Symbolic Significance Of ' The Thief And The Dogs '

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The symbolic significance of Nur in The Thief and the Dogs, by Naguib Mahfouz
Naguib Mahfouz’s The Thief and the Dogs was written in 1961 and is a highly complex novel amongst the author’s most celebrated works. Utilising a stream of consciousness style that engages the reader from the opening to the conclusion of the novel, it embraces themes like morality, anarchy, revenge and betrayal. However, it also examines the impact of darkness and it is this theme that is highlighted by minor characters throughout the text. For example, Nur, a prostitute who is in love with main protagonist Said, is introduced in order to inject lightness into the narrative in stark contrast to the dark and disheartening tales that are conveyed through the more prevalent characters.
Nur’s introduction to the novel does not occur until the fifth chapter, by which time the dark tone of the narrative has already been established. This is significant because her delayed entrance comes against a backdrop in which every vestige of hope, of human redemption, is notably absent. For example, Mahfouz deliberately constructs an isolated and desolate landscape that provides an apt parallel to Said in the previous chapter: “...the dawn shed dewy compassion, giving momentary solace for the loss of everything, even the two bank notes, and he surrendered to it”. This use of metaphor does not leave room for light against the darkness but Nur’s introduction remedies that, offering an alternative. This is made

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