Chapters 57–63 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on February 24, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1040

Chapter 57 

Although Hajem is gone, the people of Harran believe he will come back, so Dabbasi makes the loan to Ibn Rashed, giving the money to the emir to keep until it is time to pay the compensation. Soon, Dabbasi takes advantage of the loan to pressure Ibn Rashed into giving up some land he owns for Dabbasi to build a house on. He is not the only one to exploit Ibn Rashed’s terrified state. Daham, who formerly assisted Ibn Rashed, becomes confident and self-important, bustling around managing things the way that Ibn Rashed once did. Making a decision that raises eyebrows in town, Daham goes back to wearing Arab clothes, explaining to Ibn Rashed that they are better for concealing pistols. After interacting with the bustling Daham several times, the emir asks him to tell Ibn Rashed he wants to see him. In the town, rumors spread about Ibn Rashed and what has him so frightened: is Miteb al-Hathal coming back?

Chapter 58 

The harsh summer weather continues, and many of the Americans go elsewhere for a vacation. Those who stay are even harder on the workers than before. Unable to use their boiling and infested barracks, the men request to live in tents again. Each day of work is the same, with the American supervisors growing angrier and more disgusted as the day goes on. In the evenings, the men go back to their tents, often to quarrel among themselves or vent about their treatment. Yet they also reminisce together about their pasts and sing sorrowfully together in the night. 

Chapter 59 

Both Harrans continue to grow, with Arab Harran becoming increasingly crowded. Rapidly, new shops and houses spring up everywhere in the Arab town, both high-quality and low-quality structures. During this time, two powerful men come to Harran. Mohieddin al-Naqib, a famous merchant, decides to stay, while Hassan Rezaie is simply a visitor. Seemingly confident of his importance, he visits the emir, giving him a telescope. Rumors spread about the telescope, which Ibn Naffeh condemns as blasphemous. Then, the news comes that the party ship of the barely clothed people has returned. Though most of the men go down to the beach immediately, Abdu Muhammad is stuck in his bakery, waiting for his loaves to finish. When they burn in the oven, he leaves the bakery and goes to the beach to watch for the woman he fell in love with. He disappears for a time, and rumors that he has drowned circulate in the town. However, he reappears, sad but alive.

Chapter 60 

Ibn Rashed begins to recover his strength and to go about among the people of Harran again. Yet both he and Dabbasi remain certain that Ibn Rashed is still in serious trouble because of Miteb al-Hathal and the other Bedouin, who they believe will come and try to kill him. When Ibn Rashed is in the coffeehouse, a boy warns that the Bedouin are coming. Ibn Rashed fires his pistol inside the coffeehouse, then faints. After this incident, he begins to hallucinate shouts and cries. Meanwhile, Dabbasi goes about planning for his son’s wedding, working hard to get the emir to come, even though the leader would rather play with his new telescope. The wedding turns out to be less grand than Dabbasi had hoped. As they are parading around Harran in a torchlight procession, shots ring out in the marketplace. No one is harmed, but the mood changes. The newlyweds go home. In the morning, the word goes out about a “disappointing” event during the wedding night that is said to stem from Saleh’s being tired out by the procession. A month later, Ibn Rashed suddenly dies. Feeling responsible for his death, the Harranis, even Dabbasi, mourn him sincerely.

Chapter 61 

In death, Ibn Rashed is remembered with more admiration and care than he was treated in life, since the men had been so angry at his exploitative behavior. The old man, Hajem’s uncle, tells the other Harranis that the Americans are responsible for Ibn Rashed’s death, while the others say that the old man is responsible because he kept on at Ibn Rashed about the compensation. Many discussions of who is at fault take place in the town, and all feel some degree of responsibility. Regretful at the way he treated Ibn Rashed, Dabbasi tells his son not to celebrate the man’s death. The narrator explains that the memory of Ibn Rashed will linger in Harran for a long time.

Chapter 62 

The autumn, too, brings unpleasant weather, as well as the return of the Americans. Many new arrivals crowd into the American compound. To the amazement of the Arabs, automobiles (which they are not familiar with) are unloaded from the ships and drive into the compound. Through his telescope, the emir spots barely clothed women on the ship. He and his men are overcome with sexual excitement. Emir Khaled watches the ship through his telescope all day. At night, he has frustrating sexual dreams. He and his deputy isolate themselves until the ship leaves, creating rumors that the emir is ill. After it departs, they return to the public eye, though the emir still seems distracted afterward.

Chapter 63 

The emir refuses to see people, leaving his deputy emir to greet those who come to speak with him. When Dabbasi comes to visit, the deputy emir instructs him to plan for another hunting trip with the emir. Suddenly, the emir grows angry and suspicious of his own men, fearing that they told the Americans about his spying on the ship with the telescope. He rages at them and sends them away. Feeling the need to speak out, the deputy emir tells Emir Khaled that the telescope is what is making him ill and that he believes the women on the ship were sex workers wearing makeup. Planning many more construction projects, the Americans visit Khaled and invite him to their compound to view the projects himself. He agrees but does not say when. Returning to Harran after some time, Hassan Rezaie brings a radio to show to the emir and his men. They are shocked and excited to encounter a device that produces music and voices independent of human bodies.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Chapters 50–56 Summary


Chapters 64–70 Summary