• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comparing portrayal of death In The Story of Zhara and Seasons of Migration

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare the portrayal of death in 'The Story of Zahra' and 'Season of Migration to the North' In both 'The Story of Zahra' and 'Season of Migration to the North', many characters die as a result of their own actions. Some deaths are ambiguous, like those of the narrator and Mustafa Sa'eed in 'Season of Migration to the North', whilst others are more overt - such as the death of Zahra in 'The Story of Zahra' and that of Jean Morris. In all these events, characters have chosen death, and it is this self-destructive death that I will be examining. Zahra becomes obsessed with the sniper as a result of the events of her life in the 'Story of Zahra'. When Zahra first learns of the presence of the sniper, she makes a conscious decision to die by purposefully walking down the street which he is targeting. She anticipates 'only one thing: hearing a bullet and then falling dead'. She does this because, traumatised by her mother taking her on her mother's illicit assignations with her lover, she had lived her life with great apathy. She later a man to seduce and continues to allow him to use her even once it is clear that he isn't prepared to marry her. ...read more.

Middle

It is ironic that only when she actively seeks her death does she hold her head high and have a spring in her step. In 'Seasons of Migration to the North', Sa'eed pursues Jean Morris, who was the one woman who rejected him. He becomes obsessed with her and is filled with a selfish desire. Although he sees himself as the predator, using words such as 'hunting' and using metaphors involving bows and arrows such as 'my arrow missed' when he fails to win her over, she is clearly the one in power and is enticing him on. Such is her power over him that she gets him to destroy his most precious possessions, which are parts of himself and his heritage. When he kills her, she seems to want death: her eyes 'follow the blade', wanting him to kill her, until he finally plunges it into her chest. When he kills her, she seems to welcome the act, calling him 'darling' - a term of endearment perhaps strange to use towards the man who is killing you. Mustafa Sa'eed does not then kill himself as she asked; he shies away from killing himself. Sa'eed's killing of Morris is very graphic and shocking, and sex is mingled with murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

The manner of the narrator's possible death is similar to Zahra's: both choose to live and only then die. Traumatised by her mother's actions, Zahra lived her life with great ambivalence until she realised that she was just watching, like a tourist, the world go by. Seeing all the death and suffering in the war-zone around her she is much attracted to death and seeks death with the sniper. However, he does not kill her and instead takes her as a lover. She finally feels that she is doing something, trying to save innocent lives, and her obsession with death fades. Once she loses her obsession with death and instead looks forward to life, the sniper shoots her. It is ironic that she is thwarted: her desire is never fulfilled until it is no longer her desire and the fulfilment of her previous desire obliterates her new one. In both 'The Story of Zahra' and 'Seasons of Migration to the North' characters pursue self-destructive courses, many deliberately - even if they have changed their minds by the time death comes to them. These deaths are often very symbolic - used to portray the domination of women over men, the ambiguity of death, or the uselessness of war. Both Zahra and the narrator of 'Season of Migration to the North' seem to be thwarted when they choose to live, rather than die. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. The Sniper Analysis

    He became bitten by remorse". We are already aware that this reaction to the enemy's death is unusual and unexpected. The author has used this phrase, along with many others, to convey the consequences of shooting a sniper whose identity he was unaware of.

  2. 'The social position of women is clearly shown to be subordinate in Naguib Mahfouz's ...

    down, confined to the house and tied to the 'exhausting duties of wife, housekeeper and mother'. Not only do these sound as though she is repeating his excuses back to herself, but they also demonstrate that in this society she would be expected to fulfil the exhausting duties of a wife, housekeeper and mother.

  1. Review of Death in Venice

    eyebrows - all four wearing a sort of headgear and possess 'naked Adam apple's, disappears suddenly and curls their lips back to bare gums. It seems that the similarities of these peculiar men are not so coincidental, but rather, destiny as they foreshadow the events that leads to von Aschenbach's death as well as the inevitability of his death.

  2. Duffy and Donne and their portrayal of the loss of identity

    Both of these poems describe events and situations as well as evoke in the readers first the feeling of loss, then the guilt felt due to it and in Duffy's case also how the speaker managed to cope up with the change.

  1. Who is to blame for the death of Dido in Virgil's Aeneid?

    Their manoeuvrings result directly to the madness that poisons Dido, and which causes her to take her own life, as without these two, Dido may not have felt anything for Aeneas, experienced as she was in turning men down. Aside from Venus and Juno, Jupiter is also partly responsible, commanding

  2. Treatment of escapism in A Street car named desire by Tennessee Williams ...

    but Williams compares her to a moth, a short-lived creature that dies when exposed to light. The moth like Blanche keeps herself distant from light, and she uses ?Chinese lanterns? to hide her age and appearance. She hates light and says ?And turn that over-light off!

  1. Analysis of "North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell

    If I were Margaret, I would not denounce Thornton of not being a gentleman because I am firmly convinced of the fact that I would have to try hard to find a man like this nowadays. A further theme repeated in the book is determination.

  2. Comparison of Violence in The Catcher in the Rye with Their Eyes Were Watching ...

    As Tea Cake notices, ?The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work