Research Article: 2021 Vol: 24 Issue: 1S
Muna Mod Mahmoud Muhilan, The University of Jordan
Arabic novel, Secured by Forgetfulness novel, Sanaa Shalan, Narrative structure, Techniques.
This study is based on deconstructing the narrative structure in the novel (Secured by Forgetfulness) by contemporary Jordanian novelist, by disintegrating the techniques that form this narrative structure, and pausing at how to invest these techniques in praising the narrative structure as part of the completion of the novel that advances the narrative structure as a whole from the beginning to the end. Sanaa Shalan has adopted basic techniques in praising this narrative structure, which are: proposing the end and the narration of the story, the conflict between remembering and forgetting in the novel structure, adjacent to the texts and composition of the narration, cinematic snapshot technique, transtextuality technique, the deployment of dedication technique and time rotation technique.
Proposing the end and the narration of the story
This novel proposed the scene of the end since the beginning, which is a technique the novelist used in a scene that captures breaths and stirs human feelings. The protagonist of the novel (Bahaa) always had the hope to fly to her beloved (Al Dah’ak), and to rest in his warm, compassionate embrace, as did the heroine of a movie she had witnessed in her childhood. The heroine in that movie returns to die in the arms of the rich and influential man who loves her, but (Bahaa) despairs of the realization of this dream, because she is afraid of being rejected, or being ignorant of who she is. “But I feel the cowardice in my soul, to exhaust myself with more grief, which I would feel if he rejected me, denied me, or ignored me”(Al-Mashaikh, 2011)
The reason for this is that she sees herself in a lesser position than him because of her immersion in the life of vice and downfall. “But I did not imagine one day that Al Dah’ak had flown in the heavens of the high glory, where I could not perceive him, or fly to him, while I was righteous - despite my self - in the mud of sins, disappointments, pains and heartbreaking destinies." (Al-Mashaikh, 2012).
The reader may think in this part of the novel that this film's ending is nothing but a narrative fill, but he realizes at the end of the novel that this end of the film is a hint of an end from the supposed ends of the novel, as we find (Bahaa) and (Al Dah’ak) end to what the end of the film has reached, while the novel ends on that romantic scene that Baha’s soul has always yearned for, since her innocent childhood "In a sea horizon, there were two shadows running towards space, rejoicing in unending love, where no one knew a name for them or memories or date, and the sun that sinks in the horizon of the orange sea turns them into two united black shadows for a long deep kiss". (Al-Zaabi, 2015)
Between the end of the film and the end of the novel (Secured by forgetfulness) the story of the novel extends in its various narrative tracks, so we know the story of the heroine of the novel (Bahaa) who is raised in a wild orphan who robs her of her dignity, innocence, virginity and virtue, And being casted in the street that belittles, torments and drives her along the paths of deviation, despite her miserable attempts to live a life of virtue, but vice overwhelmed her desires, because she is alone, orphan, weak, and more beautiful than she should be. So she becomes the desire of every greedy person, until cancer takeover her body, and begins to destroy it part by part, and then moves to her memory destroying it, after afflicting her with several physical disabilities, so she loses her wealth for the sake of treatment, which became impossible due to the worsening disease in her body.
At this particular stage, when she reaches the end of her sixties, sad and exhausting ,she meets by chance her childhood sweetheart (Al Dah'ak) whom she gets acquainted with despite her forgetting about herself, her past and present, and she remembers completely who he is, and exclaims: "You are Al Dah'ak Saleem, I know you. I adore you." (Shaalan, 2018), she meets him in a spa in a Scandinavian forest in the winter, accompanied by her only devoted friend (Huda) after illness destroyed her and wiped her memory, so (Al Dah'ak) takes her to live with him in his house in a snowy city, She then, fell into a long coma for two full years, the doctors assert that it is a coma of death, and (Al Dah'ak) must surrender to this fact, approving to disconnect the respiratory equipment, but he refuses to do so, clings to hope, and devoted himself to take care of (Baha), while he spends time reading in the manuscript for the novel that Bahaa wrote, which includes her complete confessions of all her sins and torments, he discovers that she has lived a tormented and cruel life that made her a sad, broken prostitute, while he was fortunate to live in the civilized West, where he studied, grew up, innovated, enriched, and became a famous novelist, thanks to his uncle, who adopted him in his childhood.
(Al-Dah'ak) decides to burn the manuscript in order to eliminate her painful past, and instead create a bright and joyful history, which he records in a love novel called (Secured by forgetfulness) to be a supposed happy date for his beloved instead of her sad and tragic history.
The surprise in the novel comes when (Bahaa) wakes from her coma, contrary to the expectations of doctors, and reverts in her memory and awareness to an innocent little girl who wants to live her life with joy, after she completely forgot all the tragedies and struggles she suffered in the past, (Al Dah'ak ) decides to depart his present, and to live his childhood anew with his beloved, so he quits his work, cancels all his projects, and begins to live with her a happy life, publishing a joint novel in his and her name, called (secured by forgetfulness), when the novel achieves great international fame, and consecrates their happy love life that they live after they become over the age of seventy.
The conflict between remembering and forgetting in the novel structure technique
There is no identification of place and time in this novel, but rather they play the roles of disguised heroism without disclosing their truth in an attempt of novelist in order to incorporate the experience of the two protagonists in any similar human experience everywhere and time after its span of seven successive decades.
The struggle of events in the synthesis of space and time within the events chain is the embodiment of a deep and violent conflict between the themes of remembering and forgetting, which represent a complete history of the life of the protagonists of the novel, it is through the recollection that lies in the memory of (Al Dah'ak) on one hand and the confessions recorded in (Bahaa) manuscript, we discover the ugliness of the world that hardens two orphans and completely crushes them, as we see the flaws of this world, and get acquainted with images of corruption represented by the novel's characters, who took turns torturing and abusing the two protagonists of the novel, because they are weak and lonely, and they do not find anyone to defend them.
As for remembering, it carries a full recognition of the brutality of the past and reality, and tries to record and document it to be basis for rejection it, as it is loaded with serious psychological loads that hint at the lives of the heroes and their crises in their homelands. (Al-Maadidi, 2018)
This narrative method between remembering and forgetting is what allows us to see the distance between facts and lies.
The protagonists of the novel (Bahaa) and (Al-Dah'ak) live a bitter struggle with remembering and forgetting. So (Bahaa) decides to write her biography to be a reminder and recognition of her lover of what happened in her cruel life, and at the same time she feels at ease because forgetfulness has afflicted her due to brain cancer, for this disease saves her from remembering the pain of what happened in the past (8),While (AL Dah'ak) live this bitter struggle when he begins to read the manuscript (Baha),who has been falling for two years in a deep coma, then both decide to forget the past in their own way Bahaa wakes up from her coma with an amazing miracle, but she forgets her life and her past, and lives her childhood again, after deciding to live a happy childhood, and (Al Dah'ak) also decides to forget the whole past, so he burns (Baha's) manuscript, and enters with her in forgetfulness path, so he quits his job, deserts his projects, returns to his childhood by a decisive decision and begins to live with his sweetheart a new childhood in their seventies to enjoy in their old age a happy childhood that they did not have in their tormented and cruel childhood, "to live with her the most beautiful details of happiness, joy and freedom. He walks with her in the rain, runs with her in the small streets between the old houses, and rang house bells, and they run away while they are drowning in laughter and drink cold refreshments when visiting amusement park hugging her while she was afraid of ghosts in the city of fear, and they spent money generously on buying fun toys, sweets, candies, soft drinks and ice cream, and they took lessons in theatrical acting, playing the piano, dancing, which were forbidden to them completely in the orphanage, so as joy happiness and hope. '' (Rashid, 2019)
This narrative triumphs for complete remembrance through complete forgetfulness , the novel appear to be a victory over forgetfulness, which on the surface appears to be a sincere choice for the protagonists of the novel, but this forgetfulness is in fact a complete dedication to remembering, and even monitoring, recording, and documenting it through complete narrative accomplishment that documents the past, events and memories on paper in eternity, and evades when falsely claiming to be providing an alleged victory for forgetfulness.
With this clever narrative prevarication, the narrative is heading to a sudden turn, as the protagonists of the novel go back to their childhoods, even though they are seventy, including this age of joys of childhood, joy and innocence, but the narration diverges, and escapes from the direction of the straight line, when the novel reaches the last chapter of held under the title (The Past) when we will be confused about distinguishing the true from the falsehood in the narrative of events, the presence of several supposed endings of the novel makes the reader confused whether the novel is a narration of (Baha’s) struggle with the coma of forgetfulness, disease and death, or is this narration related to the story (Al Dah'ak) with this multi-level conflict, or is this novel an innovative narrative written by the secretary (Barbara)?
Faced with this confusion that the novel creates with perfection, we can only be certain of one fact which is (Bahaa) and (Al-Dah'ak) have defeated forgetfulness, and they began to live their childhood again to have the happiness they had not in their tragic childhood in a bleak, savage orphanage in the burning east, as the novel puts it. (Sanaa, 2015)
This novel presents dangerous equivocation of attitudes. It claims that it calls for forgetfulness as it saves from remembering the horror of the past, but in reality it evokes forgetfulness and full recall. So (Bahaa) did not want to forget the past as she claimed, based on the evidence that she had recorded it in order to perpetuate it forever. As for (Al Dah'ak), he made a new remembrance of him and (Bahaa) through his lies that he made to decorate their reality. He told everyone in the world of snow and frost that he was a descendant of the princes of the East, and that his great-grandfather used to own oil wells before losing them on a gambling table, and that his father was a miracle because he was born with teeth after his mother carried him for two years, and that he flew towards a star in the sky on the night of fate, and he disappeared there forever. He kept lying to everyone until he turned to lying on paper to forget all his pain, and he succeeded in that, and became a famous novelist, able to transfer pain from heart to paper.'' (Khallaf, 1986)
But (Al Dah’ak) remained restricted in his memories and pain "Tonight, he does not want to recite to himself except his sorrows that are called memories and the repeated rapes of his humanity in the orphanage, the street and the prison, and he does not want to dream about any woman except his seductive, sleeping redhead, even if he was naked in the embrace of this blonde lover who bitten him, shrieked his bones, and slept in his skin and his nose blackened with her stench". (Freud)
At the beginning of the novel, (Al-Dah'ak) wanted to revive remembrance in Baha’s memory, so that perhaps this would save her from death. Therefore, he began to read on her what she wrote in her manuscript of notes, but he modified his behavior when he discovered the horror of the events in this manuscript, so he burned the manuscript and wrote an alternative novel for her, and he began to invent joyful lies for her that he broadcast in his novel (which was secured by forgetfulness), After he reached the point of desperation and weakness that (Baha) reached in the past when she wrote in her manuscript, "This disease, when it consumes my memory, will eliminate all the pain, ache, tear and frustration, and finally it will perceive me, and a savior will save me. It is forgetting who will apprehend me and save me from my pain-filled memory, and I was the one who dreamed, O' Al Dah'ak that you would catch me, and save me from my sorrows, my loss and my illusions, but the disease had preceded you, and decided to take over me completely. “(Shalan)
The great paradox in the dialectic of remembering and forgetting in this novel is that (Baha) did not wake up from her coma until she became completely oblivious after (Al-Dah'ak) burned her disastrous manuscript and wrote an alternate history for her in his novel, so she resumed her life with a white memory devoid of any details, after she returned again to her stolen childhood, so (Al-Dah'ak) sided with this recovered time, and joined it to relive the experience of childhood while they are old, gray-haired and wrinkled skin. After long decades, he was able to justify his promise to his little sweetheart, and to escape her from her prison in the orphanage towards the far to live with her the most beautiful details of happiness, joy, freedom and joy, he walks with her in the rain, runs with her in the small alleys between the old houses, and rings the house bells and runs away while they are drowning in laughter, and drinks cold refreshments on their visit to the park, hugs her when she is afraid of ghosts in the city of fear, They spend generously on the purchase of entertaining games, sweets, candies, soft drinks and ice cream, and they take part in taking lessons in theatrical acting, playing the piano and dancing, which were completely forbidden to them in the orphanage, as they were forbidden of joy and hope smuggled to them from anywhere. (Al-Madhi, 2014)
The irony is that the two protagonists of the novel chose to keep their names only from the memory of the past, while they decided to forget everything else without that. (Bradbury, 1987) However, novelist Sanaa Shalan did not allow the options to remember and forget in the novel to be easy and available, but rather made it difficult by proposing multiple endings that left the reader to choose from them according to his convictions and personal vision, while she sided with the choice of love that ultimately will defeat death, and made of forgetfulness a new life, assuming that love is the last salvation of man (Muhailan, 2000),It is a choice that may cure him from his pain and suffering "in a seaside horizon there were two shadows running towards the space, rejoicing in unceasing love, and no one knew thier name, memories or history, and the sun that sinks in the horizon of the orange sea turns them into black shadows attached in a long deep kiss. "( Al-Ain, 1996)
Sanaa Shalan based her novel on thirty forgetfulness representing thirty chapters, which in fact represent thirty recollections. She tried to forget all the pain, enslavement, humiliation and alienation that took her, but naturally she would remind herself of all that, and remind us of what she was trying to forget without succeeding.
The inevitable result of this struggle between forgetting and remembering in the novel was a nightmare and horrific embodiment of a society that is fractured and decimated in vice and downfall, a society that represents Arab societies par excellence, just as it represents any human society in any place and time when it lives its narrative experience, and this is what appeared separately at the beginning of the novel, but in reality they are thresholds for entry into the novel and understanding its goals, "It is an orphan everywhere" (Todorov, 1994),“When nations are burned, love becomes forbidden” (Todorov, 1986) In this way, pain becomes an authentic explanatory document for this terrifying, frightening, savage living "whoever loves is a proof against those who can’t, and who feel pain is a proof against those who have not." (Kharrat, 1999)
Faced with all this horror, the protagonist of the novel does not find relief for them from pain except the forgetfulness in which they live, so they bring with some joy, security and happiness, and live the most beautiful small happy details. “His little girl is madly in love with him, hangs on his neck." (Bradbury)
But this hard-won happiness due to forgetfulness does not change the fact that the world in the novel (Secured by Forgetfulness) is a nightmare world, which can only be literally expressed through the use of nightmarish literature that “does not represent an accidental catastrophe or an exceptional event, but rather the reality of human existence itself that horror has no beginning or end "( Ibrahim, 1996), it represents “the worry that hangs over the heart of life and perches upon ourselves” (Shalan),we encounter it every day without realizing, but when discovered , it drives us toward fear.
In front of this huge amount of pain, the novelist found no way out except forgetfulness, so she gave each chapter the name of forgetting bearing a number from one to thirty, and made it related to forgetting something, so the heroine (Bahaa) forgot everything that hurts her throughout the course of the chapters, and in the last forgetfulness of the novel, which is the thirty chapter, the last forgetfulness came, which is (forgetting the past) which did not associate with forgetting (Bahaa )’s past, but also practice forgetfulness, forgetting his past completely with its pain, and decided to live a new life in which there is nothing but happiness, joy and childhood that he was deprived of, to become a seventy-year-old child, she also became “Baha” ,a child on early seventies. Al Dah'ak abandoned teaching at the university permanently, resigned, and left without returning. The library of Al Dah'ak Saleem presented as a gift to the National Libraries Department to run it, devote himself to writing and living every happiness, with the Bahaa his little girl, who is madly in love with him, as she refuses to part with him even for a moment, and shares with him all the details of his life, even the details of his bathing and cutting of his hair, and his trimming of the ends of his beard and mustache, and his sleep as she fall into his lap and hang to his neck.
In this new life the protagonists (Baha) and (Al-Dah'ak) obtained at a heavy price, which is complete forgetfulness, they got a new time and a new life, therefore, novelist Sanaa Shalan concluding the novel with the phrase (the beginning) (Ibrahim, 2019), instead of (the end). As she gives the heroes of her novel a new opportunity for life, hope and joy thanks to one victory in life, which is love over the ugliness of the world, and this is a clear message that bears its meanings, connotations and incitements.
The nightmare world appears in this novel in the space in which (Bahaa) lived, and which he (Al Dah'ak) lived before in his unhappy childhood, it is a spatial space that explicitly refers to the burning Arab East, even if not declared, in contrast the frozen world appears in the snow cities where he lives are less brutal with their citizens, although the nightmare still symbolizes every place in which there is injustice, cruelty, deprivation, enslavement and alienation at any time or place.
According to Baha, this extended nightmarish place becomes a large orphan. Therefore, she refuses to care about it, just as she does not care about its fate, and feels in constant loss. “I do not concern with the losses of history and all people.
Since a long time ago, I became, by the act of sadness, loneliness and suffering, a being that belongs only to herself, and his suffering, and no voice outside, whatever it is, moves her. Therefore, it no longer makes a difference for me to whom I belong, where I live, and what is the name of my people or my civilization, as long as I am nobody and lost among them, to the extent that I do not know me a name or lineage. I am in this world who do not have weepers or mourners, and therefore I am not good at crying for anyone.
Rather, she scoffs at all those who claim patriotism in these burnt homelands, “and he was the best person who spoke about homeland and patriotism, as it meant for him the use and exploitation of the forms available to him by his sensitive administrative position in the city, As for if patriotism meant giving and sacrifice, then he used to throw it in the face of the poor and vulnerable among the people of the nation to pay the price of their patriotism by force , the division is quite clear. Homeland is theirs, patriotism is for the poor, the depressed, the vulnerable, the honorable, and the people of conscience that are neither bought nor sold.
Homeland, according to Bahaa, is nothing more than an orphan moving towards ruin, where there is no hope in, while homeland according to (Al Dah'ak ) who lives in a snow city, that is, one of the western countries is a true homeland that deserves love and loyalty as long as it offers security and protection, while he spat on his first homeland of the East, which worth nothing to him, “he drinks a toast to his tender homeland, and spits on his old homeland whenever he remembers his loneliness and lost, where he lived in like a miserable out of luck sick cat” (Muhailan,2019) and when he found his beloved, he flew with her to his snowy homeland, and did not occur to him to return with her to the hell of the East, which he was fortunate enough to escape from in his wretched childhood. “He decided to take her back to his true homeland, and there is no home for him except the house he bought, furnished and equipped to meet her, there they will live happily until they leave this gloomy world. " (Al-Hajaya, 2020)
Adjacent to the texts and composition of the narration technique
This novel offers a special experimental tool in terms of employing the technique of adjacent to the texts and the composition of narration in it. In fact, it consists of five components that revolve within one complex narrative synthesis. That is, it contains five overlapping narratives that make up the entire narrative body of the mother novel, which the reader finds between the two covers of the novel, and bears the name (Secured by forgetfulness), it is not possible in any way to separate any of these five narratives from the rest of the novel within the paper body of the mother novel. All of them constitute this narrative despite the game of narrative overlapping entities.
Novelist Sanaa Shalan presented an exciting, successful and daring experimental narrative adventure in this novel when she distributed the narrative events on inner circles through five supposed inner narratives that form the mother novel with a superior ability to grasp the narrative thread without escaping from it, in an experimental adventure that refers to Sana’s concern about the experimentation that came to open "the door wide open to rejecting ready-made forms of thought or ways of expressing" (31)Which “drowns in ambiguity, difficulty and complexity” (Al-Tamimi, 2020), as it “exaggerates, dramatizes, inquiries into problems and conceives of people seeing them under the pressure of desperate measures or sometimes terrible solutions” (Kereb, 2020),Moreover, this experimentation expresses, in experimental accounts, the absurd and the strange through fantasy (Al-Najjar, 2019), therefore, every logical thing was lost and "it became a mixture of discordant things, a mixture of the cohesion of the mind with the memory, and thus mystery dominated it." (Ayyoub, 2019)
There is no doubt that the experimental novel is launched from the starting points of modernity that believes in everything new, that anxious new that is barely born until it becomes old, and is looking for a form to be derived from, to be based on its ruins, so modernity is "a product of awareness of the necessity of interpretation, a departure from standardization" and the continuing evolution of species .it is not only related to time, for its not possible to choose authors from the twentieth century in order to be sure of the novelty of their thought; in every moment in time moments from the recent or distant past coexist with the present and even with the future, modernity is a "value, not temporal," thought and literature. it’s a reconsideration of references, values and standards, and it is a new vision (Hassan, 2019)expresses the disturbing, fantasy and exciting, and a renewal of language as well, a liberation of the imagination, and transcends the imaginary boundaries that separate reality from the unreal, and this modernity requires a new sensitivity towards this era. (Ajayna, 1994)
The new sensitivity expresses a special awareness of things, whether in form or in content, and this awareness is based on the techniques of breaking the narrative arrangement, overcoming the traditional plot, diving into the interior, attaching to the external, expanding the meaning of reality in order to return to dream, myth and poetry (Fry, 1980), and the situation of the miraculous and the supernatural is the subject of the truth given without astonishment (Ajayna, ), and openness to worlds and universes below consciousness, as for time, it has become marginalized and shattered within a rare consensus for some creators.( Al-Lalla, 2020)
Sanaa Shaalan presented her novelist world in this novel through five fictional texts that overlap to the point of merging, and these five novel are:
1- The original paper novel that bears the name (Secured by Forgetfulness), and has a paper body and cover on which the name of the author Sanaa Shalan is written, and it consists of thirty successive chapters bearing different names, all of them begin in one form, and it is a form that begins each chapter with transtextuality consisting of seven sentences refers to the events in this chapter, and this novel is the mother novel that embraces the rest of the four interrelated narratives.
2- The manuscript novel that extends inside the novel, in the form of a confessional manuscript that Bahaa wrote to her lover (Al-Dah'ak) after she recorded in everything that happened to her over the seven decades of her life. This novel is, in fact, the main body of the novel almost completely, and it is a giant biography manuscript, which forms the body of the main novel, in fact it is the whole novel except for the current events that take place in the spa, in the house of (Al Dah'ak) and in the hospital in (Al Dah'ak's) city.
This novel is a complete book of sorrows, pain and confessions, as it is the line between the present, the past and the future in the novel, and it ended narratively when its inner narrator (the lover) finished telling the biography of Bahaa’s life. This novel disappeared from the hypothetical physical existence when (Al Dah'ak) set it on fire in the stove of his home, but in fact it is implicitly present in the novel's body.(Al Dah'ak) burned it in the stove of his home in order to bury the painful past. “When some of his tears evaporated from the blades of the transcendent fire in the fireplace, he throw the manuscript of his sleeping redhead beauty, and he stood enjoying a cure as he watched the tongues of fire eat the manuscript with burning lust, to turn it into ember and then to ashes in minutes."
The burning of this supposed novel is the embodiment of his personal desire to forget the past, as he tries to trick (Bahaa) into forgetting, in order to guide her to a different present that does not remind her of pain and suffering "This manuscript is a form for a novel you wrote, and you are the one who drew its characters, just as you are the one who drew the character of her heroine whom I called" the lover ". It is a beautiful novel without a doubt, but you have nothing to do with it, your life was completely different, and perhaps it was the antithesis of the miserable and sad life of the heroine, who had afflicted a rare disease that had made her forgetful.
3- The novel (Secured by Forgetfulness ) written by (Al-Dah'ak) for his beloved (Bahaa), to be a supposed date for his girlfriend when she wakes up from her coma, to delude her that she had lived a happy and pure life, she thus forgets her bleak past life. “He read all the memories that “Bahaa” wrote about her miserable life, then tore up all that she wrote, and compiled new memories of her with a radiance similar to the radiance of her red beauty in their novel (Secured by Forgetfulness), but she was not keen on her new destinies which he recounted in their legend novels, and she abandoned this world without returning.
No one knows what (Al Dah'ak) wrote in this novel, but we know that he deliberately filled it with joy and happiness. I will bury in my chest any truth that you did not want to reveal except to me. I will read by reverence the biography of your sins, your mistakes and your slips, and I will bury them in my chest, and your slips in my eyes will only increase you greatness, sanctity and purity, our story is of us and our love, as for those passing by, I will banish them from our narration, we will not have the memory of except what we desire. No longer will you be just a woman overtaken by forgetfulness, but I will crown you as a queen on my heart and on the brow of eternity despite of sickness, forgetfulness and pain.
(Al Dah'ak) tried to make this novel a motivation for (Bahaa) to wake up from her deep coma, printed the novel, and filled her bedroom where she lay with copies, and he started waiting for her to wake up from her coma. His two friends were standing to his right, contemplating his sad, swollen face, dispersed gazes between the face of “Bahaa” and the piles of copies of the novel “Secured by forgetfulness” which he threw everywhere in her room waiting to wake up and celebrate with him the release of its first edition. The details of this novel were absent from the narrative of events in the mother novel, but it was linked to the end of the events and the conclusion of the novel and the happy events in it. As this novel was announced in a joint party between (Al-Dah’ak) and (Baha), and it gained great international fame, made great profits, and immortalized their great love story. Despite the absence of the text of this novel from narratives of events, it is at the forefront of happy events at the end of the paper novel, and it is published, met with unrivaled success, and is translated into several languages without knowing what is written in it very precisely.” The novel (Secured by Forgetfulness) applied horizons with fame and presence, it achieved tremendous sales that tempted the publisher to translate it into more than one language, and more than one media, academic and cultural organization held dialogue and discussion sessions about it, and received more than one tempting offer to turn it into films.
The whole world has come to know the story of the two lovers: Al Dah'ak and Bahaa who defeated death, forgetfulness and separation by the power of their eternal love.
4- There are supposed contradictory narratives in the last chapter of the novel, called (The Thirty Forgotten), and in these supposed surprising endings for the reader we see many narrative surprises that turn the novel upside down, so that it destroys the main direction in the novel through 29 previous chapters. Suggesting new novels that contradict the main narrative, some of these assume that the manuscript was not burned, and that (Bahaa) did not find (Al-Dah'ak). That is why she invented another sweetheart and kept raving about his name until she turned to be just an unknown corpse in the morgue of the Faculty of Medicine at the Capital University, "Because no one expressed any desire to receive her body from the hospital, and to bury her on his own in any part of the earth."
These endings also contain another supposed ending, which is distressing as well, and is no less miserable and nightmare than the previous novel, it assumes that the events of the novel never happened, and that (Bahaa) and (Al-Dah'ak) were killed in the orphanage in their childhood, and were buried in its basement, and did not grow up, and therefore they did not live in the main story. The two ghosts who live in the basement mention that there is a cursed red girl and a child in love with her, buried in the basement after the orphan director locked them in the basement until they died of starvation.
5- As for the fifth narration in the interrelated narratives, it extends in the space of only one paragraph, and it is a text that breaks everything before, and provides another angle to the narration, assuming that the whole narration is nothing but a novel written by the secretary (Barbara) about two oriental lovers. ”This is what (Barbara) wrote in her best-selling famous novel in the countries of snow and frost, entitled (Secured by Forgetfulness).
Cinematic snapshot technique
It is known that the novelist Sanaa Shalan is one of those involved in writing scenarios for films, series and dramatic works , and this is clearly reflected in the novel (Secured by Forgetfulness), whether that was intended or it came spontaneously through the course of writing the script, the most prominent example of this is the investment of the cinematic snapshot in this novel, which made the dramatic action intense, quick and brief, away from long scenes, loose descriptions and multiple dialogues, but this novel is based on the visual snapshot with one brief scene, just like the cinematic footage with its camera.
This technology has contributed to the intensification of the narrative event that extends in the novel for seventy years. Otherwise, the volume of the novel would greatly deepen, and in explaining this tendency from Sanaa Shalan towards the cinematic shot, Dr. Orink Zeeb Al-Azami: “It seems that there is more than one explanation for that. On one hand, writer Sanaa Shalan is interested in writing screenplays and has her successful experiences in that and on the other hand, she is - of course - looking for a new form in a private experimental adventure, and on the third side she is clearly biased towards the speed of narration in order to save the reader from the supposed boredom in a large-scale novel, and charge the recipient with anxiety that makes him beware to know the next of the events without being able to miss any scene from the novel’s, and I say a scene based on the divisions of the cinematic scenario, and I do not say the narrative painting based on the formations of the narrative composition.
It seems that Sanaa Shalan faced a problem in investing the cinematic footage from one scene to another, and she found that the best solution for that is to employ the technique of dotted points to separate one chapter from another, so that it separates one paragraph from another sometimes if the shot ends quickly, and this allowed the pace of events to be fast, attractive and exciting without being hampered by boring details that spoil the pleasure of discovering the text and facing unexpected events.
Sanaa Shalan built the narrative structure of her novel on a constant septuplet introductory in thirty chapters of the novel, each of which consisted of some forgetfulness, although it is of course a remembrance rather than forgetting, for it is the transfer of information from the realm of our ignorance to the realm of our knowledge, so it is a remembering and a reminder not to forget and try to forget. At the beginning of each of the thirty chapters of forgetfulness there are seven transtextulities that are introductory to the text as a threshold for entering the chapter, and a key to it, which are almost as fragments of human and revelation dimensions, and are summoned in the form of origami stars
which are papers folded in the form of stars (Al Dah’ak) thought that (Bahaa) asked her friend (Lyn Badran) to prepare to give her to him when they meet. Because she would have given it to me when she met me by chance.
But he later discovered that she had prepared those colored paper stars to gift them to another man. "She hid them in order to send them to another man, and had it not been for the sickness to hasten her with painful blows in her memory, erasing huge number of her memories, for she would have sent those stars to her last lover in her series of lovers.
The novelist has chosen to make the number of origami stars in each season to be seven. Invoking this by the number of days of the week, while the number of origami stars in all of the novel is 365 stars, that is, the number of days of the year, within thirty chapters, thus forming the textual transcendence technique at the beginning of each chapter is a formation of the concept of human time that appears in the days of the week, month and year, This is an exclusive innovative fictional method for Sanaa Shalan in creating an internal time for the novel by counting the stars of the origami, not through the traditional counting of days, months and years.
She proposes this innovative inner time as an alternative of referring to the external time that is unable to monitor the inner worlds of the heroine and the conflicts taking place deep inside, while this inner time can perform this sensitive task, in addition to this origami time - if we are to say - is a time that clearly indicates the acts of pain that simmering in the depth of the protagonists of the novel on behalf of the suffering of all humanity.
The novelist has created special structure through transcendental techniques. She created out of her ,the power to remember in the midst of forgetfulness, with which each chapter begins through the sentences written by the protagonist of the novel (Bahaa) inside origami papers that () has been reading to her in her long coma in his desperate attempts to bring her back, while this combination of the transtextuailty is forgetfulness opposition of remembering, and emphasizes that the two protagonists have a duty to remember everything if they want to obtain the virtue of complete forgetfulness, which begins in the form of confession and a revelation that provides purification to the two protagonists of their pain and suffering, and this is what (Bahaa) explicitly declares at the beginning of her novel ,she says: “I decided today to write my diary to be a novel of confession for () who must know the full truth about me and my lost in the world before I forget my way, path and landmark, the journey of a lifetime without him was exhausting, humiliating and losing all scales, to the point I lost my right to dream of walking in his path. The novel affirmed in more than one location that writing is an act of purity. Therefore, she fiercely attacked those selling their pens, describing them with the ugliest qualities, and saw in their action filthy prostitution, and equated between (Bahaa) selling of her body, and equating them in terms of vilification and depravity: “She used to sell her words to them in order to live, after she became fed up with her customers who used to buy her body in exchange for their unclean money, and were fed up with her youth that left her after they enjoyed it, so she began trading her words and practicing pen prostitution instead of body prostitution.
Rather, Bahaa herself saw in selling her pen imperfection, no less than selling her body: “I used to think that the greatest victory I had achieved for my soul was when I decided firmly to stop selling myself and my purity, and I limited it to my words and creativity away from my body, after I convinced myself that selling words and attitudes is less than selling bodies, and I deluded myself that I am convinced of this comparison between two cheap sales that we cannot prefer one over the other in slavery and commodification.
On the other side, when (Al-Dah'ak) and (Bahaa) wanted to purify themselves, they found a way to do so in writing, so (Bahaa) wrote her secret revelation and confessional manuscript, while (Al-Dah'ak) wrote his novel (secured by forgetfulness) in order to make from it an alternate date for his depressed girlfriend who was drowned in a coma for two years. They wrote a joint novel between them “Bahaa and Al-Dah'ak are now writing their new joint novel, which will talk about a lover named who could not get his lover (Bahaa) out of her eternal coma because of her brain cancer, so he entered into a similar coma to meet her there in worlds of nothingness and the unknown where she is imprisoned, against her will.
Transtextuailty in the novel were not only embodied in the stars of origami, but also extended to other textual representations that Sanaa Shalan employed to deliver symbolic messages in the novel, and the transtextuailty of the title is one of the most prominent examples of this. She put the sentence “A woman’s story saved by forgetting from remembering”, and this sentence could have remained on the external level of the novel as a virtual part of the title, but Sanaa Shalan went into the game of denial that she is playing, and she wrote this same sentence in the body of the novel, and made it the publisher of the novel (Secured by Forgetfulness ) written by on the cover of the novel before printed it after he had asked him to do so (,without knowing why he did this, however, this matter transferred the title of the novel to a clear level of interpretation, and deepened the symbols of the novel, and linked transtextuailty with aesthetic, intellectual and creative functions.
We can also claim that Sanaa Shalan took advantage of this transtextuality without the pretext of interpretation, coding, as she ostensibly adhered to the title of the novel, to be about a woman who had been afflicted with brain cancer, and pushed her into the realms of forgetfulness, while the transtextuality “a tale of a woman saved by forgetting from remembering,” is a glimpse of stenography for the idea of the novel or its major theme, it is also carries full and deep interpretations of events, narratives, characters, and symbols that move the novel from being about a crushed woman who fell ill after life full of suffering to a narrative epic that organizes people and individuals at every time and place. The transtextuality of "I see you", with which the novel begins, and ends in conjunction with the word (beginning) also present an embodiment of the state of sentiment, feeling and love that the two protagonists of the novel (Bahaa) and who represent the downtrodden individuals in barbaric societies, nevertheless, they found in love a path of salvation, purification, and the victory of new and final opportunity for life, joy and happiness.
Dr. Fadel Abboud Al-Tamimi on the transtextuailty (I see you): “This blackness in its intense whiteness is a silent utterance about the state of ... on the last page of the novel with a necessary repetition (I see you), which place meant to be the beginning with a change in the form of the discourse as a silent utterance about the state of Bahaa, which gives an idea of the text rotating around itself in a lined narrative movement in which the events end at a point, then return in a circular shape that attracts attention and reception.
As for the end of the novel, it ended with an important transtextuality that the novel was concluded with, and it is the word (beginning) that formed a set of indications that the circular time cycle had begun again towards the beginning, and in this novel this beginning was formed in the return of the two heroes to childhood to recover what they were robbed of joy and happiness at this age.
The deployment of dedication technique
Sanaa Shalan practiced experimentation in many of the experimental techniques that she used in the narrative architect in this novel , but at the same time she preserved everything that would “establish, flash, inspire, and move away from everything that confuses and obstructs the march of significance.One of the experimental techniques that she used is referring real living outer space that lies outside the narrative structure into the inside of the narrative architecture in an interesting formation, thus breaking expectation for the reader, creating real astonishment that leads to the benefit of the narrative, and opens the text to many potential questions.
She practiced this technique when she manipulated the issue of gifting, with which she begins her narration on page , she dedicated her novel to the diaspora Iraqi contemporary writer Abbas Dakhil Hassan Abbas Dakhil Hassan, and in the dedication she wrote: “To the diaspora Iraqi contemporary writer Abbas Dakhil Hassan Abbas Dakhil Hassan, and she wrote in the dedication: “To the writer Abbas inside Hassan Crucified under the sky of the pole as the star of the Phoenicians; A warm man in the greatest frost, and a mythical who lives in the space of the impossible, with endless waiting, concludes with remembering despite his distress, drawing warmth on the cold silence.
The matter could have remained normal, following the habit of writers, researchers, writers, artists and scholars who dedicate their creative, research, artistic and academic works to those who supported them in their achievements, or provided assistance, which is a thanks gift occurs in the first pages of a creative work, but remains outside the narrative of the work itself, and does not refer to it in any way.
However, the situation is different in the novel (secured by forgetfulness). As the dedication outside the body of the novel transferred into the text of the novel , Sanaa Shalan extracted her personal gift from the beginning of the novel, and placed it within the narrative of the text, so (AL Dah'ak) dedicated his giant research work consisting of seven parts, entitled (Psalms of Lovers in the World of Desires) to his beloved (Bahaa), so he said in this dedication: To Bahaa Crucified under the sky of the pole as the star of the Phoenicians, a warm woman in the greatest frost, a mythical who lives in the space of the impossible, with endless waiting, concludes with remembering despite her distress, drawing warmth on the cold silence. It is clear that this dedication text is the same that Sanaa Shalan wrote in the first novel of her contemporary, the exiled Iraqi writer Abbas Dakhil Hasan, and this brings us to a forest of permissible and legitimate questions. So did Sanaa Shalan want to hint at us that Abbas Dakhil Hassan is himself? Or did she want to turn the outside into the inside, or do the opposite in order to force the novel in reality? Or is she just doing a trial game? Or did she use this technique as a tool to link the fiction of the novel with the realism of projections? Or want to manipulate the reader in vain without justified narrative goals? Whatever is the answer, Sanaa Shalan was able to disturb the monotony of the narration, and broke the boundaries of the outside and the inside, dragging the inside out, and the outside in, and opened the frontiers to each other, and said boldly, powerfully, confidently and openly: I see you, as she said at the beginning of the novel, "I see you.”(78) Repeated the same phrase at the end finishing it with “I see you”.
Time rotation technique
(Secured by forgetfulness) is distinguished by unique chronological structure based on high narrative literality. As this novel consists of thirty chapters, and of course arranged sequentially from one to thirty, which is usual with regard to the sequential order, but the exceptional thing in this novel is that changing the location of any chapter and placing it in another place does not disturb the novel, or destroy it, but the matter is the same, and this unique feature of the novel comes through the technique of narrative retrieval that follows the course of the narration, as long as this is the case, it is possible to pick up the line of remembrance from anywhere without affecting the hierarchy of the narrative line, and the time rotation technique contributed to that, that is, making time circular, that is, it starts from where it ends, and ends from where it starts, as if never-ending closed circuit, and this kind of circular time is what we can attribute to as a mythical time, because its unable to finish, or even to determine the beginning, but repeated over and over. We can monitor that in the novel through the system of thirty chapters in the novel, which has been called forgetting, if we change the location of any and put it somewhere else, or if we - for example - put the end chapter in place of the beginning chapter, this will not affect the impact of the narration in the novel. Because it relies on the free retrieval of memories and events without successive time restrictions.
In this regard, critic Abbas Dakhil Hassan says: “The remarkable success that is mentioned for this novel is that it is written in the style of intermittent narration without relying on the logical sequence of events, so the narrator began the story from the end, and made the beginning the conclusion, this is a truly genius aspect of the narrative formation of the novel. If we changed the arrangement of the chapters, the narrative structure of the novel would not have collapsed, and this fragmentation came in harmony with the structure of the narrative activity itself, with awareness and intentionality according to a masterful narrative imagination.
To let the reader participate in the composition of the fictional work again, and to produce his interpreted text as an implicit reader who shapes his narrative vision and identity. (Abbas, 2019)It can be said that the mythical time is from the cyclical time that we find in the form of an anthropological truth in all ancient civilizations, and it is based on the possibility of repeating time with the repetition of typical actions simulating a first sacred act, and this time does not differ from the first time of myths, because the myths of creation imply that creation is an ever-renewed work (Muhammad, 1994), the mythical time, as Ernst Kasserar sees it, is a “biological time that the primitive see as a context for different stages of life in essence. It is an absolute time that can be restored, repeated, and returned to the beginning. It is the time of beginnings and eternal return. (Muhammad, Ajayna) Sanaa Shalan was able to make circular time through thirty chapters , thirty forgetfulness, through the retrieval technique that was divided into five internal orbits of the narratives through thirty chapters, which is equal to thirty days, and through seven origami stars at the beginning of each chapter equal to seven days of the week, and through 365 origami stars spread inside the body of the novel equal to the days of the year, and thus these divisions form the inner time of the novel, is identical to the division of outside the novel, except that it is characterized by the legendary circularity ,that is, it starts from where it ends, and ends where it begins.
This circular time dominates the novel (Secured by Forgetfulness), while on the superficial level appears that the time of the novel is emptied other than the time of recall and retrieval of a period of two years, especially in the first level in the novel, but the time is really in the novel through seventy years of the suffering of the two heroes and of the nation and people as well. (Munther, 2020) Bahaa when chronicles her story, she does not mention specific time, but rather links her story with the events of suffering, grief and pain, and also makes the bound times presumptive and unspoken as long as they represent the time of suffering, pain of humanity at any time or place.
It can be said that Sanaa Shalan has invested various techniques that have turned towards narrative experimentation in order to transfer her narrative experience from a mere passionate novel that triumphs for love as a hope for salvation and life, to the level of the epic that embodies the suffering of peoples completely in the path of alienation, oppression and injustice, suitable for every image a crushed persecutor in a cruel and arrogant world that can only be described as a large orphan in Bahaa's word, who saw herself as a mere orphan wasted in a brutal and oppressive world that have no justice for weak people, depressed and oppressed.
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