Can fate and history conspire to change someone from an ordinary boy to a Sultan? In life people are constantly inspired or influenced by others and this inspiration can truly change people’s life. This text is extracted from, the book of Saladin written by Tariq Ali in 1998; from the name of the novel, it can be assumed that it is a biography written in first person based on someone named, Saladin, and his life. The passage is about how Saladin was influenced by his grandmother, which changed him from a normal person to a Sultan. The story in this passage varies in terms on its time, and this is portrayed through its structure, moreover the conflicts and emotions are developed through the use of language at the same time.
The writer shows the role of power coming into the character as he changes “I”, to “You”. This use of change in authorial voice emphasizes the differences between before and after the character comes into power, and this can be illustrates through “…not much was expected from me. I was left to myself and great deal…my appearance and demeanor did not pose a threat to anyone”(line 3) and “you see me now as a Sultan, surrounded by all the symbols of power. You are impressed and, possibly, even a bit frightened…”(line 4). Again, this depicts the change in tone, before the character came into power, he was very uncertain about himself with lack of confidence from the inattention of everyone. This sharply contrasts with after the use of “You” starts appearing. The “you” demonstrates the authority and confident in the character, as he shows a certainty of what he thinks, “you are impressed…you worry that…” and “look at me”.(line 4-5/7)
The symbol of power from the character is described several times through “snake”. Snake was mentioned in both childhood, “when I was nine…trying to kill a snake” (line 12), and grandmother’s dream, “one night I dreamt that a large man-swallowing snake…”(line 29), Although the snake is shown in different time periods in the story, therefore the author uses this shift in time to connect the existence of snake and this highlights the power that Saladin had was existed, since he was young.
The imagine of power is conveyed through the use of terrifying phrases in relation to death, as the writer describes “your head might roll in the dust”(line 5), and “kill a snake” (line 12)and “Crushing its head on a stone…stamping on its head with our feet”(line 14-15) . These phrases include fearful words, “kill”, “crushing”, and “Stamping” that are related to snake and head. Head and snake are mentioned several times throughout the passage with horrifying imagine and word choice, and this is used to foreshadow the power of the character has since he was young. This can be evident from in both when he was “ten years old” and “trying to kill a snake” and when he was in his mother’s belly and “walked out, sword in hand, and, with one mighty blow, decapitated the serpent” here, it suggests that he kills them without any fear and again implies him as a leader liked person.
The tension is built through the shift in time in the character’s memories. This is shown through; Line 16-17 where the paragraph is constructed with one sentence. The use of one sentence 2 times exhibits the rising in tension, step by step, besides this; the intensity of the tone was also building up through some of the word choice and use of punctuation, “Yusuf! Yusuf ibn Ayyub! Coming here at once!”. Tension was still growing as the author uses fearful phrases , “expecting a blow around my ear”, “legendary temper”, “stuck my father across the face” to describe grandmother. From all these words, it emphasis the dreadfulness in the character , and this also has an effect on the reader’s when reading this as there will be an expectation of a madness of grandmother. Therefore, unexpectedly, before reaching to its climax, the tension was released as the writer states “she hugged me and kissed me in turn on both my eyes,” and this at the same time release the atmosphere in the story.
The structure of this passage is not presented chronologically, as the writer constructed the story with the switching in times. Although the time is constantly shifting, therefore each plot is related, and moreover the passage ends with referring back to the idea stated in the last line of the first paragraph. “Fate and history conspired to make me what I am today’ (line10) and “…but even at this time this interpretation undoubtedly had a positive effect on me.” The 2 sentences of the last paragraph summarized the whole idea of how Saladin became who he is today, and this also brings the readers back to the original time of who he is “Now” as mentioned in line 3.
This text is extracted from The book of Saladin written by Tariq Ali has a significance in the role of power within the character Saladin, this was shown through the shift in time. This passage shows Saladin was meant to be a Sultan with power through the killing of snake without any fear, and also more over the dream from grandmother in the past also foreshadow him to be a leader. Although, there were many evidences showing a sign that Saladin might have became a leader in the future, therefore without the guidance of the grandmother this would never happened. Likewise, in real life, people went through many things in order to become what they are today, and within these things, influence from surroundings is what to be seen as the most effective inspiration, just like Saladin and his grandmother.