The Parisian Themes & Motifs

Isabella Hammad
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East and West

Throughout her novel, Isabella Hammad pits East against West in extended juxtaposition. She begins this on the boat across the Mediterranean to France from Alexandria. Midhat is traveling from his home in the Middle East, and he is moving to a new land in Europe, the symbol of the West prevailing throughout much of the novel. Immediately almost immediately, the advice that Farouk gives him is indicative of a worldview that operates in a dichotomy—East against West. Much of his advice hinges on highlighting differences: the women, the religion, the language, and other aspects of culture. When Midhat arrives in France, these preconceived notions become further evidence of a thematic focus on Orient and Occident. One of the first thing he notices is the fact that a woman has come, alone, to pick him up from the train station. During the many dinner...

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This section contains 2,038 words
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