Originally Posted by An ISFp
Abbas the barber from Midaq Alley, is kind of resigned. Neither outstanding happy nor unhappy with his situation, he accepts his life and all ist facesttes the way it is and always was. He is comfortable with his life but not extraordinary happy. Although he has dreams, especially of one women called Hamida, consuetude and sloth and of course fear to destroy, what he has at the moment of her, namely the ability to dream about having her as a wife, make him not dare and not want to be proactive. If he took the initiative there are two things likely to happen. Maybe Hamida would accept to be his wife, and maybe she would shout, at him to leave. That is what change is about, you can win and you can loose but if you don’t try you will never know in which direction your life could have moved. Abbas has the ability to stay in the situation he is at the book’s beginning forever, without becoming desperate or having the feeling of having waste his life. That is because at this point he has no knowledge about which doors will stand open for him if he just opens them, if he opens himself for the change; at this point he does not know how his life could develope if he abandons himself to the change. But the fear of loosing everything that accounts for this life, which he does not dislike, for to try something, for to chose another pathway, that could bring neverending happyness but also on the other hand is linked to great risks, makes him remain in his situation. Naguib Mahfuz expresses in the character Abbas at the beginning of the novel that it is very difficult to accept change. He wants to say that change does not always include positive sides, but without change there is neither a chance for good development nor the possibility to make bad experiences. But even if changing resulted in a desaster, would it in addition result in experience, experience that takes us further in life and which enlarges the horizont. It follows that change is the most significant part of life. Without change there were no life to live because life depends on change, living means going through changes, developing and grow from experiences. That is what Naguib Mahfouz expresses and he goes on with the character development of Abbas, in order to show, wether it is really worth to go through that change.