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Homage to a Father: Family Tradition and Revolution(s) in Palace Walk

Homage to a Father: Family Tradition and Revolution(s) in Palace Walk

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Western readings of Palace Walk, the first volume of Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy, tend to interpret the novel mainly along the lines of typical opposition between patriarchy/occupation and feminism/revolution forces. Even though this analogy might be convincing to a western mind, it is based on cultural assumptions which are inconsistent with textual and contextual evidence. Taking into consideration the contextual background of the Nasser era against which the work was conceived, the paper proposes an alternative reading that observes the correspondence between family and national loyalties, an inherent feature of the Egyptian middle class society which Palace Walk depicts. The Egyptian middle class was responsible for the two most important revolutions in the history of the nation: The 1919 revolution led by Sa'd Zaghloul, and the 1952 revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. In this novel, the paper argues, Mahfouz compares the leaders of these two incidents of national struggle, with the purpose of proposing a fictional rendering of the contradiction between the personality of Nasser as the leader and the quality of his political system. In one character, Al Sayyid Ahmed Abdel Jawad, Mahfouz embodies most of the potential vulnerability of that contradiction. The ambivalence and complex sentiments held towards the father figure, who is simultaneously feared and idolized, best reflects the duality of the people's reaction towards Nasser as a ruler. The paper concludes that while the character of the father in Palace Walk echoes the contradictory quality of Nasser’s regime, it represents Egypt’s revolution of 1919 as a model to which Mahfouz aspired and wished Nasser to emulate.
Western readings of Palace Walk, the first volume of Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy, tend to interpret the novel mainly along the lines of typical opposition between patriarchy/occupation and feminism/revolution forces. Even though this analogy might be convincing to a western mind, it is based on cultural assumptions which are inconsistent with textual and contextual evidence. Taking into consideration the contextual background of the Nasser era against which the work was conceived, the paper proposes an alternative reading that observes the correspondence between family and national loyalties, an inherent feature of the Egyptian middle class society which Palace Walk depicts. The Egyptian middle class was responsible for the two most important revolutions in the history of the nation: The 1919 revolution led by Sa'd Zaghloul, and the 1952 revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. In this novel, the paper argues, Mahfouz compares the leaders of these two incidents of national struggle, with the purpose of proposing a fictional rendering of the contradiction between the personality of Nasser as the leader and the quality of his political system. In one character, Al Sayyid Ahmed Abdel Jawad, Mahfouz embodies most of the potential vulnerability of that contradiction. The ambivalence and complex sentiments held towards the father figure, who is simultaneously feared and idolized, best reflects the duality of the people's reaction towards Nasser as a ruler. The paper concludes that while the character of the father in Palace Walk echoes the contradictory quality of Nasser’s regime, it represents Egypt’s revolution of 1919 as a model to which Mahfouz aspired and wished Nasser to emulate.

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Theory in Action, Vol. 3, No.1, January 2010 (© 2010) DOI:10.3798/tia.1937-0237.

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Homage to a Father: Family Tradition and Revolution(s) in Palace Walk Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad1 Western readings of Palace Walk, the first volume of Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy, tend to interpret the novel mainly along the lines of typical opposition between patriarchy/occupation and feminism/revolution forces. Even though this analogy might be convincing to a western mind, it is based on cultural assumptions which are inconsistent with textual and contextual evidence. Taking into consideration the contextual background of the Nasser era against which the work was conceived, the paper proposes an alternative reading that observes the correspondence between family and national loyalties, an inherent feature of the Egyptian middle class society which Palace Walk depicts. The Egyptian middle class was responsible for the two most important revolutions in the history of the nation: The 1919 revolution led by Sa'd Zaghloul, and the 1952 revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. In this novel, the paper argues, Mahfouz compares the leaders of these two incidents of national struggle, with the purpose of proposing a fictional rendering of the contradiction between the personality of Nasser as the leader and the quality of his political system. In one character, Al Sayyid Ahmed Abdel Jawad, Mahfouz embodies most of the potential vulnerability of that contradiction. The ambivalence and complex sentiments held towards the father figure, who is simultaneously feared and idolized, best reflects the duality of the people's reaction towards Nasser as a ruler. The paper concludes that while the character of the father in Palace Walk echoes the contradictory quality of Nasser’s regime, it represents Egypt’s revolution of 1919 as a model to which Mahfouz aspired and wished Nasser to emulate. [Article copies available for a fee from The Transformative Studies Institute.
E-mail address: journal@transformativestudies.org Website: http://www.transformativestudies.org ©2010 by The Transformative Studies Institute. All rights reserved.]

KEYWORDS: Mahfouz, Palace Walk, Family, Revolution, Egypt, Nasser, Postcolonial Criticism.
Fadwa Mahmoud Gad, Ph.D., received her Masters degree in adolescent adventure fiction, University College for Women, Ein Shams University, 1996. In 2003 she earned her Ph.D. degree in Comparative Literature at Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt. From 2003 to present Dr. Gad held the position of assistant professor of English and Comparative Literature in the College of Humanities &Social Sciences, United Arab Emirates University. Dr. Gad has participated in several regional and international conferences in The USA, Canada, and the Netherlands, Oman, and Egypt. She has published papers and reviews on feminist literature as well as postcolonial and cultural studies. Dr. Gad is also a poet and an essayist with significant online publications. Address correspondence to: Fadwa Mahmoud Gad, United Arab Emirates University, Department of English Literature, College of Humanities &Social Sciences, Al Maqam, P.O. Box 1777, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates 03; tel: 00971503302324; e-mail: f.gad@uaeu.ac.ae. 1937-0229 ©2010 Transformative Studies Institute 24
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As early as 1960.Ghitany. In Palace Walk. Mahfouz describes his family's house in Al – Hussein. Jomier establishes “a correspondence between the family's and Egypt's political evolution. sensual. choosing the career of a civil servant. and maintaining a strong attachment to Cairo. Al. from which he seldom departed. Almost twenty years later. Al-Shatty reiterated the same conclusion. believes that Mahfouz's Affection and attachment to old Cairo is unmatched… His workplace.Theory in Action Palace Walk is the first volume of the Cairo Trilogy (1956-57). Kearns’ approach is a typical gender-centered evaluation of the narrative. middle -aged. serves as a microcosm of the ancient Fatimate capital. Mahfouz's infatuation with Cairo blends with his preoccupation with the events befalling the city. regarded as Naguib Mahfouz’s most famous fictional work . threaten[ing] the private stability of the patriarchal household” (Kearns 492). as the children rid themselves of father's authority. Egypt rids itself of British hegemony”(Jomier 1966:5). his birth place. and his mother a traditional house wife. and the alley are the major inspirational sources of his literary work. middle-class experience. marrying a conservative middle class wife. with a strong affinity to the petit bourgeois life style and ethics against which Mahfouz was brought up.While critics find that the work reflects the “history of the Egyptian society” in general (Ramadan 31). the café. I was so determined that they brought me back" (Al-Ghitany 483). a thriving. with its wooden lattice work balconies. gas-lit lamp and old cisterns as having a "permanent charm" and an indelible impression on his consciousness. He views this as based on the “scandals produced by the sexual obsessions of father and sons. [which] he " visited … only once as a child …and though I [Mahfouz] enjoyed the visit I insisted to return to Cairo after only one week. The Trilogy is a specifically urban. explaining that events taking place outside Al-Sayyid's household move in a “parallel line” with the changes occurring within the family: “The children's restlessness and annoyance with the father's authority shakes the 25 . None of Mahfouz's fictional work is set in the country. Gender and postcolonial readings of the novel have interpreted this correspondence mainly in terms of an opposition between patriarchy/occupation and feminist/revolutionary forces. Cairo merchant. one of Mahfouz’s disciples and a novelist himself. It is only in that urban setting that Mahfouz felt most at home. Mahfouz's father was a minor civil servant. The son followed in his father's footsteps. the household of Al-Sayyid Ahmed Abdel Jawad.

criticized and yet adored reflect the duality inherent in the people's reaction to Nasser's rule? Could the character of the father in Palace Walk echo the contradictory nature of that rule? And how far does the 1919 revolution represent a more ideal model to which Mahfouz aspired and wished Nasser to emulate? The Egyptian middle class was responsible for the two most important revolutions in the history of the nation: The 1919 revolution led by Sa'd Zaghloul. in spite of his sixty years of age.” and his appeal for independence a sacrifice of an elderly father who." a spontaneous public reaction to the arrest and exile of Sa'd and his colleagues. Mahfouz has Zaghloul and Nasser arguing over the definition of leadership. In Before the Throne (1990).” People considered Sa'd as “the godfather of the nation. Mahfouz expressed on several occasions the historical importance of comparing the nature.’ Revolutions in our history were always carried out by the elite.Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad family. Although this analogy may appear to be valid to a Western mind it is based on cultural assumptions that are incongruent with the values of the Egyptian middle class and which contradict with textual and contextual evidence. Mahfouz qualified the impact of the 1919 revolution as primarily affecting Egypt as a nation rather than Egypt as a formal political entity: “Never before had the people of Egypt fully realized their ‘self. and the 1952 revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. just as Fahmy's participation in demonstrations severs all relations with the past” (Al-Shatty 147). which observes a correspondence between family loyalty and national loyalty to the leaders of the two revolutions respectively. the 1952 revolution was a planned. chose to “put his life at risk for the sake of the people”(Al Naqqash 209). and furthermore an alternative reading be proposed. The 1919 revolution was "first and foremost a movement of the Egyptian people. it is proposed herein that aspects of this incongruence be highlighted. objectives. but 1919 was that historic incident in which people took care of the whole matter…This is a singularity one should recognize” (Interview 185). and leaders of these two incidents of national struggle. The relationship between Sa'd and the people had been established mainly in terms of “family.” his house as “the house of the nation. military movement later embraced by the people (Tamawii 268). with Zaghloul blaming Nasser for criticizing of Zaghloul's role in the revolution. Conversely. and which moreover provides answers to the following questions : Could the ambivalence and complexity of sentiments held towards a father who is simultaneously feared and idolized. Taking into consideration both the cultural connotations of such values and the contextual background of the Nasser era against which the work was composed. In fact Mahfouz was not the first to acknowl26 .

The 1919 revolution was a ‘family’ moment in which the people. by political calculations. but also recognized serious shortcomings evident in his reign.Aqqad 29-30). and did that on an overwhelming scale.Theory in Action edge such a position. Three decades later the middle class produced another seminal movement that succeeded in achieving Egypt's independence. like most Egyptians. Mahfouz.H. psychic history to the wider disjunctions of political existence” and in which “the personal is political and the world [is] in the home” (11). and resentment of bearing the disgrace of a father’s detention. André Malraux commented in a conversation with M. in the absence of a clear political. and very few have wronged it the way you did” (Mahfouz 1990:199).” (Al. Egyptians would never relinquish a pursuit of revenge of any assailants of members of their household. 27 . Al-Aqqad. It was the 1952 revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers. Yet. or ideological system. It is by far stronger than any political commitment or obligation to authority. the Arabs. Heikal that “the Egyptian nation found itself in Nasser as much as the French found themselves in Napoleon” (Heikal 159). could have caused a revolution so spontaneously and on such a large scale. admired Nasser. The international scene was hardly conducive to a national uprising: the British were emerging victorious from the war while Egypt was undergoing one of its weakest historical moments after forty years of occupation and a fragile political system. and he heeds no danger once he conceives animosity directed at his household. the masses revolted. is the strongest social bond. The exile of Sa'd invoked the tradition of retaliation imbedded in the cultural psyche of the nation. and even the international world. in this most inopportune moment. in his biography of the Egyptian national leader Sa’d Zaghloul explains that “family. Nothing but loyalty and attachment to a father figure. Family is the source of the Egyptian's social mentality. for the Egyptians. not the leaders. initiated a movement of history. economic. The events of the 1919 revolution took place under public pressure for one demand: the return of the father of the nation. Yielding to foes of the family becomes in this context a ‘real shame’. He had the impression that “it would take a great deal of consideration and effort to issue a decree about you [Nasser]. for very few have served the country as you did. Nasser fascinated the Egyptians. It is recorded that Mahfouz experienced a five-year writer's block on the outbreak of the 1952 revolution. Spivak terms such a power as “a politics of people” which is “an autonomous domain that neither originated from elite politics nor did its existence depend on the latter” (Spivak 2193) and Homi Bhabha qualifies it as an “unhomely” moment which “relates the traumatic ambivalences of a personal.

A similar duality is inherent in Al-Sayyid's character. after the defeat in the Six Day War. The product was Palace Walk. Vatikiotis writes that “On the evening of 9 June. “the lasting influence on Nasser's formation derived from the Weltanschauung of the lower ranks of the petite bourgeoisie in the Egypt of the inter-war period. demonstrated the public's devotion to their leader till the moment of his death. Mahfouz holds an analogy between the contradictions inherent in Nasser and his regime and those found in the character of Al-Sayyid Ahmed Abdel Jawad. with four million mourners participating in his funeral. they stood behind him when he was forced to relinquish the presidency. He defended the nation's right of free will and independence of political decision in the face of imperial powers. Even though the people suffered oppression. 1967. and actually dreaded being described as a politician. Commentators on the Nasser era acknowledge that Nasser as a person was morally upright and politically uncorrupt but also agree that he tolerated oppression and overlooked the corruption of those around him. the culturespecific family ethics have not. caressing his children tenderly when they are ill. but he did not have faith in the ability of the middle class to sustain a consistent action if unguided by a firm leader. He is able to combine religious devotion with bacchanal revelry. a novel about the 1919 (not the 1952) Revolution. Nasser was again President of Egypt by public acclamation in the streets-some say by mob furore” (Vatikiotis 360). Nasser resigned the presidency. and conservative life style. even if he lacked the depth of vision required of statesmen. yet did not guarantee the same rights within the state and did not implement an efficient political system that would allow the citizens greater space of self expression and a larger share in shaping the policy of their country. His assumption was not quite accurate. It is true that Nasser forged his legitimacy as a public leader based on his middle class culinary habits. Mahfouz believed that middle class people should be allowed to play as crucial a role in Nasser's era as they did in Zaghluol's. Vatikiotis adds that his death. His education and cultural preparation was therefore shallow because it was limited to these formative influences” (357).Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad a period during which he contemplated the transformations it brought about. Nasser was an energetic and devoted character who engaged heartily in everything he undertook. tyranny and corruption during his era. and treating them with ruthless harshness when they are well. As Vatikiotis rightly puts it. showing a fiery temperament on trivial 28 . thus indicating which model he preferred. Nasser never claimed deep thoughtfulness nor accomplished sophistication. culture. While political interpretations have failed to account for this phenomenon. On the morrow.

adult life” (4) and with the same efficiency in acting as “legislator of family rules” he allows Ameena to enjoy an unfettered feeling of motherhood as she “let(s) the father or his 29 . not the smiling. he put his whole heart into it. One such example is when he keeps his composure when his wife leaves without his permission and breaks her leg. Both Nasser and Al-Sayyid showed an instinctive charisma that was all the more impressive for being unpolished by great learning.Theory in Action matters and absolute composure on grave ones. He did not pray in a mechanical way limited to recitation. you would have been an exceptionally eloquent attorney. resolute one his family knew.. pouring himself into each. 272). and prostration. standing. Both demonstrate conservatism. The most significant manifestation of that appeal goes back to a talent of addressing the crowd. basically for his conversational gift that raises him beyond his modest learning: “If you had had the opportunity to study law. It is enough for him to be sincere in whatever role he plays: When he prayed. is portrayed as enjoying a similar talent. He was earnest and sincere in everything. he was off his feet. nor was he obliged to account for his actions. When he fell in love. He did not drink without getting drunk. He is successful in sustaining “a home amply provided with comforts and blessings. and a happy. he was exceptionally affectionate. If he befriended someone. His prayer was based on affection. merry face his friends encountered or the stern. emotion. It is never disputed within the narrative that AlSayyid has always acted with a high sense of responsibility towards his family. and feelings. in his turn. When he worked. his face was humble.. He is loved and admired by the people of his quarter.” says one of his associates (37). [he] preferred the spoken to the written word” (Vatikiotis. Nasser had an undisputable sway over the people. and “like all charismatic types. only to ask her to depart from the house once she has recovered. (37) Mahfouz attributes this duality to a lack of deep scrutiny: Al-Sayyid “was not accustomed to busying himself with introspection or self analysis” (41) and he seldom “resort[ed] to thought or reflection” (42). with a high sense of responsibility and a natural gift for leadership. The reason behind this discrepancy was that he was never forced to find “justification” for it. He performed it with the same enthusiasm he invested in every aspect of life. Al-Sayyid exhibits the extraordinary quality of keeping barriers between the different roles of his life. Al-Sayyid. maintaining it throughout the period of her recovery.

Beyond the immediate family circle. Famous for his scandalous personal affairs. Al-Sayyid's son from Zainab. He reflects the mentality of the pre-1919 generation that grew up in the years of national vacuity between Oraby and Sa'd Zaghloul. Still Nasser was keen on maintaining the relationship with his colleague whom he absolutely trusted.” Would not such traits collapse the foundations of an affinity paradigm altogether? In fact it does not. In many ways Egyptians conceived of Nasser and the Revolution as synonymous. A pivotal point in this analogy remains. straighten them out and lay down the law” (32). In all his social dealings. He is careful to avoid any clashes with the British occupying troops. which dominated the children from afar. a relationship that is unaffected even by the divorce of Yaseen. even if this means being deprived of attending his most favored music concerts. 147). Transgressions that occurred during Nasser's era are a case in point.Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad shadow. had been one of the most prominent features of the Nasser era. marriage official and referee. Resemblance extends to the type of wife each had. the countries' independence would eventually fall into the same network of imperial interests they sought to expel. The intimate friendship between Nasser and Amer. respectable life and maintaining his status as “agent. Amer served as a curious counterpart to his conservative friend. he is diplomatic and in possession of maximum self-control. Al-Sayyid Ahmed abides by this strategy. is rather detached and reluctant to accept the revolution when he finds out that his son. to be that of the attitude towards the revolution. in comparison. the absolutely obedient and devoted wife. the general commander of the Egyptian military forces. It was a generation that “enjoyed a tranquility based on resignation and had been the epitome of passivity and good intention” (Mahfouz. infatuated by her husband and content to remain in his shadow and the deep loyalty each shows to his friends. Mahfouz draws an analogy to that particular relationship as he registers the closeness of Al-Sayyid to his friend Ahmed Effit. Effit’s daughter. 30 . Al-Sayyid here fulfills Fanon's definition of the condition of “intellectual laziness” which is a basic feature of “the psychology of the businessman” that is restricted to “activities of the intermediary type. Mahfouz anticipated Fanon's warning that if Third World revolutions were controlled by a mediocre retinue. Fahmy is taking part in it. in Al Shatty. it affirms the assumption that the analogy is not between Nasser and Al-Sayyid but between their ruling systems. in the hope of leading a secure. What Mahfouz did was merely to fuse the system and the leader into one character that would embody the risk envisioned. Its innermost vocation seems to be to keep in the running and to be part of the racket” (Fanon 1578). however. On the contrary. Al-Sayyid Ahmed.

Al-Sayyid understands that his complacency requires serious reconsideration. develops towards a more revolutionary stance as the narrative unfolds. The narrative begins at a moment when the state authority. no matter how grievous. the father in Palace Walk is the source of security and stability and as such he acquires respect and admiration based on filial adoration and devotion. Likewise. security. He realizes that his carefully calculated prudence bears little fruit when he. He was innocent. is weakened. In an episode that echoes the sudden arrest and exile of Sa'd and his colleagues. Al-Sayyid is driven to an unknown destination under the threat of arms in the middle of a dark night: These men were innocent. with the tribe and the large family replacing the authority of the state in the consciousness of the people (Beshara). but towards the national issue itself. He was not even young…Were they going to arrest members of the general public after arresting the leaders? (444) Al-Sayyid realizes that the imperial power does not discriminate between leaders and laymen: all are equally humiliated and endangered. In fact Al-Sayyid is the character that undergoes the most significant change of attitudes. a typical community reaction to such circumstances is to resort to the security of the smaller community units. not his son. For the first time people saw a leader who was one of them and who infused their lives with security and trust. Al-Aqqad argues 31 . even if it is the authority of the invader. So why had they been captured? What special reason could there be for taking him captive? He was not one of the revolutionaries and was not involved in politics. with the head acting the practical ruler. Taking into consideration the Egyptian psychological profile which usually distrusts and avoids direct involvement with formal authorities. Al-Sayyid's manner of leadership triggers an indiscriminate loyalty inspired by dependence and need for protection. is exposed to a dangerous confrontation with British occupying troops. Hearing of the burnings of entire villages and of women being raped. nevertheless. as a consequence of the long occupation. Similarly.Theory in Action Al-Sayyid. as well as the responsibility for the protection of children from any harm. a passive subjugation which finds "no disgrace in yielding to authority" (Al-Aqqad 26). not only towards his sons and daughters. Mahfouz recognizes that the family replaces the state as the actual political and social unit. Obviously. The provision for protection eclipses any personal lacking. that was the dominant impression people had of Nasser. Mahfouz acknowledges that the father's basic credentials stem from the ability to provide the family with peace.

Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad that “family. respectable. as when he goes to work or to his evening outings with his friends. Family is the source of the Egyptian's social mentality” (Al. the mere fact of his presence in the house. for the Egyptians. This attitude leads directly to a consideration of the significance of the absence of the father in the novel. security and sense of protection she overwhelmingly feels in his presence: “Her mind was never completely at rest until her husband returned. a hiatus of personal freedom away from the oppressive father's control. Family gatherings that are “extremely taxing”(19) when the father is around. Mahfouz distinguishes two aspects of this absence: temporary and permanent. even if stirred by different needs. is the strongest social bond. They would cluster under their mother's wing with love and all embracing affection. His perplexity over the contradiction of being severely chastised for cheating on his wife by a father who does virtually the same thing is eventually overcome by an insight. It is by far stronger than any political commitment or obligation to authority. Ameena. the obedient wife. whether awake or asleep. Then it did not matter whether the doors were open or locked. The traditional afternoon coffee is another occasion for such a relaxed atmosphere.Aqqad 29-30). the neighbors next door whose father has been an invalid for years. awaits the return of her husband. the lamp burning brightly or extinguished” (4). Yaseen experiences very much the same dependence. From the very first lines of the novel. Middle class ethical thought presupposes that chaos is the natural consequence of the disappearance of the father figure. Indeed. Nevertheless this comfort is founded on the assumption that the father is to return. When the father's absence is temporary. and charismatic father. which is that his type needs the protection of that father who surpasses him in his discretion and charisma: “[…] his father seemed like a trench at the front lines that the enemy would have to storm across first before reaching him” (414). the fate of Yaseen's mother (Al-Sayyid's first wife and present di32 . Troubles in the family of Mariam. The very way they sat leaning back with their legs folded under them showed how free and relaxed they felt” (52). was enough to make her feel secure. The father is off to work and there is an opportunity for them “to enjoy being together as a family and to have a pleasant chat. the family considers it an occasion of relaxation and carefree comfort. the affluent. She has a firmly held conviction that enduring her husband’s debauchery and tyranny is of little consequence when compared with the peace. it becomes apparent that the family cannot do without its head. The narrative moves developmentally from the former sense of absence to the latter. become a time for comfortable chatting during which they are at liberty to “disclose and air secrets”(29) while he is away.

the demonstrators or the British soldiers. are incidents in which the family becomes vulnerable to moral degeneration. The episode of the father rejecting the suitor. whether conscious or not. expresses his belief in the futility of resistance: “It's impossible 33 .This belief of hers. meekly and peacefully. effectively illustrates the process of transformation which the members of the household undergo in order to conform to. his verdict had become lodged in the depths of her soul…It was as though this ‘no’ were one of the processes of nature.. seeing that the British “embody all the perfections of the human race” (395) and Kamal tenaciously refuses to stop visiting the camps of British soldiers besieging their quarter. her son: In her eyes. and the experimental episode of Al-Sayyid's own family when he leaves temporarily on a short trip to Port Said. not to mention Yaseen's intentions. and be satisfied with.Theory in Action vorcee). The expulsion of the English from Egypt seemed easier than persuading her of the necessity of expelling them or inducing her to hate them… She remarks quite simply. son? Aren’t they peopling like us with sons and mothers?” (479) Yassen is willing to co-exist. nor realize a link between their stability and freedom of their country and their household. The members of Al-Sayyid's family are too meek to protest against occupation. The Sheikh of the mosque. like the alteration of night and day. Yaseen's mother is entangled in a pity affair and shameful marriages while Ameena falls down and breaks her shoulder once she mingles with the crowd. they find no justification or good prospect for the revolution. This is true for other characters not directly related to Al-Sayyid's household. So Zainab exclaims “If he (Sa'd) had lived the way God's children should. Ameena can only think of one person. Aisha. or actual physical danger: Mariam and her mother are morally unscrupulous and are receptive of the shabby flirtation of Al-Sayyid and the English soldiers. the nation was not worth the clippings from his fingernail. no one would have harmed him in any manner” (364). Undisputed obedience is the second outcome of the father's form of leadership. The danger lies in this attitude transforming into a public trait promoting defeatism and apathy. with his strong religious and moral effect. “why do you despise them. worked to terminate everything. Yet utter subjugation leads to a chronic ennui in reaction to aggression. In a very significant scene he is unable to determine the winner of his war game. and terminated it was” (236). manipulation. his decrees: “When her father had said no.

even with the declaration of truce. That is the main point of difference between the perspectives of AlSayyid Ahmed and his son Fahmy. He laments the fact that his family is unable to interact with the changes taking place in the country: “Minding only daily affairs (The mother was making bread) God forbid that anything should distract her from preparing the meals. In the mosque episode where the three of them. Yielding to foes of the family becomes in this context a “real shame” (Al. “He could rebel against the English and defy their bullets almost every day.Aqqad 29-30). Fahmy saw his father in an alarming situation. He was so outraged that he was oblivious to the danger engulfing them. and Fahmy. washing the clothes. literally and figuratively. the father and the occupation stand at opposite ends. Fahmy comes fiercely to his father's defense: “for the first time in his life. Yassen. but he is also the only one who is capable of protecting that father from assault. Fahmy shouted at the man threateningly. filial emotion towards his own father and towards Sa'd as a father of Egyptians. Actually. While Fahmy has strong family ties with advocates for national struggle. indeed between Fahmy and the rest of his family members. Fahmy’s beloved neighbor. ‘Don’t dare come a step closer’” (417). the father. Parallel to this pattern Mahfouz refers to another family sentiment of defiance in the face of danger once it is conceived that there is animosity directed against the household. to shake them up. It is significant that this episode takes place just before the father-son confrontation. the flirting of soldiers with Mariam. There certainly would be fighting and we would lose” (327). but the Eng34 . Fahmy is able to realize that dependent loyalty would breed an absence of public consciousness and an indifference to the causes of the larger family of the community. Unlike them he feels an imminent threat might befall them if the head of the family is permanently absent: “Who among them cared what was happening nowadays? Who among them was concerned whether Sa’d was in Egypt or in exile and whether the English left or stayed? He felt estranged from these people” (459). He is the only child that dares to enter into dialogue with his father over the revolution. or cleaning the furnishings” (360).Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad that the English will leave Egypt. thus denying any resentment of the father on the part of the son. confront the hostility of fanatic nationalists who accused Yaseen of cooperation with the British. and finally the killing of Fahmy himself. he is frustrated by the total passiveness of his own family members who insist on living in the shadow of the events shaking the country: it requires the arbitrary arrest of the father by the British soldiers. Fahmy embodies the concept of positive. it is Fahmy more than anyone else in the family who perceives clearly that.

Fahmy believes that the absence of such a figure is “a great event (that) would rock all the Egyptians” (361) who should look for “a new world. while his father was his father. “The Orient. in the father's absence. Egyptians authorized Sa'd as representative of its demands for independence. as a father figure in possession of firmness and nobility. resolves Fahmy's ambivalence towards his real father. Edward Said refers to a similar issue as he discusses the Western perception of the orient.” He was gruff with them…advising them to return to their lessons and leave politics to their fathers. particularly those of authority figures”(Metzger x). Paula Gunn Allen remarks that western assumptions about the traditions of other cultures often “dislocate the significance of the tale and alter its ideational context…leav[ing] certain elements confusing. to form judgments and make choices that may be contrary to situational cues. The analogy is clearly drawn here between the father's status in the Egyptian family and the mentality behind the 1919 revolution.Theory in Action lish were a frightening and hated enemy. In one of the first demonstration scenes in Palace Walk this relationship is evident and explicit: They greeted him with a single chant: “Down with the Protectorate. This scene of final reconciliation underscores that interpretations of this novel which equate the father’s authority with that of the occupation are groundless. stand firm: “Has the grand old man learned that his sacrifice has not been in vain?” (374). he acted as the guardian of the nation's honor and preserver of its existence. The students are acting in their duty as sons. annoying or unclear” (Allen 2124). They simply attempt to impose Western cultural codes upon a totally different context. At that point one of them protested: “Our fathers have been imprisoned. a new people” (326). As Fahmy recalls the details of the demonstrations he wishes that they behave as “dutiful sons” who. We won't study law in a land where law is trampled underfoot” (358). 35 . a new nation. Students see in Sa'd an incarnation of what social sciences term “transformative morality: the ability to accept the consequences of one's decisions. Fahmy never doubts that his father’s opposition to his participation in the demonstrations is motivated by fatherly sentiments as well as a heritage of a long record of middle class prudence and reluctance to get involved in politics. Sa'd. a new home.” he explains. To put it in family terms. A frightening and beloved man”( 424). That is why Fahmy is resolute to reconcile with his father and seek his forgiveness as soon as he learns of the news of the return of Sa’d from exile.

"Cairo Between Reality and Imagination in Naguib Mahfouz's Trilogy. The remarks of Allen and Said strike a note fit to qualify certain Western literary interpretations of the father figure in Mahfouz's Palace Walk. 1975. and regard personal freedom as taking precedence to communal obligations. Zaghloul and Nasser. Sa'd Zaghloul: A Biography and a Greeting. Gamal. 1998. The narrative develops through a gradual transformation. like Al-Sayyid.Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad “was orientalized not only because it was discovered to be oriental…but because it submitted to being made oriental” (Said 1994). ‫الرجل والقمة: بحوث دراسات‬ Ed. Cairo: General Egyptian Book Authority. Mahfouz equates such a relationship to the attitudes the people held towards the leaders of the 1919 and 1952 revolutions respectively. Nasser. The crowd had to give up reluctance and prudence and fight for the return of the father of the nation. from the ambivalence of Nasser’s rule to the consistency of Zaghloul's form of leadership. 1989. Naguib Mahfouz: Pages of his Memoirs and Reading of his Oeuvre and Biography." The Man and the Summit: Research Papers and Studies. Rather than equating the father-family relationship in the novel with the Egyptian-British conflict. These interpretations are based on value assumptions that favor the individual over the group. and the Egyptians experienced the humiliation of national orphanage and a serious threat to their security and order. on the other hand. Fadel Al Aswad. While both modes of leadership illustrate the vital role played by the father in the struggle against British occupation. was exiled. WORKS CITED Al-Aqqad. Mahfouz explores the complex synthesis of idolizing and subjugation as the major reactions to a father whose presence and absence serve as the primary motivation for national uprisings in Cairo. they exhibited different perceptions of the role of the people. Zaghloul. ‫سعد زغلول: سيرة‬ ‫ وتحية‬Cairo: Dar Al Shourouk . and the crowds. Ragaah. but it was a support limited to a dependent position of backing his decisions and blessing his steps. and he did. enjoyed the overwhelming support of the people. ‫ نجيب محفوظ : صفحات من مذكراته وقراءة في اعماله وسيرة حياته‬Cairo: Al Ahram. 36 . Mahfouz anticipated that one day Nasser might reach a similar conclusion. Palace Walk is Mahfouz's objective correlative to the relationship between Egyptian revolutionary leaders. That hardship culminated in the father's realization of the need for the sons' reciprocal family sense of duty and protection. The people relied heavily on Nasser as their sole source of security and order. Al-Ghitany. both as microcosm and macrocosm. They are therefore unable to appreciate the complex repertoire of values associated with such a figure. Al -Naqqash. Abbas Mahmoud.

Edward. Naguib Mahfouz's Trilogy. 1965.Theory in Action AL. 2001. Naguib. Jaque. ‫ أمام العرش‬Cairo: Misr Bookshop. Symbol and Symbolism in Naguib Mahfouz's Work. Paula Gunn. Frantz. Azmy. New York: Norton. George. ‫ لمصر. The Sacred Hoop." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Kenny. Ibraheem's "Social Mobility in Naguib Mahfouz's Vision". A. Trans. Constance Farrington. "History"[Can the Subaltern Speak?]: A Critique of Postcolonial Reason. Ed. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press. _____. Trans. 1990. Pannayiotis J. Martin's Press. ال لعبد الناصر‬Cairo: Al Ahram Center for Translation and Publication. For Egypt. "Fiction: In History and Out" The Hudson Review. Spivak. ‫ ھموم مصر وأزمة المفكرين الجدد‬Ed. Ed. "Kochinnenuko in Academe: Three approaches to interpret a Keres Indian Tale". _____. Constance Farrington. Oct 1930: 1468.A. Abdel Aazeem. Ramadan. not for Nasser. "Naguib Mahfouz as a National and Political Historian" qt. Vatikiotis. February 2009." New Magazine 1. ‫ ثورة 32 يوليو، 2591 ، بين ثورات العالم‬Cairo: Dar Al Fekr al Araby. Homi. New York: Norton. Constance Farrington. Palace Walk (1956). Soliman Mohamed. _____. "Gaza and the Arab Regimes. 1994. 1976. 1987. in M. Trans. 37 .Vincent Leitch. 1991: 491-99. Beshara. 1978." TV Panel . S. Heikal. Gayatri C. Jomier. Said. "Orientalism. Boston: Beacon Press. Allen." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Nazmy Luka. ‫بين القصرين‬Trans. Kearns. Ed." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Mohamed Hassanein. Location of Culture. K. William Maynard Hutchins and Olive E. London: St. Tamawii. 2001:1575. "The Wretched of the Earth. Cairo: Miser Publishers. New York: Routledge. 2001. ‫عن الشباب والحرية‬Cairo: Al Dar Al Maserya Al-Lebnania. 1994. Bhabha. Nasser and his Generation. "Dying and Generated Convictions. Mahfouz. Trans. ‫الرمز والرمزية في أدب‬ ‫ نجيب محفوظ‬Kuwait: Modern Publishers. Fanon.Vincent Leitch. 1990. 1966.Shatty. On Youth and Freedom. Abdellah. The 23rd Revolution 1952 amongst the World Revolutions. Cairo: Al Jeel Center for New Social Studies.Vincent Leitch. 2001: 2193. Egypt's Worries and the Crisis of the New Intellectuals. Before the Crown. 44. 1992. New York: Norton. Al Jazeera.

New Essays for a New Century Jay Corwin Shusaku Endo: from the Silence of the East to the Silence of God Rodica Grigore Homage to a Father: Family Tradition and Revolution(s) in Palace Walk Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad Liberation through the Acceptance of Nature and Technology in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower Melanie A. Marotta Eliade’s Romanian Past: Religion and Politics Mihaela Gligor American Jeremiads: The Winter of Our Discontent and Into The Woods Michael J. Meyer Crossing the Genre Divide: Women and Ethics in the Detective Novels of Dorothy L. Schulenburg Book Reviews 51 75 96 107 125+ Journal of the Transformative Studies Institute . Sayers Suzie Remilien Close Encounters of the Third (Space) Kind: La guaracha del Macho Camacho and the City as Site of Unavoidable Contact Chris T.Volume 3 Number 1 January 2010 Theory In Action GUEST EDITOR: JAY CORWIN IN THIS ISSUE 1 7 24 38 Introduction.

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New Essays for a New Century Jay Corwin Shusaku Endo: from the Silence of the East to the Silence of God Rodica Grigore Homage to a Father: Family Tradition and Revolution(s) in Palace Walk Fadwa Mahmoud Hassan Gad Liberation through the Acceptance of Nature and Technology in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower Melanie A. $17. Sayers Suzie Remilien Close Encounters of the Third (Space) Kind: La guaracha del Macho Camacho and the City as Site of Unavoidable Contact Chris T. 3.GUEST EDITOR JAY CORWIN CONTENTS Vol.95 (paper). Meyer Crossing the Genre Divide: Women and Ethics in the Detective Novels of Dorothy L. 1 1 7 24 Introduction. No. ISBN 978-1594517228 John Asimakopoulos January 2010 38 51 75 96 107 125 . Schulenburg Book Review: Rebuild America: Solving the Economic Crisis through Civic Works by Scott Myers-Lipton. 160. Paradigm Publishers. Marotta Eliade’s Romanian Past: Religion and Politics Mihaela Gligor American Jeremiads: The Winter of Our Discontent and Into The Woods Michael J. Pp. 2009.

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AFL-CIO “Corey Dolgon’s “singing lecture” is a hit. Professor of Sociology. labor. More info @ www. I encourage other unions to add Corey's talents and expertise to their agendas. of Louisville Labor-Management Center “Corey’s wonderful voice. [The lecture] made the period come alive for me. President. Folksinger & Sociologist Corey Dolgon. Professor of Sociology.S. “I learned about the importance and power of strikes and labor unions. very informative. Please contact Corey for scheduling a lecture or receiving a sample CD at 617-298-0388 or at cdolgon@worcester. He is a long-time labor activist and community organizer and has used folk songs to build solidarity on the line and engage students in the classroom. and inspiring. From union retirees to active union members. a Ph. labor.” --Chris Dale.In Search of One Big Union: A Singing Lecture by Corey Dolgon.” --Kathleen Odell Korgen.D in American Culture and Sociology Professor has been performing “singing lectures” for almost a decade. I never knew there were songs about them.” --John Ralston. U. United American Nurses.” --Stonehill College student “Corey’s work weaves together a coherent and accessible narrative about labor struggles with a tour de force of labor songs that moves audiences. and great knowledge about folksongs. from academics to management. Corey’s words and music bring both history and theory to life.edu.com . all received a good time and good learning. New England College “Corey's music added tremendous spirit to our National Labor Assembly. This singing lecture covers labor history from a multicultural perspective and examines the function of folk songs in workers’ lives. labor movement. abundant energy.” --Cheryl Johnson. and organizing. Focusing on the role that folksongs play in the U.coreydolgon. and other social movements were entertaining. William Patterson U.

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