My Name is Red

My Name is Red

My Name is Red Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Hayrire returns with Esther, Shekure is spying on Black and Enishte. She worries that Black’s love for her will not be “eternal,” and if he continues to be unable to marry her he will surely fall in love with someone else. Shekure is also concerned that Hayrire might be snitching on her to Enishte. Shekure snatches the letters from Esther’s hand and reads Black’s first. She then reads Hasan’s letter, which she feels confirms that he’s gone mad. Hasan tells her he’s heard about her dream, and that he intends to go to the judge to force her to return to his father’s house. Shekure begins writing a response to Black and pauses. Esther reassures her that everything will be alright, and when Shekure doubts whether anyone would want to marry a widow with two children, Esther insists that “a slew of men” would.
Until this point, Shekure was happy to coyly evade Black’s advances and remain at home with Enishte. However, it becomes clear in this chapter that the stakes have been raised and Shekure feels that the time for her to act is running out. Meanwhile, it is hard to know whether Esther’s reassurances are well-founded or not. She seems to believe that just because Shekure is beautiful and the daughter of a wealthy man, everything will turn out fine. Yet terrible misfortune has befallen Shekure before, and could do so again.
Themes
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Shekure hears Black and Enishte discussing the European portrayal of facial expressions in the next room. She spies on them and is shocked to see that Black’s handsome face is completely pale. She fantasizes about kissing and embracing Black and about the size of his penis, but her thoughts are interrupted by Orhan and Shevket, who are squabbling. She writes a note to Black promising that she will meet him at the house of the Hanged Jew. She doesn’t respond to Hasan’s letter, though she admits that she loves him as well, particularly after learning that he makes a lot of money. Shekure takes Shevket to one side and asks him to deliver a letter to Black, but Shevket protests that yesterday Black admitted that he killed Shevket’s father. Shevket cries and Shekure slaps him, before embracing him.
Just as Black fantasizes about having sex with Shekure during his conversation with Enishte, she fantasizes while watching them. This parallel suggests that they have grown perfectly in sync through their love, despite having still not seen one another face-to-face. At the same time, Shekure admits that she still loves Hasan, too, despite her feelings for Black and despite the way Hasan has behaved toward her. The strangeness of Shekure’s enduring love for Hasan could indicate that she does not really love him—perhaps she only claims that she does to the reader.
Themes
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Shekure notes that dreams are powerful. In Portugal, where Esther comes from, the Jesuits would torture Jews who claimed to be Catholic, forcing them to confess to dreams that proved they had sex with the Devil. Shekure adds that dreams are useful as a way of covertly expressing thoughts and desires that cannot be stated explicitly. Shekure sends Shevket to the kitchen and asks Orhan to deliver the piece of paper to Black. Orhan hesitates, but eventually agrees. Later, she calls the two boys together and scold Shevket for telling Orhan that Black killed their father. Shevket cries that he’d prefer Hasan to become their new father, and Shekure slaps him again. They all cry and embrace again, and Shekure sends them downstairs to eat. After Orhan successfully delivers the letter to Black, she sends the boys out to the market with Hayrire.
To some degree Shekure behaves in a similar way to her children, frequently alternating between quick-tempered anger, tears, and reconciliation. However, at least while they are young, Shekure is still permitted to make decisions on behalf of her sons and does not take their protests too seriously. Although Shevket is firmly against the prospect of his mother marrying Black, this does not seem to be based in any real objection to Black’s character, but rather only in Shevket’s childish fantasies. The fact that both Shevket and Orhan dream of marrying their mother confirms the idea that her beauty has a supernatural power.
Themes
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Shekure tries on different outfits and closes the door softly as she leaves, “like a ghost.” At the house of the Hanged Jew, she briefly thinks that Black will not come; however, shortly after, he arrives. He asks her to remove the veil covering her face, and after some resistance, she does. Black declares that she has become even more beautiful with time, and that he wishes he’d had a portrait of her to treasure during the 12 years they spent apart. They kiss, and Shekure is too happy to feel guilty. She thinks about how their embrace would be depicted by the master illustrators of Herat. At first there is some awkwardness and embarrassment between them, but as they begin to have sex this dies away. However, Black then asks Shekure to perform a “vulgar act” that so infuriates her that she shouts and pushes him away.
Shevket is often compared to a ghost. On one level, this emerges from the fact that she is a ghostly presence in the house, felt and sometimes heard but never seen. The veil covering her face further emphasizes her ghost-like quality, as if she exists behind a kind of mysterious haze. At this point in the novel, Shekure is ghost-like because she remains trapped in a marriage to a man who is probably dead, but not proven to be so. As a result, Shekure remains caught in a liminal (in-between) state of being, unable to move forward with her life.
Themes
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
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