Season of Migration to the North

by

Tayeb Salih

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Season of Migration to the North can help.

Wad Rayyes Character Analysis

Wad Rayyes is an elderly man nearing 70 and a citizen of the small Sudanese village of Wad Hamid. He is good friends with the narrator’s grandfather, Bint Majzoub, and Bakri. Handsome and vain, Wad Rayyes is renowned in the village for his sexual exploits and his many wives, and he takes pleasure in telling stories of his romantic conquests. He becomes obsessed with Hosna bint Mahmoud, Mustafa Sa’eed’s widow, and insists on marrying her after Sa’eed’s death, in spite of Hosna’s refusal (and the fact that she is forty years his junior). Hosna’s father forces her to marry Wad Rayyes. When Hosna refuses to sleep with him, Wad Rayyes attempts to rape her, and Hosna responds by fatally stabbing him and killing herself. Wad Rayyes’s murder and Hosna’s suicide are the most violent and shocking act that the sleepy village on the banks of the Nile river has ever witnessed.

Wad Rayyes Quotes in Season of Migration to the North

The Season of Migration to the North quotes below are all either spoken by Wad Rayyes or refer to Wad Rayyes. 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:
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
). 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 6 Quotes

“You know how life is run here,” [Mahjoub] interrupted me. “Women belong to men, and a man’s a man even if he’s decrepit.”

Related Characters: Mahjoub (speaker), The Narrator, Hosna bint Mahmoud, Wad Rayyes
Page Number: Book Page 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“A week or ten days after you went away [Hosna’s] father said he had given Wad Rayyes a promise—and they married her off to him. Her father swore at her and beat her; he told her she’d marry him whether she liked it or not.”

Related Characters: Mahjoub (speaker), The Narrator, Hosna bint Mahmoud, Wad Rayyes
Page Number: Book Page 101
Explanation and Analysis:

“The red straw mat was swimming in blood. I raised the lamp and saw that every inch of Bint Mahmoud’s body was covered in bites and scratches…Wad Rayyes had been stabbed more than ten times—in his stomach, chest, face, and between his thighs”

Related Characters: Bint Majzoub (speaker), The Narrator, Hosna bint Mahmoud, Wad Rayyes
Page Number: Book Page 104-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Season of Migration to the North LitChart as a printable PDF.
Season of Migration to the North PDF

Wad Rayyes Character Timeline in Season of Migration to the North

The timeline below shows where the character Wad Rayyes 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
...it at such a late hour. As he walked, he heard one of the villagers, Wad Rayyes , making love to his wife, and he remembered Mustafa Sa’eed’s description of “two thighs,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
Modernity and Change Theme Icon
...have now been replaced by automated pumps. There, the narrator finds his grandfather with visitors: Wad Rayyes , Bakri, and Bint Majzoub. In the house, the narrator again feels a sense of... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
After the guests leave, the narrator’s grandfather informs the narrator that Wad Rayyes wants to marry Mustafa Sa’eed’s widow, Hosna. Wad Rayyes has invited the narrator to lunch... (full context)
Chapter 6
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
Conquest and Colonialism Theme Icon
...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 and herself if she is... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
The next morning, Wad Rayyes comes to visit the narrator, unable to wait even until their appointed meeting time later... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
...finds working in his field, and they discuss the conflict over Hosna’s potential marriage to Wad Rayyes . Mahjoub tells the narrator that if Hosna’s family agrees to wed her to Wad... (full context)
Chapter 8
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
...after the narrator’s previous departure from the village, Hosna’s father had forced her to marry Wad Rayyes . For two weeks after the wedding, Wad Rayyes kept complaining that Hosna refused to... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
...share any details about the recent events. He mourns the death of his good friend Wad Rayyes , and cries before the narrator; it occurs to the narrator that he has never... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
...tells him that, one night, she woke up to the sound of Hosna screaming in Wad Rayyes ’s house. She thought that Wad Rayyes was finally getting his way with Hosna and... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
Bint Majzoub and a few others broke down the door. Inside, they discovered Wad Rayyes ’s naked body, stabbed more than ten times in the torso, and Hosna Bint Mahmoud’s... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
Migration and Identity Theme Icon
Modernity and Change Theme Icon
Mahjoub says that before her marriage to Wad Rayyes , Hosna had approached him and asked him to ask the narrator to marry her,... (full context)