Chapters 50–56 Summary

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Last Updated on February 24, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 910

Chapter 50 

With the expansion of the port and building of roads complete, even more strangers and strange items arrive in Harran. Some go to live in the American compound, while others are new workers, poor and willing to do anything. Abdullah has a house built for himself, and Ibn Rashed plans to build a big building as his own home and office. Hajem returns to Harran, sick and traumatized. When Ibn Rashed hears about this, he disappears. The workers search for him, enraged at Hajem’s condition, but cannot find him. A relative of Hajem tells the men that they will get Ibn Rashed in the end.

Chapter 51 

The townspeople are still unable to find Ibn Rashed. Hajem and his relative take shelter in the mosque. The deputy emir comes and argues with Hajem’s relative about whether Ibn Rashed is his enemy and how the government should treat people. The man is shocked that justice will not be served. When they are told to take Hajem and his relative away, the emir’s men do not know what to do with them, for there is no prison in Harran. They are horrified when the deputy emir orders them to imprison the two by tying them to their camels, who have been hobbled so that they cannot run.

Chapter 52 

That night, the two men and the men instructed to tie them all sleep by the camels. In the night, the infuriated old man broods on the injustice of the world. At first he tells himself that the deputy emir must have made a mistake and things will be different tomorrow, but then he doubts it. Late the next day, he is taken to the deputy emir, who is sitting next to Ibn Rashed. The deputy emir forces a confrontation between the old man and Ibn Rashed. Claiming innocence, Ibn Rashed tells the old man to seek compensation for Mizban’s death from the company, not the government. Uncertain what to do, the deputy emir promises that “everyone will get his due” but delays announcing a decision.

Chapter 53 

Harran is taken by surprise when the emir returns suddenly from his hunting trip with Dabbasi. The person who is particularly shocked is Ibn Rashed, because he has just been trying to arrange with the company to pay compensation for Mizban’s death through the government, in order to defuse tensions in the camp. Upon his arrival, Emir Khaled excitedly tours his new home and office. Overjoyed with the construction, he praises the building and the people who made it. The deputy emir tells Khaled about the events during his absence, but Khaled does not really listen.

Chapter 54 

The next day, Ibn Rashed comes to visit the emir. To get on the emir’s good side, he offers to arrange for his house to be fitted up exactly like the American houses in the compound. When the men come to work in the compound, Ibn Rashed confuses them by joining the work for a moment, until Emir Khaled tells him to stop. As they walk together, Ibn Rashed thinks through his problem: he needs to explain the tense and worsening situation, and the solution he has sought, without making the emir angry at him. Khaled observes that Ibn Rashed is preoccupied and advises him to avoid worry. In response, Ibn Rashed is honest with him and explains what has happened. Khaled tells Ibn Rashed that it is his fault that “the people’s rights have been lost.” The other man continues to try to explain, but the emir tells him to solve his own problems.

Chapter 55 

In the end, the company absolutely refuses to pay compensation for Mizban’s death, arguing that he was Ibn Rashed’s legal responsibility when he was killed. Ibn Rashed asks the emir to help acquire him a loan from the Americans so he can pay the compensation. Scornfully, the emir tells Ibn Rashed he will not intercede and to go take out a loan from Dabbasi or Abdullah instead. Later, Dabbasi comes to visit Emir Khaled. He learns that the emir has released Hajem and the old man and discovers the opportunity to make a loan to Ibn Rashed. As Hajem and the old man travel through the town, Ibn Naffeh preaches to them on the demonic nature of the Americans. When Dabbasi returns to Arab Harran after seeing the emir, he tells his men to care for Hajem and the old man. Three days later, the emir arranges for Dabbasi to make the loan to Ibn Rashed. After some delay, Ibn Rashed decides to go along with the plan. Then it is discovered that Hajem and the old man have left town, meaning that the problem may get worse instead of being resolved by the loan and the payment of the compensation.

Chapter 56 

A harsh summer arrives, bringing fears of drought and death. The narrator explains that while in the past, the people of Harran would worry if a caravan were absent or delayed, now there is such a continuous stream of arrivals from all directions that the Harranis feel their city is not their own. The men of the town are angry and worried, and their wives have to soothe them. All of the Harranis experience depression. Most miserable is Ibn Rashed, target of the emir’s fury, who becomes constantly panicked, afraid of everyone around him. Ibn Haffeh attributes this change to demonic possession.

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Chapters 43–49 Summary


Chapters 57–63 Summary