A Reading of Desire, Circumstance and Conflict in “The Conjurer Made off with the Dish
Immolating the convention of existentialist literature, Mahfouz confronts the orthodox elucidation of the meaning of life, throwing a boy into predation into metropolitan mayhem struggling to quiet his search for value in the momentary context of one afternoon whilst surviving the hex of unpredictability leading him into utter loss and chaos delved deeper into the heart of urban idiocy – Mahfouz’s take on the madness of life itself, relieving it of the dishonest delineation other writers had stained on it. Showing us the naked and unstained truth of what we live in. Though, it is important to note that ‘The Conjurer’ is not simply a metaphorical allegory of life, rather it exemplifies the human psychology and the impulses of which we are subject to as the world lives as we live inside its void of unpredictability, driven by the point of anxiety – reason versus impulse; therefore the story upholds the sheer complexity and irrationality of living, tempered in the meek context of circumstance.
At first attempt the boy, when asked “to be(come) useful” fails in all the efforts he bequeaths walking back and forth “returning with an empty dish” time and time again ruminating the failure of the human person because of miscarriage of what is expected of him to know whilst constantly degraded by his own mother in the process. Life, therefore in this context pushes man down at the moment he begins to search for value in the world: “You’re good-for-nothing” and “stupid” the mother wales. On another light, while in the search for reason, we are attacked by temptation – which bites at even the most “delicious breakfast(s)”. “I found the conjurer looking straight at me. A stupefying joy overwhelmed me; I was completely taken out of myself”, even under the shadow of punishment, man seeks for momentary refuge among what he enjoys, and in the end blames the subject of his distraction to...
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