April 17, 2013

The Thief and the Dogs

Whilst thee mutual exchange of intellectual conceptions so gaily transpired, many a pungent potato of thought were heartily unearthed. Even though half the class did not speak, those who had had discovered the beautiful nugget that is perspective. Said is set up as this awful, treacherous, inhuman piece of rubbish left to wander the streets with a vendetta after his release from incarceration. As the reader, one experiences an influx of emotional gravity towards him as the novel progresses. He is, after all, a human being, and our protagonist. He appears externally cold, yet intrinsically compassionate. This is evident in the numerous ventures of his past whereupon he aims to court Nabawiyya. I conjured the notion of the two having never been in love at all, for it was mere infatuation that brought them together under the symbolic, overseeing tree.

Nur… Nur is a different story. She greatly contributes to the tragedy that is Said’s life by giving it color. The kind prostitute is beautifully portrayed as hospitable, loyal, and mysterious. The mysteriousness is the kicker, for her absence is of greater metaphorical and psychological value than her presence. Said ponders many a time over his concealed love for Nur while he sits alone in her apartment. This period of reflection is a direct comparison to the trials of Sisyphus, which we read of in a previous class. Sisyphus’s endurance is challenged more so mentally than physically, which is also true for Said. He cannot handle being alone for so long because he is left to lament the loss of his daughter, his unsuccessful attempts at revenge, and his unconfessed love for Nur. In the end, the class did not come to a conclusion about his death. It is not outwardly stated whether or not he dies, but it is safe to assume so.

Written for a high school class.

The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz


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