My Name is Red

My Name is Red

My Name is Red Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This chapter begins at the exact moment where the previous one finished, although with a shift to the perspective of Enishte’s six-year-old grandson Orhan. Enishte asks Orhan to kiss the hand of his uncle, Black, who greets him warmly. Enishte explains to Black that Orhan also has an older brother, Shevket, who is seven. Orhan tells Enishte that Shevket is with the master binder; both Orhan and Shevket serve as binding apprentices after Koran school. Enishte asks Orhan to leave them, but Orhan keeps listening to the two men’s conversation. Enishte wonders whether new forms of illustration mean new ways of seeing, and reflects about Elegant, who is still only missing but whom Enishte suspects has been murdered. Enishte explains that the miniaturists have been commissioned to create a Book of Festivities for the Sultan under the guidance of Master Osman. The miniaturists still call each other by the nicknames Osman gave them as apprentices: Butterfly, Olive, and Stork.
At first this appears to be a happy familial scene, although it is soon revealed that more sinister things lurk beneath the surface. Orhan seems to have a close relationship with his grandfather (note that they live in the same house), and Enishte is one of several adult figures who plays an active role in shaping Orhan’s development. The master binder, for example, teaches Orhan and Shevket a trade, which provides a useful supplement to their religious education. However, there is something disturbing about the causal way in which Enishte brings up Elegant and his possible murder. Enishte is similarly causal when discussing the Book of Festivities, as if he hadn’t just been describing the secret book minutes before.
Themes
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Orhan goes into the room of Hayriye, the enslaved woman owned by Enishte, and finds Shekure sitting there. She questions Orhan insistently, asking what Black and Enishte were doing, and Orhan imitates the two men in a mocking fashion. Shekure orders Orhan to go down to the kitchen and fetch Hayriye; Shevket is there, and he calls Orhan a “traitor” for leaving him alone with the master binder. Shevket grabs Orhan by the arm and makes him swear on the Koran never to leave without finishing his “duties” again. Hayriye covers herself to go outside, and when the boys ask her where she is going she says she is buying lemons, even though, according to Shevket, “the cupboard is full of lemons.” Shekure sneaks downstairs and separates her sons, gently slapping Shevket, who declares that when his father comes back, they will all go to live with “Uncle Hasan” again. This infuriates Shekure, who forces both her sons into a dark cupboard, before instructing them to wait in the kitchen until Black leaves. She orders them to remain seated and not to fight. Orhan tells her that Enishte’s gilder (Elegant) has been killed.
Because Orhan is only a six-year-old child, he doesn’t fully understand the events going on around him. As a result, the information provided in this chapter is often presented without explanation, provoking many unanswered questions. Why did Orhan leave the master binder’s workshop early? Where does Hayriye go, and why does she lie about needing to buy lemons? Who is Uncle Hasan, and why does Shekure become so angry when Shevket mentions his name? The use of a child’s perspective is a common narrative tool for increasing suspense, and thus can be used to particularly powerful effect in murder mystery stories.
Themes
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon