midaq alley Essay

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Midaq Alley, written by Naguib Mahfouz, takes place in back alley neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, during World War II. It explores the life of the inhabitants of the alley. These people lived very poor lifestyles and made just enough money to get by in most cases. During World War II the British began offering jobs. Because of this the role that the British played was seen as one of opportunity. This did not apply to everyone, however. The British affected the younger generation of the alley very much, but does not affect the older generation very much. The British were definitely a protagonist in this time. The offer of money gave the young men of the alley as a means to gaining a better lifestyle and becoming part of a higher class of people. The young women of the alley were fascinated by the western ideal of women being a part of society as well as the adventure that being around the British soldiers could bring. Mahfouz does not hold the British in high regard. He portrays them as someone who comes in and promises the people of Egypt a better life while they have use for the people there. However, as soon as they do not need them anymore they leave. When they leave everything goes back to the way it was. Young Egyptians saw the British as an opportunity for a new lifestyle. Abbas was a prime example of this. Abbas ran a barber shop and lived in the alley. He rented half of a flat from an older woman who owned a house at the end of the alley. He was in love with Hamida, a foster child who lived in the same house in another flat with her foster mother. Abbas lived contently in the alley and had no problems with his life. However, he did not believe that Hamida would have him as a barber who barely made enough to support himself. The British gave him the opportunity to make and save money in order to offer Hamida a better life than that of the
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