University of Newcastle upon Tyne Intl. Summer School Creative Writing: North of Where? Commentary on the power of Symbolism in Tayeb Salih’s story:” . The short story A Handful of Dates, by Tayeb Salih uses many different themes and literary techniques to tell a story of an innocent young boy discovering life’s. A Handful of Dates By: Tayeb Salih. This story is about a young boy whos looks up to his grandfather as a god. They are muslim which means.

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I remembered Masood’s singing, his beautiful voice and powerful laugh that resembled the gurgling of water. While he was running he started to feel some hatred towards his grandfather.

No one paid any attention to what he said and the boy seated at the very summit of the date palm continued, quickly and energetically, to work away at the branch with his ot till the clump of dates began to drop like something descending from the heavens. The strange thing was that I never used to go out with my father, rather it was my grandfather who would take me with him wherever he went, except for the mornings, when I would go to the mosque to learn the Koran.

Once the dates had been harvested, the grandfather and others went over towards the dates. How much control and power the narrator has is noticeable by way of the fact that Masood is given none of the harvest. In introducing the story, the boy gave rein to his imagination when tired of swimming, to picture to himself a tribe of giants living behind a wood, a people tall and thin with white beards and sharp noses, whom he likened to his grandfather.

The effectiveness with which Tayeb Salih mastered the use z symbolic features throughout “A Handful of dates” to tie the story’s external action to the theme and display the everlasting struggle between good and evil is one of the saliy reasons why this short story will continue to raise the interest and passion of millions of readers both locally and abroad.


With reference to the content of the story, the feeling of love the boy initially had for his grandfather is rather an admiration for his distinguished status in the society and can be attributed- as the writer tells us- to a human instinct to incline to supremacy.

A Handful of Dates by Tayeb Salih

The grandfather and the others sepearted the dates and left none for Masood. I would suggest you read Next Door by Kurt Vonnegut. The reference to colonialist- in its two forms: Quickening my pace, it was as though I carried within me a secret I wanted to bg myself of. Saadbhat October 28, 5: Women, and from the way my grandfather pronounced the word I felt that women was something terrible. My grandfather then continued: In A Handful of Dates by Tayeb Salih we have the theme of connection, control, greed, selfishness, rejection, injustice, conflict and coming of age.

Short Story Analysis: A Handful of Dates by Tayeb Salih – The Sitting Bee

He’s an indolent man and I don’t like such people. Heinemann, African Writers Series, No.

Would you have reacted the same and run away from your hero? That not everything is as they think it is. Would you have felt betrayed by your grandfather? When tired of swimming about, I would sit on the bank and gaze at the strip of water that wound away eastwards, and hid behind a thick wood of acacia trees.

After this, the little boy ran off because he know had a feeling of hate towards his grandfather. Marouan December 19, 9: Sarah November 7, This may be important as it could suggest that the narrator is consciously rejecting his grandfather due to his stance when it comes to Masood. Masood, my boy, was a much-married man. Your email address will not be published. Masood was then the owner of all these riches. His stories are celebrated for their high degree of originality, humoristic and symbolic airs as well as their incorporation of aesthetic and literary features.


Though none that I have read have a similar theme as A Handful of Dates. The little boy saw some people weighing the dateswhile other people were taking five to six of them and started munching, he even was munching on a few of the dates. Cite Post McManus, Dermot. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. The end of the story is also interesting as the connection that the narrator felt with his grandfather has been transferred to Masood.

For example, the river as a symbol helps make the boy’s change in heart towards his grandfather more meaningful and explains it better. When the writer quoted the boy saying in describing his grandfather’s unparalleled powerfulness: I want The Concept of cultural sudanese tradition as repersented by tayap salih in his short story A handful of date.

The reason was, no doubt, that I was quick at learning by heart and the Sheik always asked me to stand up and recite the Chapter of the Merciful whenever we had visitors, who would pat me on my head and cheek just as people did when they saw me with my grandfather. My grandfather gave me a fistful, which I began munching. I loved him and would imagine myself, when I grew to be a man, tall and slender like him, walking along with great strides.

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It is also possible that Masood is acting timidly due to the fact that he knows the dates will be unfairly distributed.