Season of Migration to the North

Colonialism and Character Development in Season of Migration to the North College

Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North was first published in 1969, and has come to be regarded as outstanding in its genre. Originally written in Arabic, the book features notable parallels to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which it is considered by many to be a response to. However, Season of Migration to the North does not seek to define itself by other pieces of literature, but rather by providing unique commentary on the colonial experience in Africa. Written about Sudan by a Sudanese author, it offers extraordinary insight into the world it seeks to describe. To provide this insight, Salih uses the character of Mustafa Sa’eed (henceforth referred to as MS), in conjunction with the unnamed narrator, to demonstrate how colonialism disturbed the balance, albeit imperfect, present in Africa before European involvement, and how he hopes it will come to be restored.

The story of MS, who takes center stage as the narrative begins, commences in his childhood years, when he is still a blank slate, or “tabula rasa”, upon which life and the prejudices of the world have written nothing yet. From a young age, MS displayed none of the personality or charm typical of a child, and interacted with his mother as if they were “...

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