Midaq Alley

Anaesthetizing as a Form of Escapism: How and Why Midaq Alley Inhabitants Intoxicate Themselves College

With the rise of individualism in the 20th century, people had become distant and detached, while worrying about trying to communicate, and dreading being misunderstood. The Egyptian society itself at the time was on a brink of an abrupt state of deconstruction - religiously, socially, politically, ideologically, and economically. Midaq Alley explores this concept of desolation and how it affects the people differently through the eyes of its inhabitants and their choices, and by extension, their lives. Each of the main character suffers from the banality of the Alley, as well as the dissatisfaction and frustration aroused from it and the rest of its inhabitants. And in order to overcome this misery, each of them chose a way to distract him/herself from their very own mundane reality, be it by drugs, gossip, sex, violence, destructive ambitions, marriage, or by being vexed and cursing the entire Alley.

Abbas El-Helw, one of the main characters, reflects on the situation by saying that “(They)’re miserable...In a miserable country, among miserable people. How sad it is to never taste happiness till the whole world broke into war!” The World War gave the Alley a purpose, a way to feel relevant to the world again, and thus gave...

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