Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hasan's Coming of Age

During this reading of Leo Africanus I personally found the story through this coming of age to be the most engaging. It really started with the death of Hasan's grandmother which occurred when he was only eight, and then the audience begins to see him develop as a person. Muhammad sends his son to school (he later attends the most prestigious college in Fez) where Hasan becomes friends with Harun who is particularly known for his mischief. Hasan's interest in certain stories was particularly interesting. Kahli tells him all about the pirates and a shipwreck, where as Harun refuses to tell him what he has discovered when he disguises himself as a woman in order to spy on them. While Hasan and Harun are wondering around one day, Hasan sees his father in a tavern and really has no idea what to do. However, he brings it up later when he gets into a fight with his father about Miriam. She was going to be married to the Zarwali, but Hasan is strongly against it since he has heard stories of the man's violent ways and Muhammad is simply interested in the idea of being rich anyway.
I found Miriam's story to be the most intriguing yet devastating because even though Hasan was able to save her from being forced to marry the Zarwali, she was still punished for nothing when he naturally was upset with the outcome. It was incredibly unfair that she was accused of being sick and taken to another community.
Also, when it was discovered that the Castilians and Christians had officially conquered Melilla in Spain, it of course worried the Muslim population in Fez. I can barely even imagine what it would be like to constantly live in fear of making the decision between converting to a religion that is not my own and death. How could people possibly cope with this overwhelming horror in their everyday lives?

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