A Mercy

Malaik Character Analysis

Malaik is an orphan that the Blacksmith is caring for when Florens shows up at his house to tell him about Rebekka’s illness and beg to stay with him. Malaik is a young child, or perhaps a toddler, with dark skin. He carries around a cornhusk doll. Florens cares for Malaik while the blacksmith is gone, but resents Malaik because she feels that the blacksmith is going to choose Malaik over her. Florens accidentally breaks Malaik’s arm while she is trying to get him to stop crying, prompting the blacksmith to cast her out when he returns.

Malaik Quotes in A Mercy

The A Mercy quotes below are all either spoken by Malaik or refer to Malaik. 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:
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A Mercy published in 2009.
Chapter 9 Quotes

Right away I take fright when I see my face is not there. Where my face should be is nothing…I put my mouth close enough to drink or kiss but I am not even a shadow there. Where is it hiding? Why is it? Soon Daughter Jane is kneeling next to me…Oh, Precious, don’t fret, she is saying, you will find it. Where I ask, where is my face…When I wake a minha mãe is standing by your cot and this time her baby boy is Malaik. He is holding her hand.

Related Characters: Florens (speaker), The Blacksmith, Daughter Jane, Malaik
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:
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I want you to go…because you are a slave…
What is your meaning? I am a slave because Sir trades for me.
No. You have become one.
How?
Your head is empty and your body is wild.
I am adoring you.
And a slave to that too.
You alone own me.
Own yourself, woman, and leave us be. You could have killed this child…You are nothing but wilderness. No constraint. No mind.
You shout the word—mind, mind, mind—over and over and then you laugh, saying as I live and breathe, a slave by choice.

Related Characters: Florens (speaker), The Blacksmith (speaker), Jacob Vaark, Malaik
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
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Malaik Character Timeline in A Mercy

The timeline below shows where the character Malaik appears in A Mercy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...a little boy holding a cornhusk doll. The Blacksmith tells her the little boy is Malaik, and that he cannot be left alone. The boy’s father died while driving a cart... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...Blacksmith prepares his horse and asks Florens to water the beans and collect the eggs. Malaik sleeps behind the door of the Blacksmith’s bedroom. Florens takes off her boots (formerly Jacob’s... (full context)
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...her something. Florens tells her to go away. She hears a creak and knows that Malaik is standing near her cot. She gets up and asks him what he wants, but... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
...wakes up, she imagines that her mother is standing next to the cot and holding Malaik by the hand instead of Florens’s baby brother. Florens hides her head in the blanket. (full context)
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
The next day the Blacksmith is still gone and Malaik and Florens stay far away from each other. Florens watches the horses in the pasture... (full context)
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
...watches a snake crawl around the garden until nightfall and goes back into the cabin. Malaik returns to the house as well. At the dinner they are both quiet. Florens thinks... (full context)
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
Florens runs outside to avoid the sounds of Malaik’s cries. When he finally is quiet, she goes back inside and finds that the doll... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
Florens hears the Blacksmith outside. He rushes inside and shouts for Malaik. When the Blacksmith sees Malaik limp on the floor, he becomes furious, pushing Florens and... (full context)
Chapter 11
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...hammer before he wrestled it away from her. Florens then tried to bite him, while Malaik screamed. Florens grabbed the tongs the Blacksmith uses to work metal and swung them at... (full context)