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Story:“Escort” by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Tanzania)Family/Gender Roles:The men from Salim’s club fit into a gender role of a man that takes whatever woman he wants when he wants. The men see nothing strange with using the girl, Aziza, who serves them drinks. They even offer to share Aziza with the narrator (304). None of the men ever ask Aziza for her opinions or even her permission to sleep with her and while she did not protest, it would have done her no good. It is also heavily implied that they were abusing her, with Majid asking Salim “what did you do to her, you pervert?” with a grin on his face (305). Even the narratior does nothing to stop the treatment of the girl. He does not participate with their actions but he lets the other men continue without protest. The men of the story continue intheir theme of sexual importance with Salim’s oversharing of his encounters with his Malaya woman. Despite the narrator’s discomfort with the subject, Salim is adamant about sharing his sexual prowess with another man and thus proving his virility. Economic Concerns:The narrator of the story has previously left his home in Zanzibar (300) for his education in England. There is a contrast formed between the narrator and Salim because of this. Salim shows obvious contempt for the narrator and his position as a teacher saying “is that all?” (299). Salim also lets the narrator pay for all of his drinks (302), saying that “it isn’t such a lot of money if you’re changing from foreign” (301). He also has no shame in taking the narrator’s leftover money at the end of the story. Clearly, the two are at different ends of the economic spectrum. While they both have jobs, the narrator who left the country to become a student and then a teacher is better off than Salim the taxi-driver. Urban/Rural Lifestyles:The city that this takes place in is clearly urban. For one, it is large enough to have its own taxi driver service. Also, while in the taxi the narrator notes how busy thetraffic is and how the pedestrians would cut through traffic at the slightest hesitation (299). The busy street is also full of venders and even a water seller. The cluttered and bustling air gives a very urban feel to the story. Culture:The culture of the story is shown in the use of words in the native tongue. Most of the words and phrases were translated in the next few sentences, but they still added a nice touch to the story and made it more believable. Another part of the culture could be topic discussed in the gender concerns. It is the native men who are the most adamant about their sex lives. It is
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