How Is Matar’s Novel Constructed So As To Convey The Perspective Of The Nine Year Old Suleiman?

942 words - 4 pages

Hisham Matar’s novel, In the Country of Men, portrays a realistic, socially and politically turbulent time in the country Libya. It is written in the first person style narrated by Suleiman, the central character and a twenty-four year old recalling his last summer in Libya. The child’s perspective is conveyed by language choices such as simple straightforward expressions. Matar’s choice of short sentences and short chapters condenses the events suitably reflecting the interpretation of a nine year old.
Suleiman narrates his own story by “recalling…that the last summer” before he was sent away. He frequently relates events in simple descriptive terms such as towards the beginning of ...view middle of the document...

However, this naïve interpretation of events is appropriate in conveying a child’s perspective. As a young boy, Suleiman describes his mother’s drinking as ‘illness’ and refers to her drinking as “Mama is ill again”. He worries about his mother and questions “where is Baba? He should be here because when he is home everything is normal, she is never ill”. Even though the adult voice of Suleiman appears occasionally through the novel he doesn’t try to correct the voice of the nine year old. The adult Suleiman’s language is more figurative and indicative showing more mature understanding. He describes the shade in the beginning of the novel as “grey patches of mercy carved into white of everything”. This type of language is showing the readers the border experience of adult Suleiman. Matar’s language choice is concrete and direct. The mulberries event which exemplifies this when “I fetched my ladder and climbed slowly………..Best fruit god created…….I plucked one and it almost melted in my fingers……I threw it in my mouth ……..exploding like fireworks.” is the figurative language full of imagery that the author Matar makes to convey from a child perspective. This reveals how the author put together the novel to express the viewpoint of the nine year old.
The themes Matar presents also demonstrates a construction of the text. When Suleiman betrays Kareem when they were playing My Land, Your Land he goes to his room and slams the door behind him. The voices in his head started to speak to him “You know what you’ve done, don’t you?” …..“You betrayed him”. After the death of Ustath Rashid the next morning, Mama wishes to say goodbye to Salma and...

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