Gender Roles In Midaq Alley

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In a time where Egypt was reestablishing its identity as a country after the independence from British control, Naguib Mahfouz sets his novel Midaq Alley, a microcosm of Egypt during World War II. The war offers new opportunities for Midaq Alley residents opposite for most of the world. As a result, the gender roles start to change in the Egyptian society. Mahfouz discusses the corruption Egypt witnessed in the structure of the society during WWII which is clearly demonstrated through Hamida, the central of the novel. The microcosm in Midaq Alley doesn’t constitute a “good society” because people in the alley create a materialistic society instead of a society built upon ethic and morals. Moreover, the alley represents a sterile struggle for…show more content…
Abbas, a barbershop owner, goes off to work for the British army to reach his ultimate goal: Hamida. He wanted to earn enough money to afford their marriage and fulfill Hamida’s desires. Abbas’s departure for money influenced his deposition and sorrow. His absence from the alley led Hamida to leave with Ibrahim Faraj for prostitution and forget about her engagement with Abbas. Dr. Booshy, the alley’s dentist, robs graves for valuables along with Zaita, the alley’s beggar, to sell them and make profit such as the golden teeth Dr. Booshy sells to the alley’s residents. Running after money and wealth led to Dr. Booshy and Zaita’s downfall as they both got caught in the midst of one of their robs and got arrested. In his book, The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt supports Mahfouz’s point of view about materialism and states that money doesn’t buy happiness. He describes the pursuit of luxury goods as “a dead end that people race toward in the mistaken belief that it will make them happy.” Haidt believes that investing in relationships and activities is the key to happiness rather than investing in money which is the opposite of what the alley’s people did which led to the society’s

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