Study of the setting and its functions in the novel Alam bi-la Kharait jointly authorrd by Abdul Rahman Munif and Jabra Ibrahim Jabra

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. student, Department of Arabic Language Literature, Science and Research Brach, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Professor, Department of Arabic Language Literature, Science and Research Brach, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professer, Department of Arabic Language Literature, Islamic Azad University, Garmsar, Iran

4 Professer, Department of Arabic Language Literature, Tehran University, Iran



Introduction:  Since the advent of the genre of novel in the eighteenth century, the technical element of setting has been a component to determine the plot; however, its role has become much more important in modern novels, and it is not simply a field for the actions of the heroes and the occurrence of the events. Sometimes, with its usual function, this element has played an independent and effective role in the course of the events and the relationship among the characters. The novel of Alam bi-la Kharait is coauthored by two great Arab world novelists, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra and Abdolrahman Mounif. It reflects a social theme, and a picture of Arabic societies in 1979 has been displayed. Since the title of this novel implies the setting, it is absolutely important to investigate the element of setting in this novel and to discover its dimensions and functions.
Methodology: This essay, through a descriptive-analytic method, investigates and classifies the most important settings in the novel Alam bi-la Kharait jointly written by two famous Arab novelists, Abdul Rahman Munif and Jabra Ibrahim Jabra. The procedure, in the first place, is to introduce and find examples of open and closed as well as private and public settings and then to investigate the bases of those examples and their technical functions. According to the results of the research, except the city of Amorium which plays the usual role of a setting and is symbolized as the main setting of the novel, the rest of the open and closed as well as public and private places, such as the multiple houses, villages, restaurant, sea and university, had often functioned as the tools of characterization. However, when these settings are described in detail, they can serve to make the events believable, create an emotional atmosphere, and convey the sentiments of the characters of the novel to the reader.
 Results and Discussion: The denouement and even the discovery of the mysterious character of Najva, the heroine of this story, is only possible through the element of setting. Another notable point regarding Amorium is that, through a monologue and based on the psychological analysis of the women characters in communication, Aala calls them Amorium or Madineh, ranging from Naeleh, his teenage love, to Najva and then Mayadeh. The narrator wishes to make the reader understand the symbolic secret that Najva is his homeland which he has lost for many reasons and is now in the hands of strangers, and Aala, tired and wandering in search of another homeland, opens his heart to beautiful Mayadeh. So, he may replace his lost love with her love and affection. It is directly pointed that “Mayadeh is another Amorium of mine and I cannot lose her.” Mayadeh (the substituted homeland), although beautiful, never replaces Najva (the main homeland). So, he says “Mayadeh should forgive me forever, because Najva isn’t forgettable.” The mysterious presence of women characters in this novel not only provides an appropriate basis for expressing female emotions and a romantic content but also is mixed with the concept of the homeland (Amorium). These women characters appear in the novel as complicated and mysterious characters. Through analyzing these women characters, we can figure out the importance of the setting of “Amorium” and the deep relationship between them. In the end, with the mysterious murder of  Najva, the novel, just like postmodernist stories, comes to an open end, and the investigators of the truth steep themselves in the ambiguities of her case, just like Amorium which had vanished in the history.
Conclusion: In the novel Alam bi-la Kharait, it is deduced that the setting of Amorium with all its symbols, such as streets, sidewalks, neighborhoods, and their houses, has at least two important functions. First, the technical functions of characterization have been selectively dealt with. Second, there is the symbolic function meaning that this place is the main setting of the events of the novel and is simultaneously the symbol of the whole Arab world due to its indeterminacy. So, two advantages can be gained. First, the discussed events and mental and social matters regarding that place can be generalized to the whole Arab world. Second, a wide range of readers from the Arab world can consider themselves as its direct addressees and have a deep communication with the content. Otherwise, if the setting had been determined to be Beirut or Baghdad instead of Amorium, the extent of the generalization of the discussed matters would have declined to be restricted to the same cities and their residents, and the number of the addressees would have declined too.


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