Analysis Of Mehdi Charef's Tea In The Harem

1527 Words 7 Pages
The environment in which one lives directs the way in which one lives. What makes up one’s surroundings influences one’s upbringing, personality, and overall outcome. When these influences are negative and trying, the subject in hand must adapt and build its survival around them. Negative impressions tend to lead to pessimistic lifestyle choices, creating an unsatisfactory existence that negates one from feeling hopeful. In Mehdi Charef’s Tea in the Harem, Majid’s social and environmental circumstances emulate hopelessness, creating the constant influence of despair which controls his life. Majid faces an ongoing inner struggle regarding his culture and how the French society sees him. Included in this struggle is Majid’s personal dilemma …show more content…
He surrounds himself with illegitimate activities and delinquent acquaintances, further investing himself in antisocial and demoralizing behaviors. Majid and his friends engage in running drugs, prostitution, drinking and smoking, and thievery. Each of them has sold out in his or her own way in attempts to survive the unforgiving circumstances of their places in society. Their means of sustaining life are reflections of despair. They each have sunk to the depths of society and no longer have hope for escaping. Instead, they accept their positions and settle for less, doing whatever to get by, no matter the risks or social implications. In Majid’s case, it is more comfortable to live with despair than try and fight it when he is faced with so many difficulties in life. Such as when his neighbor beats his wife, Majid accepts the scene as “routine” for the beatings are frequent and regular. He is indifferent to the physically abusive relationship next door because it is a part of Majid’s life, and he lets it be. This is a result of Majid’s hopeless and careless personality, which was heavily molded by social influences and stereotypes. Majid grew accustom to the negativity and in turn his personality modeled after hopelessness and carelessness, knitting despair into Majid’s identity. He surrounds himself with friends who feel the same way to meet his desire of belonging to a group. With …show more content…
A significant struggle for the family is Majid’s father, whose head injury left him with the mental processing of a child. Majid becomes the primary male example in his family following his father’s injury, a position that does not excite Majid. Instead, assuming the part of “lead man” makes him feel even more under pressure and victim to his mother’s judgment. It is expected from Majid’s mother that he steps up and take on the role that his father once played, yet Majid does not fit the same mold. Majid is stuck wondering where he fits in, feeling out of place in the environments others want him to be comfortable in. He is not suited for the “working man’s” life, creating a sense of displacement within Majid that leads to carelessness. This carelessness fuels his despair because without caring for anything, there is no attachment or emotion behind Majid’s desires. His desires are frivolous and short-lived, desires that are heavily illegal and socially frowned upon. Majid’s ‘desires’ are far from ‘hopes,’ emphasizing how by caring for nothing he voids himself of hope and possibilities, leaving empty space for despair to come and fill in. Despair stitches itself into Majid, becoming one with his personality and a permanent reminder of the unfortunate events and circumstances that shape his life. This is seen in his attitude and behavior, both which Majid’s mother scolds him for. She points

Related Documents