Moth Smoke, by Mohsin Hamid

912 Words4 Pages
Though it is common practice to “never judge a book by its cover”, oftentimes the cover will give a glimpse of what is to come. In literal terms, the cover of the book contains the title, perhaps one of the most important pieces of information about any literary work. Frequently the title will give an indication about the main character, or perhaps the leading metaphor. Thus is the case with Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid, a novel about a banker in Lahore, Pakistan who falls in love with his best friend’s wife, and plummets into a difficult lifestyle. The novel centers on the image of a moth flying around a flame; the closer it gets to what it desires, the more it is burned. Through the juxtaposition of the moth and Darashikoh Shezad, or…show more content…
Daru asks for a flyswatter to kill the moth, but Manucci refuses and begs him to watch. Daru watches as the moth circles the flame and gets closer and closer. “The poets say some moths will do anything out of love for a flame, (Hamid, 121)” Manucci says. They watch as the moth sits on the wall a bit. Manucci claims the moth is afraid and Daru agrees and says he should be, for love is a dangerous thing. Then the moth makes its magnificent decent, awkward at times and drunken, flying off when it seems to touch the flame. Then in a second, “he ignites like a ball of hair, curling into an oily puff of fumes with a hiss. The candle flame flickers and dims for a moment, then burns as bright as before. Moth smoke lingers (Hamid, 121).” From this point on, Daru is unable to shake the smell of burning flesh in his nose. Throughout the story, many points of view are shown. All characters seem to have a say in the fate of Daru, even the reader. You are placed in the position of the judge at Daru’s trial, and you are given many points of views. The difficulty is finding truth in conflicting narratives. Daru is the moth; but he is not the only moth, and he is not only a moth. He is a flame for Mumtaz, his best friend Ozi’s wife. They circle around each other and their relationship is like fire; it is hot and desperate and exciting and deadly. They have the curiosity and the carelessness of moths, and they face the consequences. Daru’s
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