My Name is Red

My Name is Red

The Book Symbol Analysis

The Book Symbol Icon

The main source of conflict in the novel is a secret book, intended to show off the splendor of the Ottoman Empire, that the Sultan commissions Enishte to create with the help of the master miniaturists. The project is highly controversial, due to the fact that the Sultan asks it to be completed in the European style, rather than in the traditional Islamic style. This is a direct violation of Islamic artistic practice, and several characters—such as Elegant, Master Osman, and the Erzurumis—thus consider the book to be sinful. However, the religious and moral legitimacy of the book is not clear-cut. While the book does violate Islamic doctrine, it is also intended to be a celebration of Islam, and it is commissioned by the Sultan, who is a religious leader as well as a political one. Although the book may not be a sin against God, it nonetheless has a powerful and sinister impact on Istanbul society. The arguments over the propriety of the book lead many Muslims to sins including murder. This highlights the theme that people’s obsession with virtue and sin can end up having a harmful effect, creating needless conflict and even fatal violence. At the same time, it’s unclear whether the book was the real cause of the murders, or whether the murderer used it as an excuse to kill Enishte. Often in the novel people denounce sin as a way of furthering their own power and authority, rather than as a sincere gesture of faith. Each of the characters’ position on the book, then, can be seen as guided not only by their religious beliefs, but also their own self-interest.

The Book Quotes in My Name is Red

The My Name is Red quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Book. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of My Name is Red published in 2002.
Chapter 58 Quotes

Had Enishte Effendi’s book been completed and sent to them, the Venetian masters would've smirked, and their ridicule would’ve reached the Venetian Doge––that is all. They'd have quipped that the Ottomans have given up being Ottoman and would no longer fear us.

Related Characters: The Murderer (speaker), Enishte
Related Symbols: The Book
Page Number: 399-400
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Book Symbol Timeline in My Name is Red

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Book appears in My Name is Red. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...from Enishte inviting him back to Istanbul in order to assist him with a “secret book” commissioned by the Sultan. Black walks through the city, marveling at how it has changed.... (full context)
Chapter 4: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...murderer began to feel nervous. He knew that rumors were circulating about Enishte and the book, and that Master Osman, the Head Illuminator, hated Enishte. The murderer realized with horror that... (full context)
Chapter 5: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
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
...together, and Enishte tells Black that the Sultan has commissioned him to make a secret book. Enishte has arranged for the most talented painters to each take on one part of... (full context)
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
Enishte admits that he cannot presently tell Black about the meaning of the book’s pictures, because he doesn’t know himself. He tells Black that he used to think that... (full context)
Chapter 7: I Am Called Black
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
...he is not afraid of death itself but is afraid of dying before finishing the book. Black promises to tell Enishte about everything he learns during his visits with the miniaturists,... (full context)
Chapter 16: I, Shekure
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...a nervous habit. He confesses that he’d been afraid of being murdered because of the book, but if Shekure and the boys leave he will “welcome death.” Shekure stops herself from... (full context)
Chapter 17: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...is an awkward tension between them. Enishte knows that Osman is angry about the secret book and resentful of having to imitate the European painters. Black puts a hand on his... (full context)
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...feel suspicious of Butterfly, and suddenly tells him he’s decided to cease work on the book, feeling that there’s “ill-fortune” in the project. At that moment, Elegant’s face is uncovered to... (full context)
Chapter 18: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...not “at all bothered” to hear Enishte announce that he would stop working on the book; Enishte must know that one of the miniaturists working on the book is the murderer,... (full context)
Chapter 20: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
When Enishte and the Sultan decided to create the book, the Sultan insisted that the story remain an important part of the manuscript; otherwise the... (full context)
Chapter 21: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
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
Enishte admits that he plans to ask Black to write the stories for the book. Enishte tells Black that, along with the three miniaturists, he has completed most of the... (full context)
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
...is dead. Enishte says that if he dies, he wants Shekure to ensure that the book is finished, and she promises that she will. Enishte notices that Shekure is smiling slightly,... (full context)
Chapter 22: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 23: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
The murderer quickly sketches a picture of an opium addict, which is part of a book he commissioned by a traveling Armenian. He has completed many of these books in order... (full context)
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Enishte kept the final illustration of the book secret, even from the miniaturists who were helping him to complete the other illustrations. The... (full context)
Chapter 25: I Am Esther
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...must finish the manuscript before he can hope to marry her. Hasan asks about the book, and Esther responds: “Our Sultan is funding the whole project they say.” Hasan mentions other... (full context)
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
In the letter, Black assures Shekure that he will complete the book, but that he is suffering a block due to the fact that he hasn’t seen... (full context)
Chapter 27: I Am Called Black
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...judge that he knows Shekure’s husband is dead. Shekure then urges Black to finish the book, as she believes it is bringing them trouble. Shekure explains how she came to marry... (full context)
Chapter 28: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...the murderer is afraid of the pictures they have produced. The murderer replies that the book is no longer a secret and that there are rumors about its sinfulness. He confesses... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...not afraid of death. He suggests that they show “them” the last illustration of the book to prove that they are not afraid. The murderer says that Elegant was killed by... (full context)
Chapter 29: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...then asks why Enishte is working with Black and not him. Enishte explains that the book does not require “a miniaturist’s skill,” and adds that Black is not a murderer. They... (full context)
Chapter 32: I, Shekure
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...that Enishte was murdered, and adds that the murderer stole the final picture from the book. She explains that, with Enishte dead, she will be legally required to return to Hasan’s... (full context)
Chapter 34: I, Shekure
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...he has no fear of this. He then asks Black what is depicted in the book; Black replies “nothing.” Hasan leaves, and Shekure returns to bed, after checking on Enishte once... (full context)
Chapter 36: I Am Called Black
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...listens anxiously to the sounds of the house. He stares at the illustrations for the book, trying to come up with a story. In the morning, Black is awakened by Hayrire... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...he tells the clerk that he needs to speak with the Head Treasurer about a book the Sultan has commissioned and shows him the illustrations. When the Head Treasurer finally appears... (full context)
Chapter 38: It Is I, Master Oman
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
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The Head Treasurer mentions the book and states that the Sultan thought Master Osman would be too busy to work on... (full context)
Chapter 39: I Am Esther
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
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Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...express condolences in the wake of Enishte’s death. Kabilye disapproved of Elegant’s work on the book and believes that he was murdered as a result of his involvement with it. Esther... (full context)
Chapter 40: I Am Called Black
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...not be tortured. The Sultan is giving him three days in which to scrutinize the book’s illustrations in order to find out who killed Enishte. If he does not come up... (full context)
Chapter 41: It is I, Master Osman
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Master Osman admits that he was horrified when he first saw the illustrations of the book, and has now decided to return to them in order to figure out what disturbed... (full context)
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Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Master Osman and Black look through the book and are able to attribute particular illustrations to Olive, Stork, and Butterfly. In this way,... (full context)
Chapter 42: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Just when Master Osman and Black have finished poring over the illustrations for the book, one of the Commander’s men brandishes a new piece of paper. Black is in the... (full context)
Chapter 52: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
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Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Master Osman declares that he will stay and stare at these books until he is forced to leave by the Sultan and Head Treasurer; however, Black realizes... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
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Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...been the one who planned the murders in order to obstruct the creation of the book. He continues to look through the books in the treasury until dusk and then announces... (full context)
Chapter 55: I Am Called “Butterfly”
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...beautiful wife that he is not alone. Black mentions that the final page of the book is missing, and that whoever killed Enishte stole it. He questions Butterfly suspiciously, asking why... (full context)
Chapter 56: I Am Called “Stork”
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
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Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...Butterfly’s knife at his throat, Stork identifies the artist responsible for each illustration in Enishte’s book, and notes that Olive drew the horse. Stork apologizes for the state of his house... (full context)
Chapter 58: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...been heading home from the coffeehouse when Elegant confronted him about the pictures for Enishte’s book, which Elegant considered to be “heresy.” (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
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Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...Enishte; the murderer evades the question, claiming that there was nothing truly blasphemous about the book, but that Enishte liked to pretend that there was. He then goes on to explain... (full context)
Chapter 59: I, Shekure
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...taken over by the European style, the tradition of painting in Istanbul dies altogether. Enishte’s book is never finished; Hasan flees and is never heard from again. Master Osman dies two... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
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Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...she exchanged with Hasan and Black, as well as the illustrations that remain from Enishte’s book. However, she warns the reader that Orhan may have embellished the narrative, as he is... (full context)