The Journey from Tradition to Modernization in Naguib Mahfouz's novel "The Midaq Alley"
Ali Dakhil Naem
This paper examines the cultural norms which are constantly challenged throughput the novel and what is and what isn’t socially accepted is a theme. Midaq Alley displays a historical period of Egypt in the most intimate sense as it is presented through the lives of the characters that inhabit the alley. In this novel, the characters struggle through questions of morality, ethics, and traditions in which the answer shape their behavior all perceived through the eyes of the ageless alley. The era which the story took place is an era where societal norms began shifting towards modernity due to the impact of western colonization. Naguib Mahfouz depicted a portrait a society within a larger society, which allows for analysis and comparison of both. He portrayed three of the themes in Midaq Alley, they are Class, love and marriage. The theme of "Midaq Alley" cuts to the heart of Arab society. Namely, it shows how a group of characters living in the same slum neighborhood responds to the combined promise and threat of Western-influenced modernization.