My Name is Red

My Name is Red


Orhan Pamuk

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My Name is Red: Chapter 37 Summary & Analysis

Enishte’s funeral is “splendid,” attended by many important figures in Istanbul society. The presence of the Head Treasurer and Commander of the Imperial Guard make it clear that the Sultan is extremely distressed by Enishte’s death. Enishte is infuriated to see the murderer among the crowd, though he assures the reader that his soul is at peace. After death, Enishte’s soul was lifted through the seven Heavens by two angels, just as The Book of the Soul describes. During this time, he saw a fantastic array of colors that, before long, were overtaken by a “an absolutely matchless red.” Enishte knew that he was close to the presence of God, and he confessed about his experimentation with European painting styles. God assured him: “East and West belong to me.” Enishte is relieved to learn that the idea that the soul reenters the dead body after death is only a figure of speech. He experiences time in a non-linear fashion, his memories of childhood mixing in with his impression of his own funeral. He notes that the soul lives in four realms: 1) the womb 2) earth 3) Berzah (limbo), and 4) Heaven/Hell. Enishte reflects that it is both wonderful to be a soul without a body and to be a body without a soul.
Enishte’s experience of death is a distinct contrast to the narrative given by the dead soul of Elegant. Whereas Elegant’s soul remained disgruntled and infuriated by the fact that nobody realized he had been murdered, Enishte attains the peace and reassurance that cannot be obtained in life. Note that as Enishte nears the presence of God, he is surrounded by a brilliant shade of red. This does not necessarily suggest that God Himself is the color red, but rather it evokes a connection between the visual art to which Enishte has devoted his life and the divine. The fact that God seems not to mind that Enishte experimented with European painting styles provides an answer on this central debate that is surprisingly definitive given the multiplicity and complexity of opinions provided within the novel.
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
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