“Half a Day” by Naguib Mahfouz Essay
The short story Half a Day by Naguib Mahfouz tells the experience of a young boy on his first day in school. The boy is afraid of going to school, as he has to spend the day away from home. At the end of the day in school, the boy goes through change and matures from a child to an adult.
The author of the story shows how change occurs in the course of a human being’s life. The author had gone through changes and many sufferings in the course of his life such as an attempted assassination that left him with an injured hand. His works depict that human sufferings are inevitable. Although the narrator is excited about the new clothes he has to wear to school, he resists going to school because he thinks that school is punishment. He asks his father, “Why school” (Mahfouz 1). His father tells him that school is not a punishment as it transforms boys into useful men (Mahfouz 1). Eventually, the father has to push the narrator inside the school gate because he hesitates. The pushing symbolizes that people are afraid of change and at times have to be pushed towards it as on their own they might choose to remain within familiar ground hence make no progress in their lives.
The period of the story is unrealistic because the narrator enters school as a young boy and leaves as an old man but the brief period captures the changes that occur in a person’s life. Moreover, the change is inevitable and one has to go through the challenges just as the narrator had to endure the accidents and dust filed winds in class. The author passes the message that life is not a bed of roses and one must encounter thorns along the way. One should have the courage to face life’s challenges as failing to do so will lead to failure. While in school, the narrator realizes that those ready to take advantage of the opportunities that life presents will have happiness and success despite the worries of life.
By the end of the school day, the narrator has learned a lot about life. When his father fails to turn up at the gate to take him home he has to walk and find his way home. On his way, he notices that many things have changed his life has truly begun as he experienced new things that would influence him for the rest of his life and he would not be the same. Deciding walking home alone shows that the boy has transitioned from a young boy who clutching his father’s hand in the morning to a man ready to walk into the world and find his way home.
I like the story Half a Day. The story is easy to relate to because the author talks about ordinary things that happen in a person’s life. The story reminds me of my first day in school and the feelings of apprehension and happiness I had at the thought of going to school. I remember that during my first day at school I did not know anyone just as the narrator did but eventually I made many friends. I recommend this story because it simply addresses life issues. Anyone despite their background can relate to the story Half a Day.
Mahfouz, Naguib. Half a Day. 1991. Web.