My Name is Red

My Name is Red

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The Storyteller Character Analysis

The Storyteller is a local man who, at night, entertains the patrons of the coffeehouse by impersonating different people, animals, and things. His impersonations include the dog, the tree, the coin, Death, the horse, Satan, the color red, and the two dervishes. Toward the end of the novel, the storyteller also tells a tale about his conflicted feelings towards his own gender identity. The storyteller is disdainful of religious zealots and he mocks the Hoja of Erzurum, whose followers ultimately kill the storyteller during their raid of the coffeehouse.

The Storyteller Quotes in My Name is Red

The My Name is Red quotes below are all either spoken by The Storyteller or refer to The Storyteller. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of My Name is Red published in 2002.
Chapter 54 Quotes

My fickle heart longs for the West when I'm in the East and for the East when I’m in the West.
My other parts insist I be a woman when I'm a man and a man when I’m a woman.
How difficult it is being human, even worse is living a human’s life.
I only want to amuse myself frontside and backside, to be Eastern and Western both.

Related Characters: The Storyteller (speaker)
Page Number: 354
Explanation and Analysis:

During his final performance at the coffeehouse, the storyteller has told the audience that, as a child, he became fascinated by women and even felt a desire to be a woman himself. After experimenting with cross-dressing, the storyteller recalls breaking out into a sung poem that he made up on the spot. The poem, which he sings again for the audience, is both comic and serious. The lyrics are somewhat childish and simplistic, with vulgar humor (“I only want to amuse myself frontside and backside”). On the other hand, the song also conveys feelings of conflicted identity, which is one of the most significant themes in the book. The storyteller’s emphasis on East and West also suggests that feelings of conflicted identity are particularly likely to be experienced by inhabitants of Istanbul, known as the nexus between East and West.

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The Storyteller Character Timeline in My Name is Red

The timeline below shows where the character The Storyteller appears in My Name is Red. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: I Am a Dog
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...in the audience who distrust the views of a dog whose master is a “picture-hanging storyteller.” Yet he points out that people love coffee and would “die” for coffeehouses. (full context)
Chapter 4: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...looks at the picture of the dog hanging on the wall, and laughs at the storyteller’s impersonation of the dog along with the rest of the audience. He suspects that the... (full context)
Chapter 10: I Am a Tree
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...who eventually died of grief, and the tree was sold again, this time to the storyteller. Last night the storyteller told the audience about the dog and the Hoja of Erzurum,... (full context)
Chapter 22: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...Shekure; however, the only stories that come to his mind are those told by the storyteller at the coffeehouse. (full context)
Chapter 46: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...blinded and then killed. The murderer is about to tell a third story when the storyteller begins to tell his own tale, this time from the perspective of Satan. The murderer... (full context)
Chapter 54: I Am a Woman
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
The storyteller imagines that people will object to him impersonating a woman, but he pays this no... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
The storyteller announces that he doesn’t care if the Erzurumis hear him singing. He has heard rumors... (full context)
Chapter 55: I Am Called “Butterfly”
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...over the floor; Black joins him inside, and they notice that the Erzurumis killed the storyteller. They go out into the night and Black says that he wants to search Butterfly’s... (full context)