My Name is Red

My Name is Red


Orhan Pamuk

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My Name is Red: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Black goes home and locks himself in his room, thinking about Shekure. Although she didn’t show herself that day at Enishte’s house, she made her presence felt, and Black is sure she was watching him. Black hears Shekure laughing and becomes paranoid that she is laughing at him. He imagines having sex with Shekure and begins to get an erection, before growing even more paranoid that Shekure can see him. In the afternoon, Shevket runs into Black and asks if he would like to see a dead cat at the house of the Hanged Jew. Shevket leads Black there and explains that the family who live there are having Esther sell the house. The cat’s body is gone, and Shevket remarks that Enishte says that “the dead wander.” Black corrects him, saying that it is only the spirits of the dead that wander. Shevket asks Black if he has ever killed anyone, and Black replies that he has killed two people. Shevket tells Black about Shekure’s dream that her husband is dead. Later, Black considers the fact that he will have to write stories for the book if he wants to marry Shekure; however, the only stories that come to his mind are those told by the storyteller at the coffeehouse.
Black’s inability to maintain composure while at Enishte’s house is rather comic; although Black has supposedly matured from the years in which he would hide behind his books and act strangely around Shekure, this scene makes it seem as if that is not really the case. However, there are sinister as well as comic elements at play in this passage. Shevket’s fixation with the dead cat further emphasizes the idea that death is everywhere. Note that the cat had been lying outside the house of the Hanged Jew—although there is no information about what happened to the Jew, the two combined seem to constitute a particularly bad omen. Shevket’s interest in death is not simply childhood curiosity, but instead results from the fact that he has spent years not knowing whether his father is dead or alive.
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