Essay Example on Season of Migration to the North: Reflection of Modernism in Africa

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  663 Words
Date:  2023-02-23

Season of Migration to the North is a novel by Tayeb Salih, which he published in the year 1966. This is one of his best known books that attracted significant endorsement from the people who liked his literary work. The novel's primary concern was the impact of colonialism that was subject to British colonies and the modern European influence in the African societies, especially those living in the rural setups (Idriss, 2012). This novel has a reflection on the conflicts of modernism in African states depicting the brutality of the European colonialism to the African colonies. Sex and power are essential themes that come out vividly in the novel, Season of Migration, as will be captured in this paper.

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In this novel, the issue of sex has been perceived as a method of enacting orientalism, colonialism, violence, technological modernization, education, corruption in politics, among others (Idriss, 2012). Women were majorly affected in the acts of sex, which amounted to subjugation into these acts. Women were also seen as sex objects where men would think that the sole role of a woman was to please a man. For example, the novel captures who women who practiced infidelity were considered fools and without any knowledge. The story states, "infidel women are uncircumcised and takes the whole issue as having a drink of water." The book continues to stress on sex when it states how village girls prepare themselves, applying their bodies with all sorts of lotions and perfume ready to put on silky dresses for the night. It would further say that these girls would lie down on a red carpet shortly after saying a prayer for the night ready to let her thighs loose for the men to have sex (Idriss, 2012).

Mustafa had slept with many women, most of who committed suicide. On page 35, Mustafa claims, "she got into my room a virgin, but when she left, she was carrying germs of self-destruction. The statement by Mustafa paints a picture of how he was using women for sex and later dumped them. Additionally, he says, on page 30, that Ann Hammond spent much of her childhood at the school as well as in his bed. This statement, too, was an indicator of how women were used as sex tools. He was confident of the pressure that the women would undergo after being considered whore, and he imagines that most of them might have died as a result of the pressure from society.

The theme of power in the novel is central in the book, one of the characters mentioned was Mustafa, who had relationships with the English women who depict that he might have had issues with colonization as well as his trials to purpose power over those women (Idriss, 2012). He wants to colonize England through the women. This part shows his quest for power where power is one of the major themes in this novel. Additionally, the book mentioned that he wanted to use the women and his penis to colonize Britain, which shows his love for sex as well. On page 136, Mustafa confesses feeling heart tenderness in his heart, and he experienced unusual warmth in his diaphragm was an indicator that he already had gained power over the situation.

Colonialism, modernity, education, and political power also are apparent throughout the novel. The theme of power is also evident by the fact that the British wanted to acquire colonies in Africa to extend their rule over the Africans (Idriss, 2012). Colonialism was a sign of strength that the British had, which facilitated them in conquering African countries. Additionally, men would show their power and control over women by subjugating them. Mustafa's influence over the women made him force them into sexual acts and other issues. He would also show his power on the day when he was killing Jean Morris.


Idriss, Y. A. A. (2012). Season of Migration to the North and the Story of the Sudanese Nation: Hopes and impediments. International Journal of English and Literature, 3(6), 117-124.

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