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A Handful of Dates

A short story by Tayeb Salih analysis breakdown
by

Alexa Dana corpuz

on 13 November 2013

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Transcript of A Handful of Dates

A Handful of Dates

Key Passages
“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.”
page 125

"I do not know why it was I felt fear at my grandfather’s words-and pity for our neighbour Masood."
page 126

"Be careful you don't cut the heart of the palm."
page 126

“Quickening my pace, it was as though I carried within me a secret I wanted to rid myself of.”
page 128
Summary
Conflict
Masood vs. Grandfather
The grandfather is taking advantage of the fact that Masood is in debt and is using his power against Masood by not offering him any dates.
Theme
The story discuses an important theme with regard to the absolute power which tends to corrupt the social level of society.
Setting
Takes place in Sudan, Northeast Africa around the 1930's
Character/Characterization
Plot
Tayeb Salih
Translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Alexa Dana Corpuz & Jessica Malicdem
Short Story Final Assignment
The grandfather treated Masood badly and accuses him of being a worthless man because Masood is not as fortunate as him.
He feels no mercy or sympathy
In reality the grandfather is a hypocrite to his grandchild and religion
Person vs. Person
Child vs. Grandfather
Tayeb has always been loyal to his Grandfather, thinking that he was a good man, and one day hopes to be like him until he sees who his grandfather truly is.
Intro: Characters are Masood, The grandfather and the narrator. It takes place in Sudan, Northeast Africa around thr 1930's
Inciting Force: The close bond between the grandfather and the narrator, learns about the koran and they are muslim.
Rising Action: The narrator thinks of his grandfather like a God, and dreamed of being just like him when he's older. Figures out the history between the grandfather and one of their neighbours(Masood).
Climax: The grandfather and the grandchild get invited to harvest some dates. Once Masood finished harvesting the grandfather separates the dates and leaves none for Masood.
Falling Action: Grandfather claims Masood was still debt to him. The narrator notices Masoods reaction, and realizes that Masood was hurt that the grandfather still kept a grudge on his that he was willing to let go of.
Resolution: Its come to realization that the grandfather was still holding a grudge on Masood, he feels no sympathy at all for Masood, the grandfather is more interested for the money than the mercy of the palm trees. Masood felt the trees were more important than the business and didnt care about it as much as the grandfather did.
Conclusion: The grandchild spits out the dates, as he realizes what his grandfather did was wrong and he couldnt cope with his grandfathers attitude toward Masood.

A handful of dates starts off with the narrator giving us a little insight of the strong bond that he and his grandfather had, we then find out more about how their relationship progresses throughout the story.

In the beginning the narrator mentions that he spent most of his childhood, following his grandfather his grandfatherwould take him to the mosque and they would learn the Koran. The narrator looked up to his grandfather, knowing that when hes older he will be just loke his grandfather, knowing that when he's older he will be just like his grandfather. Throughout the story we find out that the narrators grandfather had history with one of the neighbours Masood.
Masood is known to be an indolent man he was also the owner of all the riches in their neighbourhood such as; the date palm trees. Ever since Masood didnt have such good chemistry the narrators grandfather claims that Masood didnt treat him eith respect.
One day, Masood tells hus neighbours that the dates are ready to be harvested dispite the history between the narrators grandfathers and Masood, Masood still invites the narrators grandfather and grandchaild to take some dates. Once the dates have been harvested, the grandfather and the merchant including two unknown pele went towards the harvested dates and started to divide it. As they finished seperating the dates the narrator realizes that they left jo dates for Masood, before they left the grandfather said Masood was still debt to him.
After, the narrator witnessed his grandfathers cruelty he runs away and throws up all the dates he's eaten into the river because he realizes that whst his grandfather did was not right.

Masood: Foil character known to play any part, in the story since they didnt really go indepth with Masood.
Tayeb Salih: Protagonist, undergoes the changes throughout the story
grandfather: antagonist, realizes the greedyness of the grandfather.
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