Name: Class: Date: Transformation of African Culture in Midaq Valley and The King’s Horseman Midaq Alley (Zuqaq al-Midaq) by Mahfouz is a novel full of intrigues and with bizarre characters that explores the complex lives of the lower class people in Midaq valley…
The novel critically focuses on the presence of the British soldiers during WWII, and these represent the western forces that have been brought to Midaq valley and influence the lives of people in this area according to the western cultures. Likewise Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman deals with the questions of cultural identity, the themes and forms of the general audience as the author brings them out clearly. The book presents contrast between the life of Europeans and the lives of Africans in a contrast of cultures. To this, Soyinka attributes lives to the forms of lives that originally developed on African soil and in the civilized world to mean Africa and European respectively. The difference of what is perceived as local and what is imported through the white man presents a case of contrast and the play brings out these contrasts to indicate how the western culture has influenced people on the African soil. Therefore, the two books portray a case of cultural degradation where Africans are influenced by the western cultures through a process that is termed as civilization, to adopt new ways of lives and depart from their traditional ways of life. The negative influence of the western culture in Midaq valley is portrayed by Hamida. This is a lady who grows in middle class environment and has no attachment to her mother or to any other neighbor. Hamida knows that she is beautiful and wants to control men those who are powerful and those that are rich (Amyuni, 1). While her husband Abbas is away in the army making an honest living, she is attracted to the rich Salim who is lasting for her. Hamida later realizes that prostitution is her calling and she is a “whore by instinct” (Mahfouz, 205). This presents a case of immorality where the riches that are accumulated in Cairo as are breaking up families and African communal settings as well as values. Mahfouz (1) explains Midaq valley to be enclosed between 3 walls with darkness. The unity and communal life is portrayed by uncle Kalim where he says; “good evening everyone.” Come on its time for evening get together……..” this is a setting that would portray a close connection between the people of Midaq Valley, which has been broken by the presence of the white man with women such as Hamida turning to prostitution with these rich men. Mahfouz further explains how Hamida realizes that her honor had been bought several times by the British soldiers; meaning that she has been prostituting with these soldiers. This case is portrayed by Alwan a family man with complete family but is not satisfied with his wife he is “unable to find the pleasures he yearned for in his wife” this makes him be attracted to Hamida (Mahfouz, 80). In addition the book presents the negative changes of religion though civilization. This is observed when Mr Kirsha claims that “public reciters still have an appeal which won’t disappear. The radio won’t replace us” the cafe owner however replies that “this is you say and not what my customers say and you are not going to ruin my business” (Mahfouz, 5). Though Kirsha and other public reciters had been used to recite the Quaran in public places with no resistant, the radio that represents the western civilization has brought another element where people see beyond this, and are not any more interested in these reciters or too much of their religion . This might be attributed to civilization, ...
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