11/19/2019 8:13 pm
In the Name of God takes place in a small town called Gachimat located in Algeria. The timeline is very important to the novel because it takes place in the 1970’s to the 1980’s which was pre civil war Algeria. In the Name of God follows the spread of Islamic extremism in Gachimat. A few of the main characters are Kada the schoolteacher, Allal the policeman, Dactylo the public letter-writer, Issa the Disgrace, and Tej, a mechanic. Sheik Abbas shows up to Gachimat and things take a turn for the worst because Abbas has brought his political views that were against the elders ideas. Abbas gathers a following of men who aren’t very fond of the imams and they quickly result to violence and terror as a tool to gain power.
Critical analysis and assessment
One of the techniques used to create this novel was the use of characterization. Characterization in literature is the process where an author introduces and then describes a character. This literary device allows for the reader to build a connection between the characters and understand their motives. In the english version of In the Name of God on page 5 it states “ Kada could not forgive the daily humiliation. From his earliest infancy he had dreamed of regaining his dignity and privileges in a village that was in continual decline . . . he had become a primary school teacher out of resentment, and his ever swelling hatred drove him to join the still clandestin Islamist movement.” This is one of the earliest examples of characterization used by Yasmina Khadra. The author does a great job of introducing the character Kada and his role in the village. The author then goes further than that and reveals important information of Kada’s past and how it motivates his future actions in the book. This characterization happens so early on in the novel that we immediately get a feel for who Kada really is other than some villager in a novel which then builds a connection between the character and readers. Khadra does this for almost every other character that is introduced because it is important for the reader to really know these characters in such a small town. Halfway through the novel the readers then has a solid understanding of the characters and then Khadra really beings to intensify the situation in the novel.
AAC and Global Learning
A social construct created in the novel is what it means to be a man or the importance of masculinity. In the novel we only have three main female characters which are Sarah and Tej and Allal’s mom’s. The rest of the characters being all males who are competing with each other in who’s more or less masculine. The two cultural variables that would help explain this structure are the economy and social norms. After Algeria had reclaimed their freedom from France their economy drastically fell. They didn’t have the support of a European country to invest in them. When the economy fails in a country families tend to struggle financially and it is up to the males to support their families. The ability to gather a significant income becomes a masculine trait that women admire thus creating a competition between men in the village of Gachimat. Because Gachimat is a small town where everyone knows each other and there aren’t many people especially women there. A high ratio of men to women creates another competition between men to attract the most beautiful woman in the town. That woman would be Sarah whos labeled as the most beautiful woman of Gachimat and has everyman chasing her hand in marriage. In the English translation of In the Name of God on page 31 it states “ There are many suitors after Sarah. Already Allal the cop is planning to marry her.” Kada loved Sarah and was close to marrying her but instead she married Allal. The message presented to the reader is that masculinity is all about competition between men and whos the strongest, richest, and honorable.
The problem with presenting this construct this way is it isn’t true or helpful. The completion of masculinity only ruined the lives of the characters as most of them lost so much in proving themselves.
My reactions and thoughts
I don’t agree with the message that masculinity is all about competition. I believe that masculinity is something that should be determined by the individual himself and not outside forces. The characters gain this toxi idea of what it means to be a man and treat women and their own brothers poorly to prove something. Kada deals with his emotions through violence is and example of a toxic masculinity trait. This reminds me of the animal kingdom when females choose males who are the best hunters and strongest in general. It’s this universal idea that most animals follow (including humans) that the alpha male is the epitome of masculinity.
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