My Name is Red

My Name is Red

My Name is Red Chapter 53 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Black arrives at Esther’s house and she tells him she will meet him outside. She explains that Shekure’s first husband is back and that they are at “their” house. She says that Hasan visited Enishte’s house and told Shevket that his father was coming back from war, so Shevket went to Hasan’s house to wait for him. Shekure, unsure of what to do, waited up all night for Black to come home, but when he didn’t come, she also went to Hasan’s. Black and Esther go to Hasan’s house, but first Black insists on taking a diversion. He gathers together a gang of men from the neighborhood armed with swords and axes. Esther warns Black to be careful; the night before, Erzurumis raided a tavern and a dervish house, beating up everyone inside and killing an old man. Black and his men surround Hasan’s house, but a blind beggar tells them that Hasan is not home. Black asks Esther to give Shekure a note saying he has found the murderer.
The narrative momentum continues to build in this chapter, creating the impression that everything will soon erupt in a dramatic climax. Not only must Black deal with the imminent identification of the murderer, he must also now take Shekure away from Hasan’s house, and at the same time dodge the raging Erzurumis who are wreaking destruction on the neighborhood. Of course, each of these forces—the murderer, Hasan, and the Erzurumis—also conspire to keep Black and Shekure apart. Thus Black and Shekure’s love story becomes a thread uniting many different aspects of the narrative.
Themes
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Esther fears for her safety and regrets getting involved in Black’s business. She enters Hasan’s house and announces that Black is waiting outside, before giving Shekure the note. Shekure manages to take Esther to one side and explains that she is only at Hasan’s house because of Shevket, and that she was told that Black had been tortured and had confessed to involvement in Enishte’s murder. Shekure says she will go back to Black as long as he promises to treat her sons well and not to inquire about why she went to Hasan’s house. Hasan’s father says he will not permit Shekure to leave, and that Shekure’s first husband is on the way home from Persia. Esther goes back outside and tells Black that Shekure is confused, but wants to come back to him. She hatches a plan of attack with Black, and then returns to the front door, which Hasan’s father once again answers. She tells Hasan’s father that everyone knows Shekure was legally widowed and remarried and that he has thus kidnapped a married woman. Shekure cries, and at this moment Black’s men descend on the house.
In private, Shekure is a strong-willed, persistent, and even quite bossy person who acts according to her own beliefs. However, when she is forced to make decisions in the public eye, she takes on a passive role. Although it can create chaos and confusion (as it does in this scene), Shekure’s passivity is in keeping with the expectations of women at the time. At the same time, it also means that Shekure relies on Esther to communicate with Black and make decisions on her behalf. (Although Esther is also a woman, as a Jew she is also an outsider within Istanbul society, and thus different rules apply to her.) Shekure’s friendship with Esther is useful, but also risky, as Esther often behaves in a duplicitous, untrustworthy manner.
Themes
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
As the sounds of the attack echo through the house, Hasan’s father says that if Shekure wants to leave, she can go. The children cry, and Esther urges Shekure to put on her veil and get out, but Shekure expresses fear about Hasan’s revenge. Shekure says that she will have to be taken out by Black’s men, but Esther knows that this will be violent. Suddenly, Esther has the idea that Orhan should open the door; as soon as Orhan hears this, he scampers off as if he’d been waiting all along for permission. Shevket makes a fuss as they prepare to leave, and Hasan’s father kindly warns them to be wary of Hasan’s desire for revenge. Esther, Shekure, Hayrire, and the boys walk in the darkness back to Enisthe’s house. On the way, they pass by the coffeehouse, which is being violently raided by the Erzurumis. Black urges the women and boys to head home, promising he will follow shortly.
In order to escape with minimal risk of harm, Shekure and her children must rely on being perceived as “innocent” by the men around them. This is why Shekure refuses to leave of her own accord; as long as she maintains the passive, “innocent” role of a submissive wife, she will be able to keep herself relatively safe. On similar grounds, it makes sense to use Orhan as a decoy in order to get them out of the house, as no one will blame a six-year-old child for the decisions he makes. Of course, in reality, both Shekure and Orhan do have their own opinions and agency and are not necessarily any more “innocent” than the other characters.
Themes
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon