What do we find out about baby Anton Shammas at the end of the novel Arabesques?

At the end of the novel Arabesques, the reader receives further details about why Michael feels so attached to baby Anton Shammas. The reader finds out that Michael slept on baby Anton’s pillow, had his dreams, and pretended to be him. At the end, the reader more fully discovers why Michael felt like he could usurp a dead baby’s identity.

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At the end of Anton Shammas’s novel Arabesques, Dr. Michael Abyad and Anton meet. Anton then cedes several paragraphs to Michael’s voice.

In this section, Michael summarizes how Uncle Jiryes left for Argentina and how he was brought up by Almaza. Michael hears about how Anton died. He tells how the baby died before he lived to be one year old. Michael sleeps on the dead baby’s pillow and somehow even has his dreams.

Years later, after Michael returns to Beirut, the topic of baby Anton comes up again. The reader finds out that Michael used to pretend that he was this Anton. As Michael says, “I used to imagine that I was he.”

The infatuation reaches such an intensity that Michael seems to think it’s ok to take on the identity of baby Anton entirely. Michael appears to usurp his narrative. He thinks he’s justified in presenting himself as Almaza’s son. After all, Almaza loved him and cared for him as much as her biological baby.

Then the reader finds out more. Michael says he wrote his autobiography under the name Anton Shammas. In the autobiography, Michael also plays the role of the dead little boy.

To put all of the above in a nice, neat sentence, you could say the following: at the end of the novel, we find out more details about why Michael felt like he could assume the identity of baby Anton.

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