Palace Walk Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 83 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Palace Walk.
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Palace Walk Summary & Study Guide Description

Palace Walk Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz.

The first volume in Mahfouz Naguib's Cairo Trilogy, Palace Walk examines middle-class life just after World War I, following the joys, sorrows, and sorrows of the Abd al-Ahmad family during the revolutionary years 1917-19.

Ahmad Abd al-Jawad is a domestic tyrant, demanding instant and absolute obedience to a household standard that few Muslims follow. Pious wife Amina prides herself on being submissive and supportive. She prays constantly for her family's welfare. She alone knows of his other side: nightly rounds of drinking and sex. Outsiders see Ahmad as the life of any party, musical and generous. A religious man, Ahmad depends on God's mercy.

The family has a daily rhythm. Sons Yasin, Fahmy, and Kamal eat breakfast with their father, and proudly follow him to work or school. Unbeknown to each other, Ahmad and Yasin enjoys the same debauchery. Fahmy is a serious and pious law student. Clever Kamal is still in grade school Daughters Khadija and Aisha, polar opposites in appearance and temperament, breakfast with Amina afterward and then do housework under Amina's strict eye. Ahmad comes home from his shop for lunch and a siesta, and then returns to work before going out on the town. The other family members gather towards dusk for "coffee hour," a cherished time of sharing.

Yasin stumbles upon his father's other side while visiting a call girl and is impressed that they are so much alike. When Yasin attempts to rape the family servant, Umm Hanafi, he is married off to calm his passions, but the bride is too liberated for the marriage to succeed. Fahmy wants to marry the next door neighbor but is forbidden until he graduates. He becomes involved in the dangerous revolutionary movement and conflicts with Ahmad, finally disobeying a direct order to cease and desist. The two never fully reconcile. The sisters are married to affluent brothers and move into the husband's home, which is less strict and tiring.

To quell nationalistic demonstrations, British garrisons are established, one across the street from the Abd al-Jawad home. Kamal befriends the soldiers while Fahmy in particular grows to hate them. Ahmad leaves a late-night debauch to be arrested and forced to help repair damage caused by terrorists. The nationalists gain their goals and a great, joyful celebration is sanctioned. Idealistic Fahmy is one of those gunned down by renegade British troops.

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