Season of Migration to the North

Fantasy and Fear: Examining the Narrator's Reality College

The mind tends to remain at a stasis, neither consumed by pure ecstasy nor ridden with fearful anxiety. However, there may come a point in time when thoughts fluctuate between the two extremes until we are jolted back to reality’s state of neutrality, perhaps this time with a new perspective. In Tayeb Salih’s Sudanese novel Season of Migration to the North, the narrator undergoes a similar mental conflict when he returns from his studies in Europe to what he remembers to be a collective and civilized home in Khartoum. His expectations are soon met by the village’s ever-changing and harsh circumstances provoked by colonialism, as well as the mysterious narrative confession of Mustafa Sa’eed. When Mustafa suddenly dies and disappears, his trace of existence allows the narrator to ruminate and familiarize himself with the more nightmarish events that Mustafa had undergone in his lifetime. Mustafa’s looming presence as a mental personification of hostility and violence feared by the narrator is a necessary haunting of the mind that challenges his false idealizations of the village with a pungent dose of reality. Thus, his transcendence into Mustafa’s own dark and horrifying identity positions the narrator in a middle ground that...

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