Chapters 71–77 Summary

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Last Updated on February 24, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 716

 Chapter 71

In Harran, the most prestigious citizens prepare for a momentous occasion, confusing the more common people. When it happens, they discover the sultan’s deputy has arrived. Crown Prince al-Khazel has come to Harran. The visit is chaotic, everyone jostling for attention, but the doctor’s high status quickly becomes clear. That same day, there is a party in the American compound to celebrate the pipeline’s opening. The doctor gives the crown prince a gift of a carpet which his father and grandfather owned before him.

Chapter 72

The narrator describes Muffadi, the man who had served as a doctor of sorts for Harran before Subhi’s arrival, as well as someone who did odd jobs around town. He is bitter about the new doctor and frustrated with his life. However, the Bedouin still come to see him, not trusting the new doctor. Some of the townspeople feel the other way around, so both men are still able to make a living being doctors in the town of Harran. Yet Muffadi still tries to stir up resentment of Subhi, who does not retaliate openly. Several rich citizens of the town marry at this time, including the emir, who has an extravagant ceremony. Later, Muffadi is accused of crimes and imprisoned several times. He is finally threatened with exile if he does not go work in the quarry within seven days. Ibn Naffeh assumes responsibility for him.

Chapter 73

A series of people visit Mufaddi at Ibn Naffeh’s for treatment, those who don’t trust or cannot afford Dr. Subhi. The latter does not pay any real attention at first, but when he begins to lose business, he becomes concerned. Mufaddi continues to treat patients, in his unorthodox way, and still has not gone to the quarry after six days. Ibn Naffeh does not know what to do. The rogue doctor disappears at first but is found in the desert, apparently having been beaten to near the point of death. After a few hours, he dies. Harran is terrified. 

Chapter 74

Mufaddi is buried, and the men make plans to try to avenge him, but they disagree about who is responsible. When Subhi hears of this, he gives his assistant a story to tell about how Subhi reacted to the news. Abdu Muhammad gives out bread for free, and the people mourn. The emirate issues a statement closing the case of Mufaddi’s murder. A number of workers are fired, the others decide to strike. The emir and the Americans gather to figure out what to do about the strike. The strikers decide to ask for their work back and an account of what happened to Mufaddi. These are the terms those who were not fired require before they will return to work or stop threatening the Americans and the government. 

Chapter 75

The strikers cannot reach an agreement with the emirate or the Americans. The latter two plot what to do, not only to resolve the strike but also to mitigate their danger from the Bedouin tribesmen of the desert. Their conversation is frustratingly inconclusive for Johar. He is a Harrani who works for the emirate, and after hearing these conversations, he decides that he knows better than anyone what to do and will act on his own.

Chapter 76 

Johar brings soldiers to massacre some of the workers. The men fight back with sticks and stones, anything they can find. They break into the camp and fight the soldiers, and a man who is thought to be Miteb al-Hathal appears, inspiring them. No one can tell if it is really Miteb, however. Eventually, the Harranis decide to call off their retaliatory attack before it goes too far. After stopping their attack, the workers and Arab Harranis try to figure out what to do next. Dabbasi is unsure and cannot agree with the others. They debate the question for a long time but remain troubled and uncertain.

Chapter 77 

The emir leaves town at sunrise. Rumors fly through Harran, bringing an atmosphere of trouble and fear. The workers are rehired through an official statement, which also says that the emir has left town for medical reasons. No one in town can tell what will happen next. They fear and wonder. As Dabbasi says, “no one can read the future.”

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Chapters 64–70 Summary