Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Dikenli Plateau

*Dikenli Plateau. Highland plain nestled beneath the rugged peaks of Turkey’s Alidagh Mountains in the Taurus chain; tiny villages on the plateau, such as Kinalitepe, provide the main setting for the novel. The novel devotes considerable attention to the various natural images offered to the viewer of Dikenli. Because of its high altitude, it is often cloaked in a cloudy mist and is barely visible. In the season of intense sun, the whiteness of an extensive blanket of thistles make it appear as a field of snow. Kemal speaks also of the strong aroma of soil which, although not fully fertile, symbolizes the earthiness of village existence.

*Alidagh Mountain

*Alidagh Mountain. Most prominent peak in the region in which the novel is set. Its vegetation ceases at a certain height, and the rocky crags around its summit provide a multitude of refuges in which Slim Memed hides during his flight. His last refuge before he is captured is in a cave on Alidagh. The mountain’s summit commands a view of the Seyhan River as it runs its most rapid course through the mountains, and at the end of its descent from the mountain, the beginnings of the open plains of Cilicia.


*Taurus. Major mountain range that separates southeastern Turkey from northeastern Syria. Known to the Turks as Aladaghlar, the range forms an arc around the rich agricultural plain of Cilicia. The novel...

(The entire section is 469 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Evin, Ahmet Ö., ed. Edebiyat: A Journal of Comparative and Middle Eastern Literatures 5, nos. 1/2 (1980). The entire issue is devoted to Kemal and his work. Four articles discuss Memed, My Hawk in detail.

Prokosch, Frederic. “Robin Hood in Anatolia.” Saturday Review 44, no. 3 (August 19, 1961): 19, 55. Claims that the novel fails as social criticism but succeeds as myth.

Rau, Santha Rama. “Robin Hood of the Taurus Mountains.” The New York Times Book Review, June 11, 1961, 6-7. Praises the novel for its romantic and epic qualities.

Theroux, Paul. “Turkish Delight.” The New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1977, 40. In a review of They Burn the Thistles (1972), which is a sequel to Memed, My Hawk, Theroux compares Kemal to William Faulkner and laments the Turkish author’s relatively small audience in America compared to his audiences in Turkey and Europe.

“Turkish Robin Hood.” Time 77, no. 25 (June 16, 1961): 90. A representative review of the novel when it was first published in the United States. Touts Memed as a latter-day Robin Hood and speculates about the influence of the author’s life on the narrative.