The Conclusion of a Man's Life

Essay by lthompsonCollege, UndergraduateB+, March 2008

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Life is one of those things that pass by with a blink of an eye. Before a person knows it, they have only their memories to carry them into death. In the short story, “Half a Day”, author Naguib Mahfonz tells a story about a boy who develops from a child to an old man in half a day. Throughout the narrator’s life, he deals with growing up into a man than enters the slow declining of age. Being a stranger to himself, as told in a literal meaning compared to the symbolic use throughout the text, is where the reader makes connections from the beginning of the story to the ending of the story. The symbolic and literal meaning develops the story’s meaning of how life passes by with time. The narrator develops a sense of nostalgia that keeps him remembering the past while living in the present, whether it is positive or negative.

He mentions, “There was no question of ever returning to the paradise of home”, meaning never return to that little boy who arrived at the school years ago.

The writer, Naguib Mahfouz gives several examples where the reader may take his text as literal from the beginning to the middle of the story, and then several important transitions take place. The story begins as a simple tale of a boy going to school for the first time to learn how to be a man. The image of the boy’s mother appears only once, at the beginning of the story,” watching his progress” (pg. 506). But by the end, the reader has been led on a symbolic journey through a man’s life, while the narrator has become an old man. I came across an early literal statement mentioned during the time at the school. Since...