“A handful of dates” is one of the works of the famous director Tayeb Salih. The work is a short story published, originally in Arabic in 1964, in a collection of stories “The Wedding of Zein”. The story is told by the young boy who lives in the village of Wad Hamid, which is in Central Sudan. The main idea is about the change in perception of the boy’s life which is expressed most in his cognizance and sentiment towards his grandfather.
Through the work, the boy expressed the huge love and admiration for his grandfather. In his mind, he described his grandfather’s appearance as his idol, as the man he wanted to become in the future. He loved his grandfather and he believed he was loved because he was the most intelligent grandchild. “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.” This quote fully expressed the thorough understanding between him and his grandfather in his acts. In additions, he knew that his grandfather loved him. However, two quotes which were mentioned in the topic expressed the temporary disgust of the boy towards his grandfather. Through the work, the boy temporarily realized the love of Masood for the dates and how gracious and kind – hearted he was. Besides, the boy admitted his grandfather’s trade with Masood was greedy and avaricious, the personalities which he believed his grandfather did not have. Therefore, he temporarily felt disgust towards his grandfather.
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The boy said: “Quickening my pace, it was as though I carried within me a secret I wanted to rid myself of.” The secret was simply the hatred and disgust he suddenly felt. He believed his grandfather was the good man, maybe the best man he had ever seen. The disgust he suddenly felt was the breaking down in his grandfather’s idolization. Feeling disgust towards the one he loved the most was the terrible thought. Therefore, by the time he felt the disgust, he immediately wanted to id himself of it, to be free from this thought.
“Then, without knowing why, I put my finger into my throat and spewed up the dates I’d eaten.” The disgust he felt for his grandfather made him to spew up the dates. The dates belonged to Masood, but after harvesting they belonged to the boy’s grandfather. By realizing Masood as a good and kind – hearted man and his greedy grandfather, the boy suddenly hated his grandfather and also the dates he was given. Therefore, he tried to spewed up the dates he had eaten. Feeling disgust towards his grandfather would lead to the disgust towards his dates.
“A handful of dates” is the great work which expressed the change in perception of the boy. Through the whole work, the boy described his love for his grandfather and the temporary disgust in turn. These way of description made the readers to understand the change.