Not Logged in.
Book Jacket

The Shadow King


An unforgettable epic shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and named a best ...
Summary and Reviews
Excerpt
Reading Guide
Author Biography

Discuss The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste:
How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?

Created: 09/16/20

Replies: 5

Posted Sep. 16, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2332

How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?

The chorus says of Aster's relationship to Kidane, "She will learn obedience as a way to survive" (p. 316). Is this true in the end of Aster? Is this true of Ettore, who calls himself "the beast bound by obedience" (351)? How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?


Posted Sep. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 295

RE: How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?

Hirut's first subversion is to steal items from the house and bury them under the woodpile. When she joins the resistance, she begins to assert herself and no longer hide in the background. Even when imprisoned, she is defiant and doesn't seem the obedient, bowed prisoner. She did all she could to survive and overcome.


Posted Sep. 23, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 70

RE: How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?

Being a victim of a life and culture is particularly hard on women. Hirut hones her ability to retreat within herself in order to regroup and protect her identity. There was great cost for stepping over the line, but she couldn't help herself. There was strength and there was a bravado that could only come from someone living on the edge of insanity for an extended period of time without rest.


Posted Sep. 24, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth Marie

Join Date: 05/26/18

Posts: 60

RE: How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?

Hirut chooses disobedience, beginning with the theft of small items, as a way to assert her independence and to rebel against the expectations of others. Her disobedience causes her to suffer but it also strengthens her will to survive.


Posted Sep. 26, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 247

RE: How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?

I think Hirut subverts the idea of obedience from the very way she always states who she is. She is still doing that 40 years later: "I am Hirut, daughter of Getey and Fasil, born on the blessed day of the harvest, beloved wife and loving mother, a soldier." Hirut knows she is someone special, of value to others. This knowledge gives her power.


Posted Sep. 28, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
phenkat

Join Date: 07/29/11

Posts: 17

RE: How does Hirut subvert the idea of obedience as a survival strategy throughout the novel?

Nobody feels comfortable bound by obedience. Look what happened to Ibrahaim, whose motives for following instructions and leading the ascari in favor of the Italians. Aster always kept her own counsel and did not learn obedience. Hirute is always surviving something and leaves her body in order to do it. Eventually, I think because Aklilu saw her, she becomes herself.


Reply

Please login to post a response.