“Half a Day” by Naguib Mahfouz is an allegorical short story that reflects the journey of life and the speed in which it begins and ends. It also gives representation to stages and changes that occur within a person during their time on Earth. “Half a Day”, can only be fully understood through its symbolism and is not intended to be interpreted literally. In order to fully understand the reader must be able to comprehend that each part has a greater meaning then the words that appear on the paper and that each meaning is greater than the one before. In addition, Mahfouz uses elaborate figurative and descriptive language, painting a vivid picture and allowing the reader to be present in the moment.
Though there are not many characters
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Where streets were once tree lined them are now busy markets and loud sirens adding to the bewilderment of the author. Through imagery the reader is able to see that modernization has taken over. The setting, story, and characters have all changed. The author is the only aspect that remains unchanged, at least from his vantage point. Both the author and the reader believe this to be true until a young boy approached him and offers, “Grandpa, let me take you across” (666). This is when the story comes into view and there is a clear understanding of what has actually occurred. Everything that happens in the narrative represents true to life experiences, it even includes the passing of one generation to another in a biblical context. This is seen in the personification of his father and his grandson, each holding the hand of the other and guiding them along until their objective is complete. The experiences that Mahfouz captures contain the soul of each and every human beings time on earth.
Naguib Mahfouz’s father says in “Half A Day,” “School’s not a punishment. It’s the factory that makes men out of boys. Don’t you want to be like your father and brothers?” (664)
The little boy in “Half a Day,” says “Grandpa, let me take you across.”