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Handful of Dates

In: English and Literature

Submitted By loloboy11
Words 1859
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“A Handful of Dates”

The Story “A Handful of Dates” by Tayeb Salih is about a boy whose feelings for his grandfather were changing little by little. First the boy loved his grandfather. He liked to spend a lot of time with him because he felt his grandfather was a perfect person with a pure heart. Also, he wanted to be like his grandfather in the future. The boy and the grandfather had a neighbor named Masood who his grandfather didn’t like. The boy felt curious about what happened with his neighbor, but when the boy asked his grandfather about Masood, the grandfather said bad things about him. After that, the boy realized that Masood was a person with happiness and he remembered his beautiful voice. That’s why he started to change his mind about his grandfather because he realized his grandfather was not what he thought. Throughout the story, the boy learned what he saw and believe was not always true and sometimes people are not how you imagine. At the beginning of the story, the boy loved his grandfather. He admired and looked up to his grandfather. He wanted to be just like him. The boy says, “The strange thing was that I never used to go out with my father, rather, it was my grandfather takes me with him wherever he went.” (P.2) This shows, the relationship between the boy and his grandfather,. The boy loved to go where grandfather takes him to because the boy liked him so much. For another example, the boy says, I loved him and would imagine myself, when I grew to be a man, tall and slender like him, walking along with great strides.” (P.3) This means, the boy thanks that, his grandfather’s height seems high because the measurement of his respect or honor his grandfather. When you respect someone they looked bigger than usual. These things show us that the boy loved his grandfather and respect what his grandfather does and said. Later, the boys feeling toward his grandfather changed. Since the boy was pure hearted, he loved the nature. The boy says, “I used to love the mosque, and I loved the river too” (P.2). This shows, the boy was a pure hearted person that is why he views the nature as is and loved it. Similarly, the boy was pure hearted so he totally believed in his grandfather without having any questions of what he did and said. For another example, the boy says, “who would pat me on my head and cheek just as people did when they saw me with my grandfather.” (P.2) This means, people around him liked how he treat his grandfather like sincerely based on his personality because of that people around him liked him and showing their feeling with some gestures. However, his personality impacted his decision in the end of story.
In addition, the boy seems smart in the beginning of the story, According to the boy, “The reason was, no doubt, that I was quick at learning by heart” (P.2) This shows, the way he learned by something was so quick and kept the true meaning inside of him like totally understand the deeper meaning. That made me to think him as a smart person. For another example, the boy says, “I used to know when my grandfather wanted me to laugh, when to be silent; also I would remember the times for his prayers and would bring him his prayer rug and fill the ewer for his ablutions without his having to ask me” (P.3) In other words, the boy was smart that he knows what to do before his grandfather actually told him what to do. Therefore, he understands the true relationship between the Masood and his grandfather. Later, his smartness affected his respect toward his grandfather.
Furthermore, the boy was curious about many things. The boy says, “Before my grandfather ever replied to my many questions” (P.3) This shows, the boy has a lot of questions within him about something and want his grandfather could gave him an answer. Because, the boy believe his grandfather is a perfect man who has a solution for the problem that idea is based on his admiration on his grandfather but his curiosity made him to question about the relationship between Masood and his grandfather.
Similarly, the boy starts to be curious about how his grandfather feels about Masood because it made him think something was wrong. The boy says, “One day I asked him about our neighbor Masood. I said to my grandfather: ‘I fancy you don’t like our neighbor Masood?’ ” (P.3) This means, when the boy asked about Masood his grandfathers reaction was weird than who was used to be. Therefore, the boy’s curiosity expanded. For another example, the grandfather says, “‘He’s an indolent man and I don’t like such people.’ I said to him: What’s an indolent man?’” (P.3) In other words, the grandfather point out that he doesn’t like Masood and explained Masood’s personality as a lazy person, which made the boy have to ask his grandfather about indolent man and having a question about why does his grandfather use such a word to describe the Masood. However, the boy believes at first that Masood was a lazy person because his grandfather told him that way.
After, the grandfather tells the boy about Masood’s land and showing a grandfather’s other part of personality was greedy. The boy started felt sorry for Masood. The grandfather says, “‘Yes, my boy, forty years ago all this belonged to Masood – two thirds of it is now mine.’” (P.4) It was a shocking news for the boy, he believes that his grandfather as perfect person so he should have these land. However, he doesn’t. Which made the boy started felt some doubts about his grandfather little by little, so he may not the perfect person. For another example, the grandfather says, “I think that before Allah calls to him I shall have bought the remaining third as well.” (p.4) the grandfather shows his greedy side by telling the boy that he would take what’s left over for the Masood even he already has a lot of land. Which made the boy felt a doubt over complete respect don’t want him to do what he wants to do.
When Masood invited his grandfather and the boy go to the harvest. That made the boy felt tension from Masood that he didn’t want his grandfather to attend the harvest. The Masood says, “‘We’ll be harvesting the dates today,’ said Masood ‘Don’t you want to be there?’” (P.5) Masood actually invited the grandfather even their relationship wasn’t that pretty. However, the boy says, “I felt, though, that he did not really want my grandfather to attend.” (P.5) According to the boy, Masood was not fully wanted the grandfather to attend but ask him to come. Unlikely than the Masood, grandfather seems happy to attend. Therefore, the boy notices that his grandfather was too happy to get profits from the dates. The boy says, “My grandfather, however, jumped to his feet and I saw that his eyes sparkled momentarily with an intense brightness.” (P.5) This show, how happy he was by going to the harvest that gives him profits. Later, this invitation and what happen during the harvest was big part of the boys change.
Therefore, the boy notices that his grandfather was too happy to get profits from the dates. The boy says, “My grandfather, however, jumped to his feet and I saw that his eyes sparkled momentarily with an intense brightness.” (P.5) This show, how happy he was by going to the harvest that gives him profits. During the harvest, the boy saw that no one paid attention to Masood so the boy felt that no one respected the Masood. According to the boy, “No one paid any attention to what he said.” (p.5) In other words, no one cares about Masood that he was there for other people treated like him an outsider. That affected more on the boy by having a feeling of sorry about Masood that what other people did to Masood is wrong which they shouldn’t suppose to do. Since, the boy thinks his grandfather made a sin on the Masood. The boys wanted to get forgiveness from Masood. The boy says, “I felt myself drawing close to Masood , felt my hand stretched out toward him as though I wanted to touch the hem of his garment.” (p.7) Because, the boy wants to get forgiveness from the Masood for what his grandfather did to him by touching the hem of his garment. The boy wanted to do the same thing as the woman from the bible who asks for the solution from the Messiah. According to the bible, “Having heard that the messiah was near, the woman said with herself, ‘If I may but touch the hem of his garment. I shall be whole.” (Matthew 9:20-9:21) It shows, the woman seeking for the forgiveness and she has what she hope for. Later, the boy’s sympathy on Masood affected him on his reaction. In the end of the story, the boy ran off from his grandfather even his grandfather called him to stop and also the boy make himself throw up the dates. Since, he saw how his grandfather treated Masood. The boy hated his grandfather. The boy says, “I ran off into the distance. Hearing my grandfather call after me, I hesitated a little, then continued on my way.” (P.7) It shows, the boy doesn’t respect his grandfather anymore, if he does respect him, the boy must stop at all cause. In another example, the boy says, “I felt at that moment I hated him. Quickening my pace, it was… I put my finger into my throat and spewed up the dates I’d eaten.” (P.7) In other words, the boy doesn’t want anything is from his grandfather and he is using a word “HATED” to describe his emotion about his grandfather. Which was a quite a shocking change for him because he admired his grandfather and think him as a role model in the beginning of the story. However, the boy considered these matters as a betrayal so now, the boys feeling toward his grandfather totally changed into disrespect. This story reminds me that the true beauty is not always come out as you thought of. Beneath of the beauty, there are opposite sides of it. It may seem different than what you think it is. Similarly, rose has its torn and floating swan looks beautiful but who move its legs so fast in order to stay floated. Throughout the story, the boys feeling toward his grandfather turns dramatically because he realized the truth about his grandfather that wasn’t like what he imagined about him. In today’s society, many people misjudge the other people by their impression. They think, they know other people but after the while they notice that their not the same person.

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