Season of Migration to the North

by

Tayeb Salih

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Sa’eed’s London Apartment Symbol Analysis

Sa’eed’s London Apartment Symbol Icon

Mustafa Sa’eed’s apartment in London, where he consummates his relationships with the English women whom he seduces, represents a fetishized version of his native Sudanese culture. Mustafa Sa’eed fills the room with the smell of incense, with small sparkling lights, and with rugs and paintings that all evoke a sense of the “exotic east.” As such, the room reflects a European colonial view of the “east” as a place that embodies the foreign, the savage, and the magical. In embodying many of the stereotypes that Europeans hold about the east, Mustafa Sa’eed’s apartment thus represents a reductive, fetishized, stereotypical version of his native culture. Sa’eed deploys this fetishized representation in order to lure English women such as Isabella Seymour, Sheila Greenwood, and Ann Hammond to him, knowing that his exotic roots are a major source of their attraction to him. The London apartment, moreover, stands in direct contrast to Sa’eed’s secret room in Sudan, which fetishizes his life in London.

Sa’eed’s London Apartment Quotes in Season of Migration to the North

The Season of Migration to the North quotes below all refer to the symbol of Sa’eed’s London Apartment. 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 9 Quotes

How ridiculous! A fireplace—imagine it! A real English fireplace with all the bits and pieces.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Mustafa Sa’eed
Page Number: Book Page 113
Explanation and Analysis:

“In London I took her to my house, the den of lethal lies that I had deliberately built up, lie upon lie: the sandalwood and incense; the ostrich feathers and ivory and ebony figurines; the paintings and drawings of forests of palm trees along the shores of the Nile, boats with sails like doves’ wings, suns setting over the mountains of the Red Sea, camel caravans wending their way along sand dunes on the borders of the Yemen, baobab tress in Kordofan, naked girls from the tribes of Zandi.”

Related Characters: Mustafa Sa’eed (speaker), The Narrator, Ann Hammond
Page Number: Book Page 121
Explanation and Analysis:

“I pressed down the dagger with my chest until it had all disappeared between her breasts. I could feel the hot blood gushing from her chest. I began crushing my chest against her as she called out imploringly: ‘Come with me.””

Related Characters: Mustafa Sa’eed (speaker), The Narrator, Jean Morris
Page Number: Book Page 136
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sa’eed’s London Apartment Symbol Timeline in Season of Migration to the North

The timeline below shows where the symbol Sa’eed’s London Apartment appears in Season of Migration to the North. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
...The next morning, he had woken up with Ann Hammond in his bed in his London apartment —a young, intelligent, pretty woman from an upper-middle class family. Mustafa had slept with her—as... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
Conquest and Colonialism Theme Icon
...fetishize him, Mustafa seduced her, and a month after their meeting, brought her to his London apartment —to his room evocative of the oriental “East”—to sleep with her. (full context)
Chapter 9
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
Conquest and Colonialism Theme Icon
...him that in his eyes she could see deserts. He took her to his “oriental” London apartment , where Ann would play his slave girl and he her master. She was found... (full context)
Gender and Violence Theme Icon
...Sa’eed returned home to find Jean Morris stretched out naked on the bed in his London apartment , her thighs open. As his eyes roamed over her body, he took out a... (full context)