Season of Migration to the North Summary & Study Guide

Tayeb Salih
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Season of Migration to the North Summary & Study Guide Description

Season of Migration to the North 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 Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih.

"It was, gentlemen, after a long absence - seven years to be exact, during which time I was studying in Europe - that I returned to my people" (Chapter 1, pg. 1). He returned to the small village of the Nile because he missed his people. The man had been gone for seven years. He was happy to be back and they were happy to have him back. He had missed the closeness of tribal life during his stay in Europe. It was good to wake up in his own familiar bed with the familiar sounds of the wind outside.

The narrator of the story, who is never given a name, is from a poor Sudanese village and he is the one that tells the story of Mustafa Sa'eed, in bits and pieces throughout the book. He spends seven years studying in Europe earning a doctorate. When he returns, he spots a stranger among those who had come to greet him. The stranger is Mustafa Sa'eed. The man had appeared in the village five years earlier and married one of the local girls. He works in the fields, although it is later learned that the man is a well-known economist who was active in the movement for Sudanese independence.

Mustafa is a mystery to the narrator. He talks with him and learns some details about his life. However, he feels that Mustafa is hiding something and he wants to find out what. Thus begins his obsession with Mustafa Sa'eed. Several weeks later, Mustafa disappears during the flooding, apparently the victim of drowning, but his body is never found. He names the narrator the guardian of his two young sons. He also leaves him the key to his private room, called the triangular room.

The narrator moves to Khartoum and in his position with the Department of Education, he keeps meeting people who refer to Dr. Mustafa Sa'eed. Most have stories are filled with praise for the man. This fuels the curiosity of the narrator who is on a destructive quest for information about the man.

The book emphasizes the Occident-Orient conflict in post-colonial Sudan. Each culture is curious about the other and this appears several times throughout the book. It is especially obvious with the women in the novel as their role in the different cultures and countries is discussed.

The author Tayeb Salih grew up in the Sudan and was educated in England. He came from a small Sudanese agricultural village, much as the one portrayed in the novel. He is considered a major Arab novelist of his time. Season of Migration from the North was translated from its original Arabic into English after it was first published in Beirut. The rich style of the Arabic writing, with its heavy use of metaphors, makes the text somewhat difficult but leaves its impression on the reader.

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This section contains 478 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Season of Migration to the North Study Guide
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