Season of Migration to the North

Sa’eed (junior) Character Analysis

Sa’eed is seven years old. He is the youngest son to Mustafa Sa’eed and Hosna bint Mahmoud, and the younger brother to Mahmoud. He is named after his paternal grandfather. Right before his death, Mustafa Sa’eed designates the narrator as guardian of Sa’eed and his brother and asks the narrator to spare his sons the pangs of “wanderlust.” Sa’eed and his brother end up as orphans after their mother dies of suicide after killing Wad Rayyes.

Sa’eed (junior) Quotes in Season of Migration to the North

The Season of Migration to the North quotes below are all either spoken by Sa’eed (junior) or refer to Sa’eed (junior). 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:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the NYRB Classics edition of Season of Migration to the North published in 2009.
Chapter 4 Quotes

“…mysterious things in my soul and in my blood impel me towards faraway parts that loom up before me and cannot be ignored. How sad it would be if either or both of my sons grew up with the germ of this infection in them, the wanderlust.”

Related Characters: Mustafa Sa’eed (speaker), The Narrator, Mahmoud, Sa’eed (junior)
Page Number: Book Page 56
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sa’eed (junior) Character Timeline in Season of Migration to the North

The timeline below shows where the character Sa’eed (junior) appears in Season of Migration to the North. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Migration and Identity Theme Icon
On a July night, during a summer season when the Nile river floods, Mustafa Sa’eed disappears. The village men search for him along the riverbank, but they cannot find his... (full context)
Migration and Identity Theme Icon
Although Mustafa Sa’eed died two years earlier, the narrator continues to think of him while living in Khartoum.... (full context)
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The narrator listens to the Mamur, without mentioning that he himself had known Mustafa Sa’eed, and that he has died by drowning (quite possibly a suicide). When he died, Mustafa... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
Conquest and Colonialism Theme Icon
Migration and Identity Theme Icon
...begins discussing who was the first Sudanese to marry an English woman. Someone identifies Mustafa Sa’eed as the first. (full context)
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Conquest and Colonialism Theme Icon
Migration and Identity Theme Icon
The man who identifies Sa’eed says that Sa’eed had settled in England and had worked for the British in the... (full context)
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Migration and Identity Theme Icon
An Englishman at the party goes on to recount what he heard about Mustafa Sa’eed: that he had become a darling of the British aristocracy in England, as well as... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...states that he does not want them to think that he became obsessed with Mustafa Sa’eed after his death, although he continues to return to the village every year from Khartoum... (full context)
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On one such visit to the village, the narrator’s mind wanders back to Mustafa Sa’eed, especially since Sa’eed had left him a letter before his death, designating the narrator as... (full context)
Conquest and Colonialism Theme Icon
Migration and Identity Theme Icon
In the letter, Mustafa Sa’eed asks the narrator to spare Mustafa’s two sons Mahmoud and Sa’eed the “pangs of wanderlust.”... (full context)
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The narrator reflects that, if Mustafa Sa’eed has committed suicide, then he has undertaken the most “melodramatic” act of his life. He... (full context)
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Conquest and Colonialism Theme Icon
The narrator recalls Mustafa Sa’eed telling him that, at his trial, the jurors deprived him of the death that he... (full context)
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...father, testifying in the trial, said that he could not be sure whether to blame Sa’eed for his daughter’s suicide, or whether she had simply undergone a spiritual crisis. And so,... (full context)
Chapter 6
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That very same day, the narrator visits Mustafa Sa’eed’s house. He is greeted by Sa’eed’s widow Hosna and her two sons, Mahmoud and Sa’eed.... (full context)
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Hosna tells the narrator that it was as if, before his death, Mustafa Sa’eed knew his end was coming. He had arranged everything beforehand—paying off his debts, and even... (full context)
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...the future—about marrying again. She says she will never marry after the death of Mustafa Sa’eed. When the narrator mentions Wad Rayyes’s interest in her, she says she will kill him... (full context)
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The conversation turns to Hosna’s dead husband, Mustafa Sa’eed, about whom the narrator questions Mahjoub. Mahjoub expresses admiration for Mustafa Sa’eed; he tells the... (full context)
Chapter 9
Migration and Identity Theme Icon
...the details of Hosna’s murder-suicide, the narrator stands outside of the secret room in Mustafa Sa’eed’s house. He enters. Inside, he strikes a match and sees a face. He thinks it... (full context)
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The books on the walls are on all topics; among them are Mustafa Sa’eed’s own published books. None of the books is in Arabic. Above the mantelpiece is a... (full context)
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Another signed photograph depicts Isabella Seymour. When she met Mustafa Sa’eed, she was a church-goer and a married woman, raising two children. In a letter she... (full context)
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Sa’eed would quote Arabic poetry to Ann Hammond, and she would tell him that in his... (full context)
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The narrator picks up a photo of Mustafa Sa’eed with Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Robinson in Cairo, in 1913, and remembers the letter he... (full context)
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The narrator opens a notebook entitled “My Life Story—by Mustafa Sa’eed.” There is hardly anything in the notebook, except for a cryptic sentence. He finds sketchbooks... (full context)
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...turns to the painting of Jean Morris above the English mantelpiece. He recalls, again, Mustafa Sa’eed’s story of his relationship with Jean Morris, how she would torment and humiliate him at... (full context)
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After their marriage, Jean Morris refused to let Mustafa Sa’eed sleep with her. Two months into the marriage, he threatened her with a knife. She... (full context)
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While Mustafa Sa’eed had his moments of ecstasy with Jean, most of the time they were at war,... (full context)
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One cold winter’s night in February, Mustafa Sa’eed returned home to find Jean Morris stretched out naked on the bed in his London... (full context)