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Edward Bellamy and Tawfiq Al-Hakim are renowned for their extensive use of mythic forms in a great deal of their literary output. For example, Bellamy’s Looking Backward 2000-1887(1887) and Al-hakim’s The People of the Cave (1933) are archetypally handled as based upon the myth of The seven sleepers of Ephesus. Accordingly, the present study has demonstrated the unique usage of mythology by both writers in order to create an imaginary atmosphere in which their characters move between the glorious past of the old mythology and the real world in which they are victimized by the sovereignty of time and circumstance. In addition, the analysis of the selected works of Bellamy and Al-hakim, in the second and third chapters, has highlighted the correlation between mythology, dreams and reality. Furthermore, the analysis has discussed how both writers succeeded in metamorphosing the real world of their characters and their social issues into a mythological counterpart seeking interpretations of their reality.
Edward Bellamy and Tawfiq Al-hakim managed to use reality as a preliminary phase towards reviving old mythology. This mythology is employed to present new and original ideas of great value to the reader’s perception of his modern issues. A great deal of Bellamy and Al-hakim’s works was launched in realistic environments then the stream of action is metamorphosed into a mythic creation where it becomes identifiable with the world of mythology. Consequently, the real and the mythic elements intersect within the literary work so that analysis has highlighted reality and mythology as an integrate part, not as two extremes.
This study comparative consists of an introduction, three chapters and a conclusion. The introduction highlights mythology across the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It has also given a brief account of Edward Bellamy and Tawfiq Al-hakim as two writers who grounded a great deal of their works in the world of mythology. It also draws attention to the selected works of both authors to be analyzed in this study.
The first chapter, entitled mythology and the interpretation of reality, is a theoretical framework which introduces various definitions of mythology; as a form of language that is different from fables, folktales and legends. Mythology and history form an inseparable duality for the difficulty to tackle either of them rather than the other. As a matter of fact, history is a reservoir of facts and events that took place a long time whereas mythology is a cultural reservoir that gives a truthful image of its national culture. Thus, the power of mythology stems from its ability to function variously; as a kind of art capable of representing its culture, as a metaphor for being premised on symbols and images, and as a kind of dream shared by a great deal of its folks. The ubiquitous presence of mythology in all fields of life inspired Thomas Bulfinch to study and examine the various theories of mythology identified by philosophers. Only the historical and allegorical theories have been highlighted for their significance to understand the selected works.
Next, the chapter expounds on the analogy between mythology and dreams. Being purely psychic processes, mythology and dreams go through similar phases and deal with psychic issues. They tell one how to respond to various instances of delight, failure, disappointments or even those of success. Whereas dreams reflect what is happening in the psyche, mythology recounts cultural, social and political events by relating them to either past or contemporary life experiences. Therefore, Campbell identified dreams as private myths while myths are considered public dreams. In addition, dreams and myths arise from individual emotions and can be traced back to repressed wishes. Hence, dreams are crucial clues that can be utilized to understand the human psyche. Likewise, mythology is a cultural clue that helps the reader to understand the aspirations of the nation.
After that, the chapter tackled psychoanalysis as the source from which C.G. Jung extended his concept of collective unconscious. The research handled two forms of unconscious; the personal and the collective. The former handles the accumulated experiences and memories of the individual while the latter includes the collective experience and memories of the human race across ages. For Jung, the collective unconscious is inherited while the personal is acquired. The basic constituent of the collective unconscious is called primordial thoughts or archetypes. Those archetypes are numerous so the researcher has specified four major Jungian archetypes to examine in this study: the self, shadow, anima/ animus and the persona/ mask. The relationship between mythology and reality is another basic point demonstrated in this chapter.
As a matter of fact, it has been proved that every myth tells how a certain reality came into existence by explaining and interpreting such reality which Mircea Eliade identified as an eruption of the sacred into our world and that sacred is the cause of all real existence. Like Eliade, Northrop Frye considered reality an art of verisimilitude, of extended or implied simile because what is written seems like what is known and everything delineated in the myth is potentially typical of everything else. Frye developed an idiosyncratic seasonal strata based upon psychoanalysis and the Jungian archetypes. Frye’s strata include four myths; the myths of spring (romance), the myth of summer (comedy), the myth of autumn (tragedy) and the myth of winter (irony and satire).
The second chapter, entitled Reality, Myth and Dreams in Bellamy’s Looking Backward 2000- 1887 and Al-hakim’s People of the Cave, examines the real, the mythic and the psychological aspects tackled by both authors in the works mentioned above. Basically, Bellamy and Al-hakim have based these works upon the historical myth of The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, as narrated in christianity and Islam. As a matter of fact, Bellamy and Al-hakim have revived the same myth to serve different purposes. Bellamy yearns for a kind of change that would end up the economic, social and political crises of his time. He has been dreaming of a utopian society whose members would enjoy equality and justice whereas Al-hakim intends to symbolize the rigidly static intellectuals of his nation as well as his cultural shock after his unsuccessful sojourn in France. What makes the two works appear as unique is their malleability to be interpreted variously as being imbued with multitude of inspiring ideas and feelings to the extent that Al-hakim had fears of performing his drama on the stage.
Due to his prophetic dream, Bellamy has managed to introduce a new iconography of his promised America where people are all equal and law is the sovereign. The image of the coach has disappeared from new America as all members of the society enjoy equal opportunities and have the same duties. People would also enjoy the miracles of modern technology where they can by their needs from shopping malls and they can also use credit cards instead of carrying money in their pockets. Unlike Bellamy, Al-hakim has been keen to revive his characters in a quasi-mythic atmosphere and the only challenge they had to face was time. With the passage of time, those characters had found out the bitter reality that they were only travellers in time and they belonged to a historical era which had gone so returned back to their cave where they rose lately.
The chaotic nature of Bellamy and Al-hakim’s characters can be traced back to their oscillation in between reality and dreams. This oscillation is a by-product of Bellamy and Al-hakim’s turbulent psyches as well as their optimistic and pessimistic attitudes. Bellamy’s major character Julian West refuses to admit the nature of his dream and clings to the twentieth century with the Leetes whereas Al-hakim’s characters have voluntarily returned to their cave and the darkness of their psyches for losing the desire to exist in a world they feel alienated. In terms of Jungian archetypes, the researcher has examined the self, the shadow, the persona/ mask and the anima/ animus in LB and POTC.
The third chapter sheds light upon two societal myths; Doctor Heidenhoff’s Process by Bellamy and The Sultan’s Dilemma by Al-hakim. These works are remarkable for their ironical and satirical tones respectively. The analysis here runs in accordance with Northrop Frye’s strata as explained in the first chapter. The strategy of the research is to highlight the structure of both works, the various categories of characters and the six phases of the fourth seasonal strata (the mythos of winter). Bellamy’s DHP is a narrative that handles the tragedy of Madeline Brand who has been victimized by the memory of her disgraceful reminiscence while Al-hakim’s TSD is a satirical drama that handles the enforcement of law and justice. The characters delineated by both author are categorized into (alazons) imposters, (eirons) self-deprecators and (bomolochoi) buffoons. Each category has its crucial role in the overall structure of both works.
As for the six phases, they tackle the satire of low norm and criticize the society that does not change in the quixotic phase. Next, they handle the satire of the high norm where the existent society is replaced by a happy one and focus light upon the individual faults. After that, they emphasize the natural cycle with reference to the wheel of fate where time plays a pivotal role and the nemesis appear to right the balance. The last phase is dedicated to the world of horror and shock as death embodies the end of suffering and the setting is featured as prisons, places of execution or madhouses. Finally, the conclusion sums up the findings of the study