Thesis and Overview
In this essay, I will compare the treatment of God and religion in two novels, one by an Arab and other by a Jew. Considered a classic of the African Arabian literature, Season of Migration to the North by Tayib Salih was first published (in Beirut, rather than in the author’s native Sudan) concerns an individual who leaves Sudan for England and then eventually returns to his native village on the b-anks of the Nile. Mr. Mani by A.B. Yehoshua traces five generations of fathers and sons from the Mani family. in and out of Jerusalem, from 1848 to 1982.
Season of migration to the North
Both the narrator and the abovementioned Mustafa are Sudanese who go to Britain for advanced study; Mustafa in economics and the narrator in English literature. They meet in the small village along the Nile which is the narrator’s ‘home town’, where his beloved and ancient grandfather still lives. The villagers “were surprised when I told them that Europeans were, with minor differences, exactly like them” (3), the narrator tells us.
At this stage Mustafa is to all intents and purposes an ordinary farmer, with a wife and two young sons. However, when Mustafa quotes an English poem on a drunken evening, the narrator becomes suspicious. Most of the rest of the novel concerns his recollections of the exceedingly strange story that Mustafa tells him — a story which haunts and oppresses, yet also challenges him in terms of defining his own value system in ‘postcolonial’ Sudanese society — in the context of “the new rulers of Africa, smooth of face, lupine of mouth, … in suits of fine mohair and expensive silk” (Salih 118).
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