After this semester my assumptions about novels have changed. After reading, Utopia, Signs Preceding The End Of The World, and Baho I saw how these authors created a novel to shine light on some of the many prominent issues in their societies. Prior to this semester, I often believed that novels were just some made up books that had no relative meaning to them. However, these three books have showed me how these authors do show real relative issues in their novels.
In the novel Utopia Towfik, creates these two societies, Utopia vs the others. These two societies mirror relative issues in our own societies. On page 66, the second narrator Gerber states, “ by age 9 any child has seen everything and been very hungry, and often has been raped 3 or 4 times…”. Here in California rape and hunger are very prominent issues. Towfik uses his novel as a mode of awareness for these issues.
In Signs Preceding The End Of The World , Yuri Herrera shows us a young girls journey when crossing the border. This is a journey that many individuals can relate to as many people create their own journeys while crossing the border.
In the novel Baho by Roland Roguero women are seen as passive objects of the community. On chapter IV of Baho, Roguero states, “there is a woman who measures almost six feet two inches. She was run out of the house by her husband for being too tall. The strict man of the house preferred to bring another, shorter woman” (pg.24). Women are treated as objects with no feelings. In our own societies we see this same issue, women being treated as passive objects rather than active participants of the community.
These 3 novels have helped me understand that novels do have relative meanings to them, they just have to be carefully analyze
Baho is a Burundian novel written by Roland Roguero. Thisi a novel about Nyamugari a adolescent mute who is looking for a place to go to the bathroom and attempts to ask a young girl for help. Unfortunately, his gestures are mistaken by an attempt to rape this young girl. Nyamugari attempts to flee the scene and this assures the community of his guilt of raping the young girl. This scenario saya a lot about this community and their views towards women.
In this community, women are seen more as objects rather than valuable women. Men seem to be in control of the women from this community. Rugero states, “The young girl has ceased to speak. In her ears, her earlier cry still resonates, distant and yet close at hand; there, on her lips, ready to go back up her throat, burning, following the images that march before her gaze. Right now, she doesn’t see anything anymore. She suffers” (pg.24). This quote gives us a sense on how although. Nyamugari’s intentions were not to rape the young girl but, to ask her where the nearest place was to relieve himself was at, this young girl was so accustomed to other girls in her community getting raped that his actions perceived this act of rape. This quote allows the readers to understand that a social norm in this community is rape and many young women live their everyday lives in fear of this occurring to them.
On chapter IV of Baho, Roguero states, “there is a woman who measures almost six feet two inches. She was run out of the house by her husband for being too tall. The strict man of the house preferred to bring another, shorter woman” (pg.24). This signifies how men in this society see women as rather objects than valuable humans. In this case, this man decided to leave his wife for a woman who was more convenient (Pliable) than his wife. This gives an understanding of how women are looked at and treated in this community.
Roland Roguero does a great job at illustrating the social role of women in this community. Throughout the novel, he gives examples of how women are treated and the hardships they go through. How are women viewed in your community? Are they treated as valuable individuals or rather passive objects ?
Tram 83 is a novel written by 34 year old- Fiston Mwzanza Mujila. Mujila was born in Lubumbashi a city southeast of Congo. He writes this novel about two characters, Requiem and Luciem. They both live in this dysfunctional City-State and often visit a nightclub called Tram 83. In Tram 83, we see many activities going on like the following: drinking, sex, music, and prostitution.
When I first started reading Tram 83, I was very intrigued by Mujila’s style of writing, it wasn’t something I was particularly used to and that is what interested me. Mujila’s style of writing is very unique, in this novel particularly, Majuila’s uses the style tremolo throughout the novel. Tremolo in this novel, has to do with repetition. This style of writing with repetition creates a soundscape for this Jazz novel. Repetition of phrases and words that give this novel a certain meaning. The phrase that is repeatedly used throughout this novel is, “ Do you have the time?”.
When we hear someone saying, “ Do you have the time?”, we often think of, can you tell me what hour is it? However, after reading and analyzing this novel, the phrase, “ Do you have the time?” is not in fact asking for the hours but, asking for something deeper than so. In the novel, Tram 83, we see sex and prostitution taking place, many of these women often ask the men, “ Do you have the time?” This phrase is actually used as a sexual term. Individuals in this novel, specifically women use the phrase, “ Do you have the time?”, when they are asking men if they want to have sex. On page 9, it states, “ “Do you have the time?” hammered the single mamas, stern and result”. This quote makes it apparent that the women are very persistent with asking men if they have the time to have sex. A reason for this persistence in asking men if they have the time is that the women are prostitutes and that is how they make their money and survive in this City-State.
This phrase repetition gives this jazz novel a rhythm. We can find this phrase being repeated in almost every page. Not only does this phrase repetition add rhythm to the novel but, it creates a certain meaning to the phrase. In Tram 83, the phrase,” Do you have the time”, refers to having the time to engage in sexual acts. This phrase being so persistent throughout the novel, gives the readers a sense of urgency and how these individuals rely on these sexual acts to survive in this City-State.
In “Signs Preceding The End Of The World” by Yuri Herrera, this novel takes us into the world of this young girl, Makina, and her journey and tributes to finding her brother and bringing him back home. During Makinas journey she endures many situations that show us her character. Making is a very brave, strong, and nonchalant young lady. Her character helps her during and after her crossing to this new world.
This novel shows us how Makina, is not the typical Hispanic. Her character show’s strength, empowerment, and independence. In the Hispanic community, young women are taught to be soft, be dependent on a man, and to stay in the home for as long as possible until marriage. However, the verdict in this novel shows us the character of Makina being a strong female lead.
In chapter 2, Makina states the following, “ listen up, i’m going to let you go and you’re going to curl up with your little friend back there I swear on all your pain that if you even so much think about me again, the only thing that hand’s going to be good for is wiping ass” (p.32). When Makina states this to the boy, it gives the reader a sense of her strong badass character. In this moment, we see that Makina is not the type of young women you mess with because she doesn’t play around and won’t let anyone fool her.
Makina crossing the border on her own to find her brother shows us that she is independent and is not afraid to leave her home, she is more than ready to take on any situation that crosses her path. Makins character goes against the Hispanic culture norms and show’s the readers that strong, independent young women do exist. This novel does a great job in portraying a strong female lead as the main character when crossing the border and arriving to this new world.
Utopia is a science fiction novel written by Ahmed Khaled Tower. This novel takes place in a Egyptian society in the year 2023. Although, this book is written on what the near future might look like, after reading a few chapters, I am convinced that our society isn’t that much different than the society portrayed in Utopia. Within the first few paragraphs of this novel we get a clear image of the “haves” and “have nots” in this society.
Utopia has two narrators, the first narrator, Alaa, is a privileged boy who is clearly part of the “haves” of this society and seems to be a narcissist in my opinion and the second narrator, Gaber, lives on “the other side”, the underprivileged side who suffer from many hardships.
In Utopia pg.20 Alaa states. “ … foolishness reminds you of the others…we are bigger and superior to all of that..”. This statement made by Alaa clearly shows the division between the “Haves” and “Have nots”. Alaa a Utopia civilian, believes that him and his people are much greater and superior than “the others”. Does this remind you of our society now? Some people believing that they are better than others? Ahamed made this book as a vision of the future, however, if we really analyze the issues being portrayed in this novel and relate it to our society we might just be sharing some of the same issues.
On page 66, the second narrator Gerber states, “ by age 9 any child has seen everything and been very hungry, and often has been raped 3 or 4 times…”. This statement made by Gerber indicates to us that “the others” are clearly the have nots of this society and are experiencing a multitude of hardships in their society.
HUNGER and RAPE happening in the society of the have nots… think about your society do you see the have nots going through hardships such as hunger and rape ? If so, Ahmed’s Utopia vision of the future might just be happening a few years earlier than expected…