Page |1Philippine Normal UniversityCollege of Languages, Linguistics and LiteratureDepartment of Languages, Bilingual Educ...
Page |2        She returned to England in 1973 to study for a doctorate in linguistics at Lancaster University. Shehas wri...
Page |3Sharif Basha Al-Baroudi- Landowner and Notable and member of the Consultative Legislative Counciland a lawyer by pr...
Page |4Jasmine Cabot- Mother of Isabel Parkman, also a descendant of Anna Winterbourne and Sharif Basha. Sheis the daughte...
Page |5Arwa Salih- Omar‟s friend who committed suicide because she thought that everything she is trying to fightfor is us...
Page |6        government to his subjects. In 1900, Kamil founded the newspaper Al-Liwa ("The Standard") as a        platf...
Page |7C. Plota.   The Past           After ten months of grieving over the death of her husband, Anna Winterbourne decide...
Page |8different countries and continents. Sharif al-Baroudi also focused his time with his family especially with hisdaug...
Page |9of them decided to go back to the old museum and talk to the old sheikh. But they are astonished to findout that th...
P a g e | 10             Towards the end of the novel, Amal is expecting that „Omar, Isabel, baby Sharif and she will lead...
P a g e | 11          Because of this, Egyptians, from the past up to the present, are still ignorant of what is reallyhap...
P a g e | 12Basha lost his drive to continue - it is as if all of their actions against the colonizers were futile; resist...
P a g e | 13the marriage; she lost her most loyal attendant, Emily; she couldn‟t visit her motherland although she missesi...
P a g e | 14comfort from these slogans. Even the common Egyptian people don‟t know the existence of these “talkingintellec...
P a g e | 15and re-evaluates the colonial period in the Middle East. Amal finds herself sympathizing with AnnaWinterbourne...
P a g e | 16Isis to Amals father. The panel of the baby Horus was lost, but magically reappears in Isabels bag at theend o...
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Traversing the historical and cross cultural boundaries in ahdaf souief's the map of love

  1. 1. Page |1Philippine Normal UniversityCollege of Languages, Linguistics and LiteratureDepartment of Languages, Bilingual Education and LiteratureSubject: Litt 505 Literature of Emerging CountriesProfessor: Dr. Ma. Antoinette C. MontealegreNovel: The Map of Love by Ahdaf SoueifDiscussants: Manuel, Jesullyna C. Magbanua, Ma. Carmela B. M. A. Ed LiteratureSeptember 25, 2010 TRAVERSING THE HISTORICAL AND CROSS CULTURAL BOUNDARIES IN AHDAF SOUEIF’S THE MAP OF LOVEI. Introduction “It is very hard not to feel caught up in a terrible time of brutality and we are helpless to do anything but wait for history to run its course.” – Anna and Amal, The Map of Love p. 513 Love conquers all. Love is a wonderful feeling. Love heals all wounds. These are just some of theclichés about love. But what can we say about love amidst the harshness and brutality of life? Can love reallyconquer all? Does love really heal all wounds? What is so wonderful about love if one has to sacrifice to thepoint of giving up one‟s self or personality? In The Map of Love, Ahdaf Soueif weaves an account of the consequences of British imperialismand the fierce political battles of the Egyptian Nationalists through the gorgeously romantic love story ofAnna Winterbourne and Sharif al-Baroudi. Told through the voice of Amal, Sharif‟s grandniece, Anna andSharif‟s story is echoed by the love affair between Isabel, their American great-granddaughter, and Omar,Amal‟s brother, set against the continuing political turmoil of the Middle East.II. The Author: Ahdaf SoueifA. Life Ahdaf Soueif was born in Egypt in 1950, but between the ages of four andeight she lived in England while her mother studied for her PhD at LondonUniversity. She learned to read from Little Grey Rabbit and English comics. She hastaught at Cairo University and the University of King Seoud.Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  2. 2. Page |2 She returned to England in 1973 to study for a doctorate in linguistics at Lancaster University. Shehas written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including the Sunday Telegraph, the TLS andthe Washington Post. Her first book Aisha was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Her most recentnovel is The Map of Love, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999. Soueif writes primarily inEnglish, but her Arabic-speaking readers say they can hear the Arabic through the English. Shetranslated Mourid Barghoutis I Saw Ramallah (with a foreword by Edward Said) from Arabic into English. In 2007, Soueif was one of more than 100 artists and writers who signed an open letter initiatedby Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism and the South West Asian, North African Bay Area Queers(SWANABAQ) and calling on the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival "to honor calls for aninternational boycott of Israeli political and cultural institutions, by discontinuing Israeli consulatesponsorship of the LGBT film festival and not cosponsoring events with the Israeli consulate."B. Works Her debut novel, In the Eye of the Sun (1993), set in Egypt and England, recounts the maturing ofAsya, a beautiful Egyptian who, by her own admission, "feels more comfortable with art than with life." Hersecond novel The Map of Love (1999) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, has been translated into21 languages and sold over a million copies. She has also published two works of short stories, Aisha (1983)and Sandpiper (1996) - a selection from which was combined in the collection I Think Of You in 2007,and Stories Of Ourselves in 2010. Along with in-depth and sensitive readings of Egyptian history and politics, Soueif also writes aboutPalestinians in her fiction and non-fiction. A shorter version of "Under the Gun: A Palestinian Journey"was originally published in The Guardian and then printed in full in Soueifs recent collection ofessays, Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground (2004) and she wrote the introduction to theNYRBs reprint of Jean Genets Prisoner of Love. In 2008 she initiated the first Palestine Festival ofLiterature.III. The Text: The Map of LoveA. CharactersAnna Winterbourne- The widow of Edward Winterbourne. She became fascinated with Egypt through thestories narrated by her father-in-law, Sir Charles. She visited Egypt as a balm for her sadness when Edwarddied. There she met and fell in love with Sharif Basha Al- Baroudi. When she married Sharif Basha, shebecame outcast among English and the British in Egypt.Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  3. 3. Page |3Sharif Basha Al-Baroudi- Landowner and Notable and member of the Consultative Legislative Counciland a lawyer by profession. He fell in love and married Anna Winterbourne despite the Lord Cromer andother Anna‟s kinsmen objection. He is active in Politics. He adheres education for women and education forthe common people by opening The School of Arts. He has no political allegiance. When he was offered aposition in the Cabinet he declines. He was assassinated and killed by an unknown group.Sir Charles Winterbourne- Father in Law of Anna and father of Edward Winterbourne. He is a diplomatactive in public life. The letters of Anna that narrated the story were addressed to Sir Charles. He is also theone who arranges the visit of Anna to Egypt.Edward Winterbourne- husband of Anna. He went to war in Soudan and when he went home he was sodepressed. He died on March 20, 1899.Caroline Bourke- Friend of Anna. Although her character is not fully developed in the story, some of theletters to which the story is narrated were addressed to her. When Edward was sick and Anna is still inEngland, she was the one who console Anna and gives her news about what is happening around them(politically).Emily- Anna‟s loyal attendant. She joined Anna in visiting Egypt. Emily is not fascinated with Egypt asAnna was, she always wanted to go back to England. And when Anna married Sharif Basha Al- Baroudi, sheleft Anna and went back to England. Despite being with Anna for so long, she cannot bear to stay in Egyptand be with an Egyptian household and be an outcast in the English society.Isabel Parkman- An American divorcee, who found the trunk load of letters of Anna Winterbourne. Shewent to Omar Al-Ghamrawi for help in deciphering the letter, but Omar sent her to his sister Amal.Unknowingly, Isabel Parkman is actually a descendant of Anna Winterbourne and Sharif Basha Al- Baroudiand she was the cousin Amal and Omar. She fell in love with Omar.Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  4. 4. Page |4Jasmine Cabot- Mother of Isabel Parkman, also a descendant of Anna Winterbourne and Sharif Basha. Sheis the daughter of Nur-Al-Haya. In the opening of the story, Jasmine is already old and is suffering fromAlzheimer. When she got sick, Isabel, found the trunk load full of letters in her house. For a short period oftime when she was younger she had a relationship with Omar. She died in the end of the story.Amal – The sister of Omar, and a descendant of the sister of Sharif Basha, Layla. The story of AnnaWinterbourne is narrated through Amal. She was the one who deciphers and translate the letters. She livesin Egypt. She an Isabel instantly became friends, a reminiscent of the friendship of Anna and Layla. She hasproblem with keeping the School open in Minya.Omar- Brother of Amal. He is a career pianist, conductor, and writer. He is also active in politics. He wroteseveral books like The Politics of Culture 1992, A State of Terror 1994, Borders and Refuge in 1996. He fell in love,first with Isabel‟s mother, Jasmine, then in the end of the story, he had a relationship with Isabel. He lives inAmerica.Nur Al-Haya- The name literally means “Light of My Life.” The daughter of Sharif Basha and Anna. Shewas still young when her father was murdered. She grew up in England.Zeinab al-Ghamrawi- Mother of Sharif Basha Al-Baroudi. She accepted Anna as a part of the family.Although at the beginning she was very hesitant in the prospect of Sharif Basha marrying an Englishwoman, because of the consequences it entails to both Sharif and Anna. She even reminded Sharif of whatAnna will lose in marrying him. But in the end, she also accepted and loved Anna as a true daughter.Layla- The sister of Sharif Al-Baroudi. Her husband is Husni. At the instant she saw Anna, when she wasbrought by her kidnapper in Sharif Basha‟s house, a deep friendship blossomed between them. A part of thenovel is written also based on her memoir. She narrated some incidents in the novel concerning her brotherand what happened to Anna when her brother was murdered.Husni al-Ghamrawi- The husband of Anna. He studied law in Paris. He was arrested by the British duringa peaceful demonstration. Because of his arrest, some young radicals wanted to retaliate for the jailing ofHusni Al-Ghamrawi by kidnapping Anna.Ahmad Al- Ghamrawi- son of Layla and Husni.Tareq- Friend of Amal who pulled many strings to help her in many tight spots she is in. He uses hisconnection in order to help Amal reopen the school. He also help her in asking for the release of someTawasi villagers who were imprisoned because they were suspected of having something to do with thebombing incident in Luxor. In the end, he fell in love with Amal. He is very rich and he is an example of aman who makes use of commercialism in order to prosper.Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  5. 5. Page |5Arwa Salih- Omar‟s friend who committed suicide because she thought that everything she is trying to fightfor is useless.Mabrouka- The Ethiopian servant of Zeinab Al- Ghamrawi. She is a former slave, when slavery wasabolished, she opted to stay with the family of Zeinab because of the strong bond of friendship that formsbetween them.HISTORICAL FIGURES USED IN THE TEXT. 1. Lord Cromer- in the novel, Lord Cromer is the head of the British Agency. He was described by Soueif in her novel as: Lord Cromer, is a large commanding man, with sad hooded eyes and thinning white hair. He is a man of very decided opinions, to which the conversation in his presence always defers. I suspect you would not be able to work with him for long if you did not subscribe wholeheartedly to his views (p. 70). Towards the end of the novel, he was replaced because of the situation that happened in the village Denshwai. Some English officers went to go shooting pigeons in the village. They broke the law by not awaiting for the permission of the Umdah. Sheik Mafouz, one of the villagers ask the officers to do their shooting far from the villages homes.They did not listen, then a fire started. The origin of the fire is said to be from theofficers shooting. Because of this two villagers attacked the officers and a riot ensued. A British officer died.Some of the villagers were sentence to die a humiliating death. Because of this incident, the notablescomplained and ask for the removal of Lord Cromer in Egypt.Historically, Lord Cromer really is Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, a British statesman, diplomat andcolonial administrator. He was British controller-general in Egypt during 1879, part of the internationalControl which oversaw Egyptian finances after the khedives mismanagement, and during the Britishoccupation prompted by the Urabi revolt, agent and consul-general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907. Far fromthe centre of the Empire, Cromer ran the territory with great drive and his effective governance balkedBritish wishes to withdraw from Egypt. “Lord Cromer is a patriot and he serves his country well. We understand that. Only he should not pretend that he is serving Egypt.” (Layla, p. 248) 2. Mustafa Kamel- in the novel is a patriot, absolutely. He is rousing people against Occupation. He is establishing schools. He is young, fiery and a good rhetorician. He is also close to the Sultan. He does not wish the Turkish rule in Egypt to end. And he invests too much trust in French. He thinks that because they are the traditional enemies of Britain, they will stand by Egypt. Despite these characteristics, Sharif Basha is not comfortable with him. In history, Mustafa Kamil is an Egyptian journalist and political figure. The son of an Egyptian army officer, Mustafa Kamil was trained as a lawyer at the French law school in Cairo and the Law Faculty at the University of Toulouse in France. He began his career as an Egyptian nationalist by collaborating with the French, the Ottoman sultan, and Khedive Abbas Hilmi II. As he matured, however, he gradually grew more independent of outside backers and appealed mainly to the Egyptian people to demand the withdrawal of the British army of occupation from Egypt. He also called on Khedive Abbas to grant constitutionalTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  6. 6. Page |6 government to his subjects. In 1900, Kamil founded the newspaper Al-Liwa ("The Standard") as a platform for his views and utilized his skill as both a journalist and lawyer. He also founded a boys school open to Egyptian Muslims, Christians, and Jews. 3. Sheik Muhammad Abdu- a friend of Sharif Basha. He is a deeply religious man. He is the one who conducted the marriage between Anna and Sharif Basha. He is also a great influence among the Egyptian intellectuals and notables. In history, Muhammad Abdu was an Egyptian jurist, religious scholar and liberal reformer, regarded as the founder of Islamic Modernism. A recent book titled "Islam and Liberty" regarded Muhammad Abduh as the founder of the so-called Neo-Mutazilism. 4. Hafiz Ibrahim- The famous poet. He is also a poet in the novel. 5. Qasim Amin- author of the controversial book The Liberation of Women, who argues his case in the novel at a gathering of prominent Egyptian intellectuals at Sharifs house. B. Settings The novel happened in four different places. Although the plot of the novel is divided into the past and the present, most actions both in the past and in the present happened in Egypt. 1. Cairo (present and past) - this is where Amal lives and where she started to put together the story of Anna though her journal. - This is also where Anna and Shariff Pasha live during their marriage. Many parts of the novel especially in the story of Anna happen here. 2. Tawasi -This is where the school of Sharif Basha was established. In the present day, Amal also had a problem in reopening the school. 3. New York- A part of the story happens here. This is where Isabel Parkman lives and where she met Omar Al-Ghamrawi. She also found the trunk full of Anna‟s letter. 4. England- this is where Anna formerly lives together with her first husband Edward Winterbourne. In the end of the novel, this is also the place where she takes refuge when Sharif Basha died. The novel is narrated with the backdrop of political turmoil both in the past and in the present. Partof the novels point in juxtaposing early-twentieth-century British imperial rule with the corrupt Mubarakregime is to underscore the untenable position in which Egyptian activist intellectuals find themselves:caught between ineffective and increasingly reactionary nationalist movements and the devastatinginterventions of wealthy Western powers.Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  7. 7. Page |7C. Plota. The Past After ten months of grieving over the death of her husband, Anna Winterbourne decided to goto Egypt and start anew in a place she fondly heard from Sir Charles, her late husband‟s father. Sir Charlesopened Anna‟s political mind especially when her husband died without a proper cause of being a soldiersent in Soudan. Through the connection of Sir Charles, she was welcomed and easily accepted by her fellowEnglishmen settling in Egypt. During her stay in Alexandria and Cairo, she was able to meet a lot ofinfluential Englishmen that could either help in stopping the colonization of the British Empire orstrengthen and speed up the colonization. When Anna, disguised as a young Englishman, decided to travel around the wondrous sight ofEgypt in Sinai, she was mistakenly abducted by two Arabs. Through this incident, Anna met the al-Baroudifamily with whom her political insights and sense of justice have been thoroughly developed and nourished.With the strong political lineage of the al-Baroudi, Anna met a lot of influential Egyptians who wanted tobreak free from the Imperial power, the Ottoman Turks, and the Zionists. She was greatly influenced on“The Question of Women”, wherein the Egyptian women‟s rights about education and the crucial decisionof keeping or taking out the veil are really questioned. As the political struggles happen, love also blooms between the two separate worlds of theEgyptians and the Englishmen. It was a strong love-at-first-sight for Anna. She was greatly drawn to thecharisma and political air of Sharif al-Baroudi, the brother of Layla and a great patriotic lawyer. Albeit SharifBasha also felt the same towards her, their love couldn‟t be materialized for there were too many things toconsider, and too many things to sacrifice about their circumstances. When Anna was about to give up ontheir love by going back home to London, Sharif Basha had mustered all his courage to confess and topropose to her. Thus, they were married thrice by the end of 1901. Through their relationship, Anna had to sacrifice a lot just to be with Sharif. She gave up almostmore than half of her life just to be with the Egyptian. She was an “outcast” from her motherland, most ofher English friends rejected her, even her most loyal attendant, Emily, deserted her, she could never go backto England for she was afraid that her husband might be discriminated, and even the Egyptian communitycould not even accept her totally for she still belongs to the Empire that they were against with. All in all,Anna was placed in a situation wherein she could not be totally accepted as she is. Thus, Sharif, knowingwhat Anna had to go through, tried his best to compensate everything. Whatever he thought that wouldmake Anna happy and contented; he would definitely do or give it. As time moved on with the marriage of Anna and Sharif al-Baroudi, intense political turmoil alsosurged throughout Egypt. A lot of political movements and organizations had been put up against thecolonizers and, at the same time, Egypt also had to face internal struggles within her own people. Theformer united alliance of Notable Egyptians suddenly broke off and made their own movements andorganizations, making their solidified goal to drive out the colonizers into even helping them enter theircountry easier since no one has been strong enough to guard Egypt. When Mustafa Kamel and other Notable Egyptians formed their own propagandas, Sharif al-Baroudi chose not to be involved in any propaganda. Hence, he worked alone - propagated his ownthoughts through the aide of Anna and Mr. Barrington by publishing his articles in different languages inTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  8. 8. Page |8different countries and continents. Sharif al-Baroudi also focused his time with his family especially with hisdaughter, Nur al-Hayah, the light of his life. With this digression, Sharif Basha slowly lost his drive toprotect Egypt in the hands of the colonizers. In the end, when he decided to settle for a normal life with hisfamily, he was assassinated. His assassination was supposed to be a catalyst for a war between Egypt and hercolonizers but he gravely insisted upon his last words that no one should ever use his death to initiate a war.After the death of Sharif al-Baroudi, Anna must go back to England, just like what they promised on theirmarriage contracts. Although Anna didn‟t want to go back home, she knew that there was no proper placefor her and her daughter in Egypt. Anna left behind Layla and her family but they continued theircommunication thru letters. And the woven cloth that Anna has been working on for several months wastorn into three pieces by Mabrouka, the attendant of Zeinab al-Ghamrawi. The first piece of cloth was givento Ahmad, the other piece was to be given to Nur, and the last piece of cloth was kept by Mabrouka inwhich nobody in the family knew what happened to it.b. The Present The story opens up with Amal al-Ghamrawi and her retelling of accounts on how she acquired anold trunk that consists of several antiques, journals, newspaper clippings, and letters. By some struck of fate,Amal learned that Isabel Parkman, the owner of the trunk, is her long lost cousin. Amal, being the grand-niece of Sharif al-Baroudi, and Isabel, the great-granddaughter of Anna and Sharif al-Baroudi, decided towork together to analyze and recount the history of their family. Through „Omar al-Ghamrawi, Isabel learned about Amal‟s existence and how great help Amalcould be for her project. „Omar, Amal‟s brother, suggested to Isabel that she should go to Egypt and havehis sister analyze and find the missing links between their families. Isabel did what was suggested, thus, theold wooden trunk was delivered to Amal‟s house in Cairo, Egypt. During Isabel‟s stay in Egypt, Amal realized how similar their circumstances are. Thus, Amallearned how to value the friendship they both share. When Amal had to go to Tawasi to fix the local issuesaffecting the fallaheens in her own land, she brought Isabel with her. On their way to Tawasi, they saw threevery young men, bloodied and tied, being dragged to the police station. They never talked about the incidentuntil they reached Amal‟s house. In her house, Amal learned that the government had ordered to stop theoperation of the school for the teachers are suspected terrorists and they are teaching terrorism to thechildren. Amal couldn‟t do anything to resume the school‟s operation until she seeks the help of her friend,Tareq, a very influential businessman. After issues are solved in Tawasi, Anna and Isabel went back to Cairoand toured the beautiful places that Anna had once traversed. One night, they went to a pub and Amalintroduced Isabel to many politically influential people. The political problems in Egypt are discussed duringtheir stay in the pub. Isabel, being an American, is sometimes criticized but these criticisms helped Isabel tobe aware of what is really happening in the world. On the last few days of Isabel‟s stay in Cairo, she went alone to tour an old museum. In themuseum, she discovered an abandoned room with a run-down door and there she went in. She found ablind sheikh who weaves fabric and his assistant who smells a lot like orange. In this room, all her doubtsabout her love for „Omar have been cast out and she realized that she must confront him and do whatever ittakes for her love to be reciprocated. Before she goes home, the sheikh‟s assistant hugged her and she isvery thankful for what they have done to her. The following day, after she retold the incident to Amal, bothTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  9. 9. Page |9of them decided to go back to the old museum and talk to the old sheikh. But they are astonished to findout that the sheikh and his assistant don‟t exist within the museum – that it has been almost a century sincethe museum has its sheikh. Dumbfounded, Isabel went back to America and tries her luck in pursuing her love for „Omar.Meanwhile, Amal decided to go back to Tawasi as soon as she finishes her readings and analysis of Anna‟shistory. But she was accidentally summoned to go back to Tawasi for a group of fallaheens were arrested forbeing suspects for the bombing incident in Luxor. She went immediately to the police station to talk to thepolice officer. The police officer rejected Amal‟s order to release her village men despite her influentiallineage. Desperate and worried, Amal once again seek the help of her friend, Tareq. Tareq promised her thather village men will be released immediately as soon as dawn breaks. The next morning, Amal was sorelieved that her village men came home alive even though they are bloodied and heavily bruised. TheTawasi people are so grateful for what Amal and Tareq had done for them because if not, their fathers,husbands, sons or brothers, might be included to the hundreds of caskets of suspects lined up at thefollowing morning. Amidst the state of political turmoil, Amal has found a new love in the person of Tareq but shecould not materialize her love for him. Because of her previous failed relationship, Amal has lost a great dealof her self-confidence; thus, she could not easily open her heart to Tareq. On the other hand, Isabel haspursued her love to „Omar but gaining his love was also not an easy task. Before Isabel went to Egypt, shevisited her mother, Jasmine, at the asylum. Jasmine, in one of her delusional moments, blurted out her illicitaffair with a young activist. Isabel was taken aback with the sudden implicit confession of her mother butbefore she can ask for more details, Jasmine returned to her solitude until her death. Grief-stricken on hermother‟s death, Isabel seek the comfort of „Omar. The following day, as Isabel recounts the events surrounding her family, „Omar realized thatIsabel‟s mother was his first true love – that he was the man whom Jasmine had an illicit affair with. Moreimportantly, „Omar doubts if there is any chance that he is the father of Isabel since the affair he had withher mother is almost the same year she was conceived. Troubled by this realization, „Omar called up Amaland told her everything. Amal suggested a DNA test to settle any doubts he has but „Omar refused to do so.In the end, „Omar confessed everything to Isabel. Isabel also suggested the idea of taking a DNA test and„Omar also strongly disagreed with this notion. After a few months, Isabel breaks the news to Amal that sheis carrying „Omar‟s child. By the year 1998, Isabel gave birth to Sharif and they are able to go back to Egypt. In her return to Tawasi, Isabel brought with her one of the three pieces of Anna‟s woven cloth.So, Amal and Isabel have tried to place back into one piece the two pieces of cloth but since the last pieceof cloth is still missing, they couldn‟t decipher the whole message of the woven cloth. Upon Isabel‟s returnto Egypt, she was able to examine her bag which was left in Amal‟s house in Cairo. When she looked insideher bag, she surprisingly found the last missing piece of cloth. And the cloth smells like oranges – thefragrance she smelled on the mysterious lady she met in the old museum. Amal and Isabel argued how thelast piece of cloth was placed in her bag. Amal thought that Isabel is delusional or might be playing aroundwith her but Isabel knew that she is not crazy – that she really met the old sheikh and the orange-smellinglady in the old museum. Finally, Amal and Isabel successfully piece together the three pieces of cloth andthey were able to decipher the message, “He brings forth the living from the death”.Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  10. 10. P a g e | 10 Towards the end of the novel, Amal is expecting that „Omar, Isabel, baby Sharif and she will leada common and peaceful life together in Tawasi. But as days passed, Amal didn‟t hear any news from herbrother. Amal is so worried about her brother because it is not „Omar‟s attitude to make her worry – that„Omar always find time to call her and update her on his status. Specially that „Omar is just somewhere inEgypt conducting concerts and talks about the current political issues of Egypt, so he should be with themin Tawasi sooner. Then, Amal had a sudden vision of Anna and Sharif al-Baroudi in the house, their familieshappy together, until her vision shifted to Mabrouka who is weeping but also murmuring something. Amalwas able to understand what she was uttering, “from the dead come the living”, “the branch is cut but the tree remains”,“the precious one goes and the precious one comes”, “the Nile divides and meets again”, and “He brings forth the living fromthe dead”. With these utterances, Amal suddenly realized that life means death – that is, if one is born into theworld, then one should die and be taken out of the world.IV. Analysis: The Aftermaths of ColonialismA. Colonialism is a continuous cycle from the past to the presenta. The Importance of Education The issues faced by the people during Anna‟s time are the same issues being faced by the peoplein Amal‟s time. One of these is the right for education to all people which is still questioned or hindered bythe government – i.e. education that can help people free their selves from slavery; education that canstrengthen their moralities; education that can provide them greater opportunities rather than beingstagnant. During Anna‟s time, education is a way to elevate the status of women in their society for one ofthe women‟s role is to educate their children, but they could not educate their children properly if theythemselves are not educated in the first place. Moreover, education is a way to help the Egyptians be opento the things that are happening in their country. Because they are not properly educated, Egyptians are seengullible to be colonized by other countries. They are ignorant of the things that the colonizers are doing tothem because they are not educated. Education is also one of the things needed by the Egyptians to be free from their colonizersespecially from the British Empire. Egypt was said to be colonized by the British Empire because theEgyptians were not educated enough to govern their own country. Thus, the Empire took this belief thatEgypt has to be supervised by other countries who are more reliable in governing rather than an ignorantand pantheist Egyptian to rule his own country. Meanwhile, in Amal‟s time, education is hindered by the government because the governmentsees education as a threat to the country. If the teachers are suspected terrorists, the schools should beclosed for operation. In order for the school to resume its operation, a list of names of possible/qualifiedteachers should be given to the government. But no one would like their names to be listed for they knowthat if their names are listed, the lives of their families and friends are also in grave danger. Thus, theeducation of the Egyptians is jeopardized.Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  11. 11. P a g e | 11 Because of this, Egyptians, from the past up to the present, are still ignorant of what is reallyhappening to their country. They could not rationalize their actions, thus, they can only act in a morebarbaric way. Only those selected Egyptians can properly educate themselves because they have money andpower but the education for the poor is greatly discarded by the government.b. The Power of Money Every colonization starts with money. The reasons for colonization are either the colonizer isgreedy to get more money or the colonized is in debt of money to the colonizer or both reasons are present.In the situation of Egypt, colonization started when the ruler of the Ottoman Empire borrowed moneyfrom Europe (i.e. Britain, Rothschild and France) to support his whims. During this time, colonization is thespirit of the age. Thus, Europe used the debt of the old dying Ottoman Empire to expand their territories inEgypt. And as Dr. Ramzi stated it in the novel, the rest is history. Moreover, the Egyptians‟ hope for democracy is brutally crushed when they hoped and thoughtthat America will help them achieve their democracy since the Americans believe also in democracy but,unfortunately and ironically, due to economic progress and political stability, the Americans denied theEgyptians the help they need to have their freedom from the colonizers. Lastly, Amal‟s friend, Tareq, a former activist and patriot, has to hire Israelites to work for hiscompany. Upon learning this, Amal was greatly disappointed that her friend‟s principles about protectingtheir country were corrupted because of money. Amal believes that Israelites are spies and they are slowlyinfiltrating their country to colonize. And by hiring them to work for her friend‟s company is a way ofbetraying the protection and security of the country.B. Colonialism is a corrupt and destructive enemya. The Corruption of Ideals Colonialism corrupts the ideals of people. There are many strong politically-inclined characters inthe novel but they are slowly weakened because of the colonial mentality. „Urabi, the excommunicatedpolitical leader of Egypt, firmly believed then that Egyptians are owned by no one and they shall not beenslaved beyond the day he swore to office. But his movements and propagandas against the colonizerswere too weak that he was excommunicated and estranged from his own country. Most of his compatriotswere executed in public while some went to hiding and others were severely punished. Two of hiscompatriots were Sharif al-Baroudi‟s father and uncle. His uncle was blinded and punished to translate ahuge collection of poems while his father went to hiding in his house and swore to himself that he wouldnever go out of the room, in which he abide faithfully until his death. After several decades, „Urabi changedhis stance on Egypt‟s freedom – that he finally acknowledges the colonial power of Britain over Egypt.Thus, he was granted political amnesty by the Empire and was given permission to return to his motherland.Even Sharif al-Baroudi‟s ideals on protecting Egypt were corrupted by the limitless colonizing power of theEmpire. After involving almost all his life in achieving the democracy of Egypt from her colonizers, SharifTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  12. 12. P a g e | 12Basha lost his drive to continue - it is as if all of their actions against the colonizers were futile; resistance isfutile. Thus, Sharif decided that he wanted to lead a normal life with his family since nothing is happening totheir country and nothing will change for a very long period of time. Finally, Arwa Salih, Amal‟s friend and a former feminist-activist, killed herself by jumping off theroof top of a building. Before she killed herself, she wrote a book about how hopeless everything was. Sheled militant protests against the government but it only ended into nothing. All of them were defeated ordiffused so she opted out. She worked at a press agency by translating the financial news and she helped at asmall gallery during evenings. Because of the futility of the movements and propagandas against thegovernment, she lost her will to fight and eventually lost her will to live.b. The Destructions of Life Aside from the corruption of ideals, colonialism also destroys life. In the first few chapters of thenovel, the destruction of life is already very evident. Edward Winterbourne was a soldier sent to Soudan tosupport the colonial power. But upon his return, Edward slowly lost his will to live; it is as if what heexperienced while in Soudan was enough to drive him out of his wits. Edward‟s happy and contented lifewas shattered and was replaced by his aloofness to the world. He slowly withdrew from the world andslowly separated himself from any attachment/relationship he had in the world. Up to his death, Edwardnever successfully recovered or brought back his self before he went to Soudan. And when Anna went toEgypt, she told herself that if only Edward went to Egypt as a pilgrim rather than a soldier, then he shouldbe alive by then and that he should have been happy and satisfied with his life. Anna firmly believed thatbeing a pilgrim is better for it brings peace and life rather than being a soldier who brings forth war anddeath. Colonialism does not only destroy human life but also destroys the beauty of nature and theprestige of history. As Amal stated in the novel, since the British Empire‟s colonization to Egypt, all of theirprestigious and ancestral landmarks were brutally destroyed and replaced by „modern civilization‟ that theEmpire brought to Egypt. The beauty of nature they inherited from their forefathers is destroyed by simplybecause of proper civilization. Thus, slowly, the Egyptians are losing their strong attachment to their history;their characters/identities are slowly questioned because they do not have roots to attach with.c. The Separation of Races Colonialism basically divides different races in the world. In general, the white men hate blackmen and vice versa; the West thinks lowly of the East. But in specific situations, colonialism also separatesor destroys relationship because of the difference in race. For instance, „Omar‟s first marriage failed becausehe and his wife both discovered that “he is Arab”. Because of their difference in race, his wife is Americanwhile he just discovered “he is Arab”. It is not totally true that he doesn‟t know he is Arab, but what hemeant by discovering his race is when he stood up against the political issues affecting his motherland,Egypt. Thus, their difference in political stance separated them from each other. More important evidence of colonialism separating different races is the expulsion of Anna fromthe British Empire because she married an Egyptian. Anna lost almost all of her English friends because ofTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  13. 13. P a g e | 13the marriage; she lost her most loyal attendant, Emily; she couldn‟t visit her motherland although she missesit greatly; and her English friends couldn‟t visit her in Egypt.d. The Loss of Identity Colonialism‟s greatest effect, not only for an individual but also of the country, is the loss ofidentity – i.e. personal identity and national identity. For personal identity, „Omar al-Ghamrawi lost hisidentity when he was sent to study in America. Because of this, „Omar rarely goes home to Egypt and finallysettled his life in America. His father, Ahmad, regretted sending his son to America but there is nothingmore he could do about it. „Omar had lost not only his nationality but also his identity. He couldn‟t evendecide what his real nationality is when Isabel asked him if he consider himself Egyptian. He answered thathe is Egyptian but also American and Palestinian, and that he has no problem with identity but he neverconsider himself lucky about this situation. Another evidence for the loss of personal identity is greatly seen in Anna‟s situation. She greatlylost a major part of her life and her identity when she married Sharif al-Baroudi. There were many things shesacrificed just to be with her husband. One of these sacrifices is the use of language. Since Sharif couldn‟tspeak in English and she couldn‟t speak in Arabic, they converse using the French language. For a native todiscard his native tongue, he might as well discard his own nationality. And this is what Anna did for thesake of her marriage to Sharif. Moreover, since their traditional practices are totally different, Anna had tocope with the Egyptian tradition. She greatly missed celebrating Christmas because the Ramadan wascelebrated at the same time with the Christmas season. And the couple fought when Anna went to a bankto withdraw money without knowing that it would greatly offend the ego of her husband. Anna really losther identity of being English when Layla stated that Anna acted as if she belongs to the native Egyptians –that Anna had totally adapted to their culture and tradition. On the other hand, the loss of national identity is greatly shown in the novel through the dialogues ofthe Englishmen when they were talking about Egypt being colonized, thus, losing or degrading the incipientcharacter of all the Egyptians. Mrs. Butcher, Anna‟s English friend, remonstrated that the Ancient Egyptianswere so definite, so vivid a character that traces of that character could not be completely lost to theEgyptians today. But Mr. Sladen cut her across by saying that the character was not lost but degraded –completely degraded. That is the term that Anna often heard used to describe the Egyptian character. Thestrong and definite incipient character of the Egyptians is degraded too low that they see themselves as“pets” of the colonizers. Even their existence to the world is being denied by the British Empire. They arepets to the colonizers because of their inability to govern their own country. They are pets because thecolonizers have to “take care” of them; to “supervise” their growth; and to “guide” and “teach” them howto properly govern their own selves and their own country. Their strong characters are totally diminished tothe point that their self-value and self-confidence have been trashed out. No more traces of their proud ancestral lineage, their strong beliefs on themselves, and theirstrong uphold of democracy but was left to them are never ending problems on how they should act afterthe “revolution” has ended. Everything has changed. The Egyptians now are seen cowards. They believethat they belong only to the “talking intellectuals” and they only live by the slogans they make and takeTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  14. 14. P a g e | 14comfort from these slogans. Even the common Egyptian people don‟t know the existence of these “talkingintellectuals” for when they talk, they only talk with each other; when they write, they only write for eachother. The common Egyptians are not connected with the “talking intellectuals”, thus, the people has novoice over any political matter regarding Egypt. These people don‟t even know the existence of the “talkingintellectuals”.C. Colonialism stagnates the progress of the nation Egypt was colonized by the British Empire during her crucial point in history. The Empire tookadvantage of her debt to Europe and her unstable ruler from the old and dying Ottoman Empire. Throughthe Empire‟s colonization, it froze the development of Egypt – i.e. their move towards democracy, towardseducation and industrialization, and towards modernity. Even though Egypt has stood for almost 60 yearsof her own national government, nothing has been done to elevate Egypt from her status in the past up tothe present. The political issues that had risen during Anna‟s time are still the same political issues arising inAmal‟s time. These stagnated political issues are shown through the following excerpt on page 227 of thenovel: “Do you realize when you speak of political programme, that your programme now is the same that Mahmoud Sami al-Baroudi’s government tried to establish more than a hundred years ago?... The ending of foreign influence; the payment of the Egyptian debt; an elected parliament; a national industry; equality of all men before the law; reform of education; and allowing a free press to reflect all shades of opinion. Those were the seven points of their programme. These young people, they still ask for this.”Through this excerpt, it clearly shows that whatever happened in the past is still happening in the presentand there were no actions done to alleviate the political conflicts present in the colonizing power and thecountry‟s own government. There may be actions, protests, propagandas, or movements done but they werenot enough. Nothing still had changed; nothing was solved. This strong stagnating power of Colonialism isreally ironic in Egypt‟s situation. Egypt, the mother of civilization, was totally left behind. While herneighboring countries are flourishing, Egypt quietly observes when the colonizing power will leave her. Therefore, Egypt during the colonization of the British Empire is still the same Egypt beinggoverned by her own people in the present. The only thing that Egypt can do is to absorb all of these thingsand to hope that maybe someday, she will really be free.D. Postcolonial Feminism a. The voice of the women The novel The Map of Love gives voice to the untold story of women--both colonizers andcolonized--during British imperialism and their ability to transcend the differences of language, culture, andreligion that the "spirit of the age" forbade. This is a truly post-colonial novel in that it reshapes, rethinks,Traversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  15. 15. P a g e | 15and re-evaluates the colonial period in the Middle East. Amal finds herself sympathizing with AnnaWinterbourne, who rejected her countrys orientalist and racist notions of the Arabs and tried to understandEgypt on its own terms one hundred years ago. Anna says, upon first entering the harem (the womensquarters) in Sharifs house, "It seemed so odd to just sit there--in one of my beloved paintings, as it were, or one of theNights of Edward Lane." Annas reference to the paintings and to the British translation of The ArabianNights indicates how deeply England was drowning in its culture of orientalism--a culture that allowed theEnglish to imagine the Arabs as exotic "other," and thus as people who lacked morals and dignity. However,Anna has penetrated the stereotype; now she is in the paintings, she is in the tale, and she can bear witnessto its accuracy. In the beginning of the novel, while Edward Winterbourne is sick, the argument between SirCharles and his friends was also colored with oriental biased. “The question of whether savage nations has the right to exist came up, George arguing – from Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest- that they had none, and the rest of the company being of the same mind”- (p. 13). Perhaps the most telling example of Annas dismantling of the orientalist stereotype of Arabs comesin a conversation with her husband: "Werent you afraid of me? The wicked Pasha who would lock you up in his harem and do terrible things to you?" "What terrible things?" "You should know. Theyre in your English stories." (p. 153).Sharifs last comment stresses the idea that Egyptians under the colonial rule of England were aware of theirportrayal to the average British citizen. In both examples, Soueif speaks back to the colonialist vision of theArab in order to correct it, and the fact that she does so in the voice of a British woman testifies to thenovels feminist undertones. b. Role of women Unlike in other countries colonized by British, like India, where many white women are allowedto go, to shore up the white hierarchies, in Egypt there are few white women. White women in Egyptserved mainly as a symbol of the freedoms enjoyed by the West but denied to Muslim women by asupposedly monolithic and oppressive Muslim culture.E. Art as a symbol for transnational union Amals new family echoes and resignifies the tapestry that Anna wove a hundred years before torepresent her own transnational union. After her marriage, Anna had produced a three-paneled tapestry ofthe Goddess Isis, her husband/brother Osiris, and their baby son Horus, with the Quranic verse “Hebrings forth the living from the dead” stretching across all three panels. Uniting Pharonic iconography withIslamic text in a composition inflected by her own tradition of Christian hagiography, Annas artworkcommented on the complexity of the modern Egypt her husbands nationalist movement‟s goal. AfterSharifs death, Mabrouka had divided up the tapestry, giving the panel with Osiris to Anna and the one withTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love
  16. 16. P a g e | 16Isis to Amals father. The panel of the baby Horus was lost, but magically reappears in Isabels bag at theend of the novel after her sons birth. The tapestrys trinity of the nuclear family gets mapped onto thecontemporary trinity of Amal, Isabel, and baby Sharif. Similarly, when Amal and Isabel travel back to Cairofrom Tawasi, they stop along the roadside to let the car cool down. To shade the baby from the sun, theyuse the familys old flag of national unity, a symbol of Muslim-Christian coalition against the British that hadbeen wielded in womens street protests in the early twentieth century. Amal describes the scene: “I rooted inthe car and found the flag and we pushed three sticks into the earth and spread the flag over them, and the baby lay on the rugwith his mother on one side of him and me on the other and above his head the green and white flag of national unity” (481).Here, as in Annas tapestry, a national symbol is reconfigured by an atypical transnational family. V. Conclusion The novel is, on one level, a classic romance - the story of two great romances separated - andbrought together - by a hundred years of history. Soueif creates, quite unashamedly, an undeniably dashingEgyptian hero: Sharif Al- Baroudi. At the same time, however, the book is also a hard-hitting and criticalaccount of a century of Egypts troubled history and politics, taking in feminism, nationalism, colonialismand post-colonial discourse as well as the Arab-Israeli dispute and the question of normalization. The Egypt of 1900 has shaped the Egypt of today: Dr. Ramzi, when questioned by Isabel aboutEgypts future in the new millennium, answers "It will be the same." And what role does Fate play in all ofthis? Annas first entry in her journal reads: "My name is Anna Winterbourne. I do not hold (much) withthose who talk of the Stars governing our Fate." This voice, cautiously allowing the possibility of theinexplicable into peoples lives, could also be Soueifs. In the novel, it is in this mystical force of continuity,ironically comforting and unchanging in its fluidity, that Soueif ultimately finds beauty and solace. Acrosstime and space, the eternal light of love shines again for Isabel and Omar, and no less brightly and with nofewer complications than it did for Anna and Sharif. VI. ReferencesAhmed, Jamal Mohammed. The Intellectual Origins of Egyptian Nationalism. London: Oxford UniversityPress, 1960.Fayad, Mona. “Reinscribing Identity: Nation and Community in Arab Womens Writing.” CollegeLiterature 22.1: 147-60. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO Host. UNR Library, Reno, NV. <>Soueif, Ahdaf, The Map of Love. New York: Anchor Books, 2000.Soueif, Ahdaf, “Talking About The Map of Love.” Interview with Paula Burnett. EnterText1.3. 28 Feb.2000. wikipedia.comTraversing The Historical and Cross Cultural Boundaries in Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love