20th Century Themes in Midaq Alley

1710 Words Dec 14th, 2012 7 Pages
20th century themes in Midaq Alley Cairo Egypt, as well as the rest of the world today, is going through fast changes quite often. In Midaq Alley, Naguib Mafhouz slows down the fast paced changes in Cairo during World War 2 by revealing the intimate lives of the Alley inhabitants. The roles that the characters are born into are no longer wanted by the younger generations due to the hopeful gains offered in the material world. By referring to and utilizing the four 20th century themes of, global interrelatedness, identity and difference, the rise of the mass of society, and technology versus nature while reading, the audience can better understand life in the Middle East. Midaq Alley helps make clear what the innermost workings and true …show more content…
He goes into great sensual detail about how he watched her grow up from a twig into a slender and endowed 20 year old. Samir’s heart attack essentially leads Hamida to Ibrahim who believes she is, “a whore by instinct”(Mafhouz 198). Ibrahim greatly manipulated her naivety, anger, and lack of life experience. Her anger was told most presently during their first meeting when, “her blood boiled. She wanted to humiliate him with loud curses in front of the whole crowd”(Mafhouz 157). Hamidas’ youngness and lack of direction can be seen when Hamida gave into Ibrahim’s charm and entered defeated into his world of prostitution. This can be further grasped when the narrator said, “She felt that life was the only enemy she did not know how to deal with”(Mafhouz 165). The café owner Kirsha brought disgrace to his family and gossip to the Alley by his lust for and evening sprees with young boys. In turn, Mrs. Kirsha turns to Radwan Hussainy as a last resort for guidance and sums up Kirsha’s struggles by telling him that, “He is completely immoral and neither his age, his wife, nor children can cure his lechery”(Mafhouz 91). More townspeople, such as the filthy cripple maker Zaita and the dirty and uneducated dentist Dr. Booshy, can be seen later in the story giving into their desires by robbing graves for gold teeth plates. This affected all of the townspeople greatly, more so Mrs. Afify who had been given a set of gold teeth from Dr. Booshy (Mafhouz 229).

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