Tragic vision of Hemingway and Najuib Mahfouz:A comparative study (1) [Archives:2008/1132/Education]

February 25 2008

Dr. Bashar Ghazi Askar
Assistant professor of English
[email protected]

One finds that there is a remarkable similarity in tragic vision between the great Egyptian writer Najuib Mahfouz, a Nobel Prize Winner in 1988 and his counterpart Ernest Hemingway, a Nobel Prize Winner in 1954. Though they belong to different literatures, different cultures, different languages and environments, they both investigate in-depth various aspects of human life.

One can observe the prevalence of a gloomy atmosphere overwhelming their novels and short stories. Both writers are deeply concerned about the plight of humanity and its search for the ultimate truth. A socio-political view of man's existence is at the very root of almost everything that Mahfouz And Hemingway have written. The social and humanitarian messages are interwoven into the texture of their works. Man is not meant to spend his life on Earth in a futile search and his only true hope of salvation is the exertion of a positive and responsible effort to better his lot and that of others.

In this world, man attempts to establish a reality and break out into freedom, but once again finds himself entrapped into a newly formed position. Both writers have tried to live with the ultimate realities of human conditions, problems of life and death, isolation and alienation. To them the world is absurd and frightening. Such a world has no norms, no absolutes, no consoling certainties and no direction. Both writers are preoccupied with the problems of being and the identity of the self. Man is thrown into a meaningless world. Both writers have dealt with the issues of life and death. The heroes face violent, not natural death. The central message embedded in their works is that in the ultimate analysis there is no escape from death. The characters of Hemingway and Mahfouz belong to the transitional period in America and Egypt respectively. They all represent the disorders and moral deviations of the time. In this sense, they share the identical experiment of life.