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Memed, My Hawk Summary

Yaşar Kemal Gökçeli’s novel Memed, My Hawk tells the story of a young rebel’s struggle with corrupt forces in his local region. Having lost his father early in his life, Memed has spent his early years in the company of his mother, Deuneh, in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey, in a village whose citizens are routinely subjected to manipulation and abuse by their landlord, Abdi Agha. From a young age, Memed showed himself unwilling to endure this treatment. Once, as a boy, he escapes across the mountains to a nearby ranch, where he enjoys a brief period of freedom as a sheep herder. However, Abdi Agha discovers he is alive and forces him to return, exacting a heavy material toll on his family as punishment.

As a young man, Memed’s bitterness and anger at his situation are mitigated only by his affection for Hatche, a girl in his village who is engaged to Abdi Agha’s nephew. Hatche and Memed decide to run away and break this betrothal, at which point Abdi hires Lame Ali, a skilled hunter, to pursue the couple. Memed makes a stand against Abdi’s men, and in the ensuing fight, he shoots down Abdi’s nephew while seriously wounding his uncle.

Memed manages to escape, but Hatche is captured and falsely accused by Abdi of having fired the shot that disposed of his nephew. Now on the run, Memed falls in with the outlaws of the region, encountering some with whom he forms friendships, such as the former police officer Rejep, but also individuals he comes to revile as evil, such as the leader of the band he initially joins, a man known as Mad Durdu. After refusing to comply with Durdu’s orders to rob a passing nomadic leader, Memed breaks with him and sets up his own gang, dedicated not to the robbing of travelers, but instead to the punishment of Abdi and his ilk.

Memed and his men return to the village of Memed’s birth, only to find that Abdi, having first killed Memed’s mother and imprisoned his partner, has gone into hiding. Though he cannot stop Rejep murdering one of Abdi’s wives, Memed’s intercession in order to save Abdi’s children from his friend’s rage earns him the respect of the village. Lame Ali, who feels deeply guilty about his part in pursuing Memed earlier, provides the former with information as to Abdi’s location, and Memed sets out with his two friends Rejep and Jabbar to punish the landlord. They are so eager to do this, however, that in attempting to burn down the building where Abdi hides, they burn down the whole village, causing all the villagers to chase them up into the mountains. Here Recep dies, suffering from a wound to the neck he endured during the fighting.

(The entire section is 728 words.)