The Symbolic Dimension of Mahfouz’s Novel, al-Ṭarīq, The Search (1964): From the Symbol of God/Spirituality to Social Problems

Mohamed Elarabawy Hashem, Sukron Kamil, Abdulfattah Omar


This article intends to examine whether al-Ṭarīq's novel, The Search is a philosophical symbolic novel, especially whether it contains symbols of God/spirituality and social symbols of contemporary Egyptian problems. The article builds on a qualitative research method based on a literature review and Roland Barthes' semiotic theory. The novel is also studied based on other scientific literature studies, not only literary, but religious and social. The article finds that al-Ṭarīq's novel, The Search is Mahfouz's philosophical symbolic novel. Saber's father figure is a symbol of God/spirituality, with much evidence in the novel that shows this. Among them, in Arabic, God is called sayyed, the name of Saber's father; moreover his father's name is Sayyed, which means the lord of the lords, and his last name is ar-Rahi>mi>, the name of God, meaning Most Merciful. In addition, the novel reflects/on and symbolizes Egypt's social problems, both politically, economically, and culturally. Saber, among other things, reflects a corrupt Egyptian character raised by his pimp mother and Karimah, the woman he loves who exploits Saber's innocence to do evil (kill), a symbol of Western colonialism and other local influences, the power of local capitalism and complicated bureaucracy. Other elements explored in the novel include contemporary Egyptian psychological problems, represented in dream material, and figures who have divided personalities.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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