeshift beast] and made it governable.   (138; ch.9)

Nevertheless, it starts smoothly at first yet the group moved violently. It emerged first between “Ralph” civilization’s representative and “Jack” the incivility transformer, each by his group. These two groups are fighting each for diverse perceptions of the word ‘Survive’ and ‘Rescue’; the group of “Ralph” focuses on Fire, whereas the group of “Jack” focuses on Meat. At the beginning of the novel, “Ralph” has been elected as a chief, and has the majority of the Conch, an item of power at the novel. Yet, “Ralph” found “Jack” unpleasant by the election result so as a Democrat who seek to please his fellows he gave him the hunters; “‘Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification. He started up, then changed his mind… Ralph looked at him, eager to offer something.’ ‘The choir belongs to you, of course.’ ‘They could be an army or hunters—.’” (23; ch.1).  This was a quietly good idea, thus “Jack” will drive his focus on other than Ralph being the chief. The materialism along with the thirst of power in “Jack’s” character prolongs after “Ralph” and exceeded to thought he was better and the only deserver! Consequently “Jack” wanted something just to show that he still had some type of power, so he started to dominate the Group a bit more than usual (teachrobb.com). Now “Jack” got the Hunters ‘Choir’ and the Meat, he is no longer interested to get rescued, gradually “Ralph’s loss of boys and Meat left his slowly weaker and powerless and “Jack” is capitalizing on the Island, as stated: “‘Which is better — to be a pack of painted Indians like you are, or to be sensible like Ralph is….Which is better — to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?'” (164; ch.11) in the quote, “Jack” was lecturing the other boys and declaring the uselessness of “Ralph’s” Authority. To sum up the Group Struggle, these boys however young are not innocent. Each of them reflects the influence of Man’s infection of Evilness. They also mirrors the Cold War terror, humanity in the children turned savagely inhuman, two boys got killed and the others went wild and this all explained at the end of the novel by:

“The officer grinned cheerfully at Ralph. ‘We saw your smoke. What have you been doing? Having a war or something?’ Ralph nodded. ‘Nobody killed, I hope? Any dead bodies?’ [Ralph] ‘Only two. And they’ve gone.’ [Officer] ‘Two? Killed?’ Ralph nodded again. Behind him, the whole island was shuddering with flame.’  (282-283; ch.12).

To conclude, Lord of the Flies provided a political theme-tale in a children framed society. Sir Golding alludes to the modern society between the same forces translated through both of “Ralph” and “Jack” (qtd. Epstein 293). So, it is not a book of confrontation but a sample that; “may help few grownups to be less complacent and more compassionate, to support Ralph, respect Piggy, control Jack, and lighten a little the darkness of Man’s Heart.” (qtd, Golding xii). As a permissible perception to the Marxist critic in order to express the personal view of the Ideology, I agree with Sir Golding attempt to trace the defect of society back to the defect of human nature stated in; “‘Maybe there is a beast….maybe it’s only us.'” (80 ;ch.5).

Works Cited

Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism: an Introduction to Theory and Practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003.

Burris, Skylar Hamilton. “What Makes Things Break up like They Do?” Alternative Explanations For the Societal Breakdown in William Golding’s Lord of the Flie (1999). Web. <http://www.rbhs.w-cook.k12.il.us/Mancoff/lofancient.htm&gt;.

Dobie, Ann Brewster. Theory into Practice. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2008.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2003.

Harmon, William, C. Hugh Holman, and William Flint Thrall. A Handbook to Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006.

Lund, Mark. Literary Criticism: A Primer An English Office Publication. Thesis. Baltimore County Public Schools, 1996. Towson, MD. <http://www.teachrobb.com/documents/Criticism.htm&gt;.

Smith, Nicole. “Article Myriad.” The Role of Government in “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding(2010). <http://www.articlemyriad.com/lord_flies_government_society.htm

[1] In another words, the construction of the novel is an exemplar of Dystopia; an imaginary place – the coral island- where life is extremely difficult and a lot of unfair or immoral things happen.

Mustapha Sa’eed Vs. Nameless Narrator; A Study of the Possible “Oneness” in Salih’s Season of Migration to the North

In My Research Papers & Essays on June 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Tayeb Salih’s work of genius Season of Migration to the North suggests immediately by its very title that something has gone awry. Nature has been perverted, and ‘migration’ instead of going South has gone North (“An Unholy Migration to the North”). As the title of the novel evokes its invertible nature, thus are the characters of Tayeb Salih who dramatizes the unpredictable. This paper mainly will study out two characters of the novel; the un-named Narrator and Mustapha Sa’eed in order to prove the possibility of them both as being one same person who holds the exact identity. However, by providing evidential similarities from the text, subordinated by Sigmund Freud conceptual usage of the ‘Uncanny’ theory.

While reading the novel of Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, two psychosomatic characters are diverging in this mystifying narrative: the Narrator, who left at the whole story as Nameless character, and Mustapha Sa’eed as the Protagonist. Both characters are working in parallel different personalities, yet they cross confusingly in some different spots. Thus, the fact that Mustafa’s personal narrative is framed within that of the Nameless Narrator of the novel is very significant to the interpretation to the novel Season of Migration to the North. At first, Mustafa, though a stranger by birth to the village, has already unsettled the narrator and made him, the native whom looks and feels like a stranger among the villagers- people: “It was, gentleman, after a long absence- seven years to be exact, during which me I was studying in Europe- that I returned to my people.” (3) Although the narrator claims very soon that his reconnection with the other villagers “Suddenly I recollected having seen a face I did not know among those who had been there to meet me. I asked about him, described him to them, … ‘that would be Mustapha,’ said my father.” (4) He still has made himself oblivious to Mustafa’s irksome presence. Consequently, the Narrator exclaimed through the lines his presence and Mustapha’s by his internal vision; “I remembered that the day of my arrival he was silent.”(4) Along with the narrative continuation to this: “But Mustapha had said nothing. He had listen in silence, sometimes smiling; a smile in which, I know remember, was mysterious, like someone talking to himself.” (5). Besides, that he was as happy as a child seeing himself in the mirror for the first time “I forgot about Mustapha after that, for I began to renew my relationship with the people, … I was happy during those days, like a child that sees its face in the mirror for the first time.” (5). However, it is valid to argue that his oblivion is a form of wish-fulfillment and that, through the unconscious act of displacement and transference, he transposed the villagers and Mustafa Sa’eed (Al-Halool).

Accordingly, as the personification of a frightening phenomenon of Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North disturbed characterizations; Mustafa Sa’eed at the story represents to the significantly Nameless Narrator in what Sigmund Freud calls the Uncanny (Al-Halool). Salih intended to leave his Narrator as Un-named character who narrates the story of Mustapha Sa’eed- if not his other-self. In despite of the type of narration the Narrator embodies, as First-Person type of Narration, and as a character in the story that uses the first person singular “I” who also presents the action through the eyes oh his only one point of view (Harmon & Holman 341). Lead to set a personal hypothesis of mine claims; that, Tayeb Salih left the narrator ‘Un-named’ to keep a gap in the novel where the Protagonist Mustapha Sa’eed can fill himself in as the other identity, under the Narrator’s Persona whenever parallelism of the plot crosses on! But critically speaking, Salih’s Season of Migration to the North under the light of Freudian characters’ analysis using the Uncanny conception simplifies an applicable interpretation of the possible Oneness on both the Narrator and the Protagonist! Because Freud’s philological analysis of the uncanny is very clear in the novel and supports the thesis on how Mustafa Sa’eed is the Narrator’s double. Sigmund Freud, however, argues on the authority of Otto Rank in “The Uncanny,” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud that the narcissistic stage in the his concept of the ego’s development. That is where the ego invents a double, someone or an object it can identify with, and here in the novel Mustafa Sa’eed his Double the Nameless Narrator. The reason behind this invention of doubleness is originally as he stated “an insurance against the destruction of the ego” (Freud 235) or in another word as a defense mechanism (qtd. Al-Halool).

In the novel Season of Migration to the North the ego is whom ‘Mustapha Sa’eed’ passes the narcissistic stage, and his double is the ‘Nameless Narrator’ who loses its original function. As in Freud explanation in “when this stage has been surmounted, the ‘double’ reverses its aspect. From Having been an assurance of immortality, it becomes the uncanny harbinger of death” (Freud 235). However, many questions and wonders are being raised. Why does the double, the ‘Narrator’ become so frightening and uncanny that the ego needs to gather together all its defenses against it? Why does the ego ‘Mustapha Sa’eed’ project that familiar double outward as something foreign to itself? (Al-Halool). The answers of these questions are all in Freud responds again at his book with: When all is said and done, the quality of uncanniness can only come from the fact of the “double” being a creation dating back to a very early mental stage, long since surmounted–a stage, incidentally, at which it wore a more friendly aspect. The “double” has become a thing of terror, just as, after the collapse of their religion, the gods turned into demons. (236) Lastly, Freud adds that, as there is in the unconscious mind a strong compulsion to repeat proceeding from instinctual impulses (qtd. Al-Halool), “whatever reminds us of this inner ‘compulsion to repeat’ is perceived as uncanny” (Freud 238) As to the Nameless Narrator. For Mustafa appeared or is projected as a stranger, the one who is not part of the village or in another set of words, as the uncanny.

Furthermore, it is significant along these lines, which Mustafa Said appears always in where the others are away. For this reason, it supports the theory of possible oneness of the two different characters according to Freud’s uncanniness. When it stated evidently at the first chapter of the novel by “My father was asleep, and my brothers had gone out on some errand or another. I was therefore alone when I heard a faint cough coming from outside the house and on getting up.” (8). Another time in Mahjoub’s meeting at work “It was Mahjoub, the president of the Committee and a childhood of mine, who invited me. When I entered, I found that Mustapha was a member of the committee” (12). However again, in the gathering at Mahjoub’s house when they all got drunk; “Mahjoub, busy laughing with the rest of the people in the gathering did not notice what occurred.” (14) For what occurred was unseen for its all occurrence was at the mind of the Narrator where the seen of Mustapha get drunk and start reciting some English War Poetry, the Narrator: Leaping up, I stood above the man and shouted at him: ‘what’s this you’re saying? What’s this you’re saying?’ he gave me an icy look- I don’t know how to describe it … pushing me violently aside, he jumped to his feet and went out of the room with firm tread, his head held high as though he were something mechanical. (14) One last time, when the Narrator wanted Mustapha to tackle his identity the narrator stated: “I did not have long to wait, for Mustapha came to see me that very same evening. On finding my father and brother with me, he said that he wanted to speak to me alone. I got up and we walked off together.” (15). The same goes to the clash presence with Mustapha towards the Narrator, together they are always presented alone; the Narrator said: “Just before sunset I went to him and found him alone, seated in front of a pot of tea.” (16). As well as the absence of one anther; “My father told me—for I was in Khartoum at that time—that they heard women screaming… that was coming from Mustapha Sa’eed’s house.” (38). Thus, in the Narrator’s subconscious, Mustafa is a repressed phenomenon whose presence on the conscious level is threatening, because it stirs up in him a hidden compulsion to repeat his alienating experience in England. So, this explains why the narrator seeks refuge in the native villagers, and most notably his grandfather, from this “stranger’s” menacing presence (Al-Halool).

On the other hand, the narrator seeks protection from himself, from his repressed alter ego, the second self of Mustapha Sa’eed’s character, stated in these lines: Mustapha Sa’eed never happened; that he was in fact a lie, a phantom, a dream or a nightmare that had come to people of that village one suffocatingly dark night, and when they opened their eyes to the sunlight he was nowhere to be seen. (39) Indeed, the very fact that the narrator reminds other people of Mustafa Sa’eed and that he is the only main character who has no name. However, to negligence of the Narrator major role in the narrative of Salih and his unfolding of the novel’s events. The Narrator himself suggests that He and Mustafa Sa’eed are one self and the same person, no matter how far the readers might neglect this consideration, yet he insists to remind us, aesthetically by throwing wonders. Illustrated in these lines: Was is likely that what happened to Mustapha Sa’eed could have happened to me? He had said that he was a lie, so was I also a lie? I am from here—is not this reality enough? I too had lived with them. But I had lived with them superficially, neither loving nor hating them. I used to treasure within me the image of this little village, seeing it wherever I went with the eye of my imagination. (41) And at this extracted lines as well: Mustapha Sa’eed died two years ago, but I still continue to meet up with him from time to time. I lived for twenty-years without having heard of him or seen him; then, all of a sudden, I find him in a place where the likes of him are not usually encountered. (42) And at this climaxing quote where the Narrator declared evidently to the novel’s readers, the final evidential detail of both Him and Mustapha Sa’eed as one inseparable self, by many evidential actions occurred while the Narrator was in lucked-room of Mustapha. Firstly, the mirror’s reflection in: I begin from where Mustapha Sa’eed had left off. Here I am standing in Mustapha Sa’eed house in front of the iron door… ………………………………………………………………………… The light exploded on my eyes and out of the darkness there emerged a frowning face with pursed lips that I knew but could not place. I moved towards it with hate in my heart. It was my adversary Mustapha Sa’eed. The face grew a neck… and I found myself face to face with myself. This is not Mustapha Sa’eed—it’s a picture of me frowning at my face from a mirror. (111-112) Secondly, the Narrator reaction to the letter from Mrs. Elizabeth Robinson at the room where he visualized to us the scene; “I placed the letter in my pocket and seated myself in the chair to the right of the fireplace.” (123). Thirdly, the uncompleted poem of Mustapha Sa’eed and the Narrator’s try to write up a closing line in: “The problem intrigued me and I gave it several minutes of thoughts… This line of mine is no worse than the rest, so I crossed out the last line of the poem and wrote in its place.” (127). Fourthly and lastly, the striking thread which links the Narrator and Mustapha Sa’eed together as one exact identity. Is the Narrator at his last closing appearance declares a resemblance to the end of Mustapha Sa’eed mysterious disappearance at the middle of the narrative: I entered the water as naked as when my mother bore me. When I first touched the cold water I felt a shudder go through me, then was transformed into a sensation of wakefulness. The river was not in full spare as during the days of the flooding, not yet was it as its lowest level… My feet led me to the riverbank as the first glimmerings of down made their appearance. I would dispel my rage by swimming. …………………………………………………………………………. Then I veered between seeing and blindness. I was conscious and not conscious. Was I asleep or awake? Was I alive or dead? Even so, I was still holding a thin, frail thread… (137-138) However, Mustapha Sa’eed disappeared in the time of Nile flood, despite the indication of his being “Mustapha Sa’eed was, as far as I knew, an excellent swimmer.” (38) with no clue of his body with the dead “Mustapha Sa’eed’s body was not among those washed up on the river bank that week” (38).

To sum up, as just as the Narrator ends his own experience of alienation in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, covered in less than four pages of text. He becomes immediately embroiled in that of Mustafa Sa’eed, which almost consumes the remaining of one hundred and thirty-nine pages (Al-Halool). Then, again and for the last time, the Alter ego of Narrator took role and woke up strongly, as stated at the last paragraph of the novel: “Though floating on the water, I was not a part of it. I was born—without any violation of mine. All my life I had not chosen, had not decided. Now I am making a decision. I choose life.” (139). He screams with all his remaining strength, “Help! Help” (139).

Works Cited Freud, Sigmund. “The Uncanny.” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Translated by James Strachey et al. Volume 17. London: The Hogarth Press, 1955.217-256. Halool, Musa Al-. “The Nature of the Uncanny in Season of Migration to the North.” Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ) 30.1 (2008): 31+. Questia. Web. 22 May 2011. Harmon, William, C. Hugh Holman, and William Flint Thrall. A Handbook to Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000. Salih, Tayeb, and Denys Johnson-Davies. Season of Migration to the North. London [u.a.: Heinemann, 1969. ““An Unholy Migration to the North”.” Www.scribd.com. Web. .