Midaq Alley

1835 words 8 pages
The theme of "Midaq Alley" cuts to the heart of Arab society. Namely, it shows how a group of characters living in the same slum neighborhood responds to the combined promise and threat of Western-influenced modernization. Midaq Alley is about the Egyptian residents of a hustling, packed back alley in Cairo in the 1940's. The attempts of several residents to escape the alley and move up in status end with dreams broken and unfulfilled. The opening sentences of "Midaq Alley" points to a world bypassed by history: "Many things combine to show that Midaq Alley is one of the gems of times gone by and that it once shone forth like a flashing star in the history of Cairo. Which Cairo do I mean? That of the Fatimids, the Mamlukes or the …show more content…

The thought of running water and electricity was not as important to them unlike the young generation because young people have more ideas, there mind wanders more than a older person because they all ready experience life.
Later on in the book, Hamida eventually agrees to marry Abbas, a neighborhood barber who she really does not care for, but who might be a ticket out of her mother's household. Not only is he poor, he is a yokel in Hamida's eyes. When he initially becomes her suitor, she is disgusted by what ordinarily constitutes the most important element of any marriage, his undying love. In spite of her limited experience in life, she was aware of the great gulf between this humble young man and her own greedy ambitions, which could ignite her natural aggressiveness and turn it into uncontrollable savagery and violence. Many aspects of Egyptian society that are describes are still very much apparent, particularly with regard to the relative standing of men and women. "For a millennium of precedent still means that women are often considered subservient to men, and that a woman's traditional place is to tame and purify men while sacrificing her own personal happiness for the good of the family (Bettie 190)". Hamida wanted to break that cycle, she was already independent talking walks by herself when a man is supposed to be watching her at all times. She would be wildly happy if