Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literatures

A View into the Alley

October 31st, 2014 · No Comments

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Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz is the story of an alley and one family throughout multiple generations. Different descendants of Gabalawi, the owner of the house at the beginning of the alley, represent different prophets and religious figures. There are multiple sections in the novel, each pertaining to a different religious figure, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad. Other sections deal with people like Cain and Abel and even the push towards science as opposed to religion.

In my creative response, I chose to draw the alley and represent different elements of different sections, and of religion. The house at the beginning of the alley belongs to Gabalawi, who could represent God or just religion in general. The window into the house shows the sun and how in each generation there was a motivation to reenter the house of Gabalawi to help the people of the alley. Similar to God, the people in the alley had not seen Gabalawi, but believe, for the most part, in him anyways. The snake represents the story of Gebel, a snake charmer who could be said to represent Moses in his values and his actions. The water pail on the left side of the alley represents Rifaa and his life of purity and his desire to purify people from their sins. Rifaa would represent Jesus. The man meditating represents Kassem in the desert, next to him is a book that represents the message that Kassem has been given by Gabalawi’s servant. Kassem would represent Muhammad. There are other elements in my drawing that represent ideas in the novel such as the rocks in the desert and the tent next to Gabalawi’s.

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