Non-Western Literature

Discussion Questions for Mahfouz, week 2


These questions should be reviewed before reading the material, as well as after. Be prepared to answer these questions in class.

1. What is the place and importance of politics in the Alley, based on what we see in this section?

2. Is Hamida a victim of Ibrahim Faraj or a willing participant in her "corruption?"

3. What do Dr.Booshy and Zainab do together that gets them in trouble? While some people are freaked out by their actions, most of the denizens of the Alley simply accept their deeds. WHY? Explain, as best as you can, how and why they could accept such actions so matter-of-factly.

4. Describe the relationship between the Egyptians and the "outsiders," the Americans and British, especially as seen by the fates of Abbas, Hussain Kirsha, and Hamida. What is Mahfouz saying about the future of Egypt with the fates of these three young characters?

5. Explain the relationship between Kirsha and his son Hussain Kirsha, especially after Hussain comes back from his angry departure earlier in the novel. Is this a positive or negative relationship?

6. Compare and contrast the returns of Abbas and Hussain Kirsha to the Alley after their "adventures" outside the Alley.

7. Is the death of Abbas a glorious death or a waste? Does he die as a hero or as a victim?