Introduction (Recovered)

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    Wasif 1

    Chapter 1

    Introduction to Pamuks Subaltern

    Orhan Pamuks fiction, besides attempting to answer the questions regarding the

    unstable Turkish identity, is also remarkable for its emphasis on the subaltern of Turkish

    history, i.e, those things that are often ignored in the meta-narratie of Turkish history.

    The aim of this study is to e!plore how Pamuk, in his fiction, gies oice to that

    subalternthrough a rigorous reisionism of Ottoman history and Turkish secular


    Pamuks fiction, while concerned mainly with the Turkish landscape can be read

    and identified with on a uniersal leel. Pamuks "stanbul, much like #ames #oyces

    $ublin, is not a city rooted in a particular geographical locality, but a city that, influencedas it is by both %astern and &estern ciili'ations, has timeless wisdom and beauty and is

    uniersal in its appeal. This antage point allows Pamuk to comment upon issues sacred

    not only to a Turkish audience but to humanity worldwide. The study also intends to

    e!plore Pamuks work in a postcolonial perspectie, because een though he is not

    considered a postcolonial writer per se, his fiction resonates strongly with readers of

    postcolonial fiction as it e!plores themes such as clash between two ciili'ations and the

    plight of the mutedsubaltern. Pamuk is remarkable for the fact that he is a

    postmodernist writer in a generation of Turkish writers, most of whom couldnt get

    beyond a smalltime flirtation with modernism. (is postmodernist te!ts not only make use

    of standard postmodernist tropes such as but also help bring to the surface the subaltern

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    past of Turkey and the subaltern oices that hae been foreer relegated to the periphery

    eer since the Turkish )epublic came into being.

    *ost of the earlier research conducted on Pamuk before e!plores the Ottoman

    theme in his ma+or works, such as The White CastleandMy Name is Red. s Pamuk

    became increasingly more releant in present day post // scenario and as he continued

    to write noels such as Snowthat focus on contemporary issues, many critics also

    commented upon the political oertones of his work, especially in relation to "slam and

    the cleaages that emerge as a result of clash between secularism and "slamism. 0ome

    work has also been conducted on the more metaphysical aspects of his fiction, such as the

    concept of hznor spiritual loss and western ideas relating to the metaphysics of death

    and how Pamuk incorporates them in his fiction, such as The Black Bookpaing way for

    countless %ast - &est clash debates.

    &hat this study would primarily focus on, is how Pamuk lets the subaltern

    narraties speak for themseles in three of his ma+or noels, *y 1ame is )ed, The

    2lack 2ook and 0now. lthough the noels are not listed in order of their publication,

    this study would analy'e the deelopment of a particular idea oer a certain timeline. *y

    1ame is )ed, set in the seenteenth century captures the Ottoman %mpire in all of its

    glory, while hinting towards something hidden in the competing narraties of the te!t.

    The 2lack 2ook portrays the era between the /34 and /54 military coups, an era

    remarkable for its persecution of intellectuals, censorship and a general air of gloom.

    0now, set in the early /4s in the city of 6ars depicts contemporary Turkeys struggle

    with the tussle between din and delvet i.e, religion and the state. ll three of these works,

    set in a different era highlight the tensions in the metanarratie of Turkish )epublic.

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    One ma+or reason this study aims to analy'e Pamuks writings through the lens of

    subaltern studies is that his fiction demonstrates flawlessly the anishing point where

    e!planation fails and only description is possible, i.e, an uncertainty that is linked to

    religion, spirituality and the subaltern oices71oet'ke /839.


    Orhan Pamuk, as an author is, as clich:d as it sounds, incredibly ersatile and

    dierse. (is work is not limited to one specific genre but a catalog of genres. ;or e!ample

    *y 1ame is )ed is at once a murder mystery and a philosophical discourse on Ottoman

    history. The 2lack 2ook on the other hand can best be termed a as postmodernist

    allegory as well as a metaphysical detectie story, while 0now combines interte!tualities

    from different sources to put across its point. (oweer, no matter how many different

    genres Pamuk utili'es, he always returns to the Ottoman history as the source of all

    inspiration. (is ma+or characters, who often undertake soul searching +ourneys regarding

    their self-imposed identities, often return to the past for solace as well as some much

    needed confrontation. &hile most of such soul searching +ourneys are personal in nature,

    they are almost always inariably tied to the collectie Turkish, specifically Ottoman

    history. Pamuk here, makes use of competing narraties to present different facets of the

    same story, so that een in places where there seems to be an omniscient narrator, as is the

    case in The 2lack 2ook, Pamuks superb, masterful storytelling compels the readers to

    identify for themseles, the different and often diergent iews in the plot. Pamuks

    noels then, een when they appear to rely on the comfort of linear, are infact +ust as

    multifaceted and hae as many parallel narratie discourses as when there are multiple

    narrators inoled in storytelling.

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    ll of this brings us to how Pamuks style and the content of his fiction can be

    studied in a 0ubaltern 0tudies

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    themes in Pamuks works is the untranslatability of discourse. 0ometimes two cultures,

    while sharing many things in common are unable to compromise on certain alues that

    are untranslatable such as the issues of identity as shown in The &hite =astle and the

    headscarf issue as portrayed in 0now. These issues are the subaltern of Pamuks


    The truth alue of certain things is often questioned in Pamuk. That is wheneer

    there is a slight deiation from the sacred there is always a hue and cry. That is why this

    +ourney from the center to the periphery is also part of this discourse.


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    and the way Pamuk attempts to rewrite the official narratie of Turkish history and points

    out the way Ottoman history has been relegated to the periphery in modern Turkish

    society. (oweer, ery few studies hae actually attempted to work out the way Pamuk

    e!poses the bias of elitist historiography and attempts to establish the subaltern in his

    works as the maker of his own destiny. Pamuk also studies the relationship between te!ts

    and power and this hermeneutic strategy on his part can be seen as a quest to determine

    the role of the subaltern in the e!isting metanarraties.

    0ubaltern 0tudies, primarily a pro+ect associated with "ndian history, has now

    come to be associated with many different disciplines, including literature. &hen we set

    out to trace the eolution of 0ubaltern studies, one thing that immediately becomes

    obious is that as an approach 0ubaltern 0tudies has been found to be e!tremely useful in

    analy'ing things not only from a historical perspectie, but a literary perspectie as well.

    =hakrabarty attempts to e!plain how Subaltern Studies, that started off as a

    ?specific and focused interention@ in the discipline of "ndian history, spilled oer into the

    genre ofPostcolonialism7=hakrabarty /49. Postcolonial theorists particularly made use of

    the subaltern studies approach to critici'e nationalism, orientalism and %urocentricism.

    0ubaltern studies, as )ana+it

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    e!amined the relationship between ?te!ts and power@ 7889. This inoled, as =hakrabarty

    e!plains, the need for a historian of subaltern social groups to look out for the biases of

    the elite as well as aoid representing the subaltern groups through elite modes of

    representation as these would not so much proide a oice to the subaltern classes, as

    sub+ugate them 78B9.

    "n Postcoloniality and the rtifice of (istoryC &ho 0peaks for D"ndianD PastsE

    =hakrabarty stresses the importance of 0ubaltern 0tudies while referring to arious

    histories of "ndia. =hakrabarty establishes a comple! argument, the cru! of which is that

    +ust as the phenomenon of Orientalism refuses to die inspite of the critical awareness

    critics hae towards it, %urocentrism remains a fundamental part of the discipline of

    history, as it is taught as uniersities 789. This has led according to =hakrabarty, to a

    ?mimetic@ mode of self-representation for the "ndians and "ndian history. "ndian history,

    een when it comes across as strictly *ar!ist or 1ationalist, remains a mimicry of a

    hyper-real %urope and %uropean history 7/59. The only way out would be a pro+ect to

    ?proinciali'e@ %urope, something which again is fraught with difficulties. =hakrabarty

    suggests that pro+ect of proinciali'ing %urope would entail embracing a new approach

    towards discussion of history. ccording to him, the new historiography ?will attempt the

    impossibleC to look toward its own death by tracing that which resists and escapes the best

    human effort at translation across cultural and other semiotic systems, so that the world

    may once again be imagined as radically heterogeneous 78B9.

    "n ?(istory as =ritique and =ritique7s9 of (istory@, =hakrabarty begins by quoting

    %dward 0aids iews on 0ubaltern 0tudies. %dward 0aid describes the ?historiographical

    effort@ of 0ubaltern studies as ?history as critique@ and elaborates that history here is

    treated as a critique of imperialism, but more importantly, it is critique of imperialist

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    knowledge. 0aid particularly lauds those anti-colonial writers who work with techniques

    and discourses once resered e!clusiely for %uropean scholars 78/389. Taking 0aids

    argument a step further, =hakrabarty asserts that 0ubaltern 0tudies can be instrumental in

    transforming the discipline of history at its ery ?center@. ccording to =hakrabarty, een

    1ationalist histories in "ndia, share a metanarratie with imperialist histories. "t is only

    through the means of 0ubaltern 0tudies that the situation can be rectified.

    0ubaltern 0tudies area of influence is not limited to 0outh-east sia only. "n her

    article, ?The Promise and $ilemma of 0ubaltern 0tudies@, ;lorencia %. *allon e!plores

    the role of the 0ubaltern 0tudies pro+ect in Fatin merican Fiterature. 0he e!plains how

    some Fatin merican intellectuals, decided to appropriate techniques used by the

    0ubaltern studies scholars for mapping historiographies, in a bid to moe beyond

    %urocentric traditions of analy'ing conflicts and debates within political and literary

    circles. The compromise that 0ubaltern 0tudies offers is that it was founded by a group of

    theorists based in the so-called third world who were at the same time conersant in the

    latest postmodernist trends. Their theories were incorporated by the Fatin merican

    intellectuals in a bid to analy'e the subersie potential of the Fatin merican classical

    te!ts and writings of arious sorts. *allon argues that to fully take adantage of the

    potential of 0ubaltern 0tudies pro+ect, one ought to employ postmodern critical theories

    by $errida and ;oucault and read them in con+unction with the

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    immolation of widows after the death of their husbands -sati- and its condemnation by the

    2ritish as an e!ample of the way ?masculine imperialist ideology@ works, 0piak points

    out to the irony of ?white men saing brown women from brown men@. 0piak argues

    that in the imperialist accounts of widows burning themseles in the wake of their

    husbands deaths, one neer comes across the testimony of the women themseles. Their

    oices are neer recorded and so they are neer allowed to speak. "t is a case of the

    priileged talking to the priileged about ?the other@. 0piak also notes that ultimately all

    such discourses that claim to represent the subaltern almost neer represent them. *ost

    such discourses are eurocentric anyway, in both their tone and mode of representation and

    therefore it becomes impossible for the subaltern to ?speak@.

    0piaks essay focuses especially on the third world women and the way they are

    rendered incapable of articulating their own thoughts and feelings. "n instances such as

    the suicide ofBhuvaneswariBhaduriwho committed suicide after failing to carry out a

    political assassination she was entrusted with, people often assumed that it must hae

    been a case of illicit loe and an ensuing pregnancy, een though the girl was

    menstruating when she committed suicide. 0piak uses this incident to state that the

    subaltern as female cannot be heard and cannot speak.


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    turkish 1oel B->9 This stance of Pamuk regarding the 6urdish and rmenian genocide in

    which more than B4,444 6urds and / million rmenians were killed landed him in

    considerable trouble, not only with the

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    =hapter Two of the study will analy'e the themes of identity, mysticism and

    Ottoman heritage as depicted in *y 1ame is )ed.

    =hapter Three will e!plore the postmodernist allegory and the metaphysical

    detectie story that is presented in The 2lack 2ook. "t takes into consideration Pamuks

    assertion that "stanbul is his primary antage point, much like $ublin was #oyces and

    that he uses this antage point to demonstrate how something that has been relegated to

    the periphery ultimately affects what is in the center.

    =hapter ;our is a study of oert secularism and its clash with oert religiosity asdepicted in 0now. The chapter illustrates how many of the tensions in modern day

    Turkey can ultimately be traced to an inability to reconcile ones loyalties to the state to

    an interest in religion. Pamuks position can best be understood through the metaphor of

    the camera that, from a antage point, slowly pans out and 'ooms across to take in

    whateer is happening on the periphery.

    =hapter ;ie, which sums up the entire study, proides a conclusion that because

    OrhanPamuk chooses to write from the"eri"hery#it allows him to obsere the center and

    comment upon tensions in the fabric of a society that hae been brimming underneath for

    quite some time but which hae neer been acknowledged mostly because no one eer

    took the trouble to iew them from the periphery or the margins. Thesubalternoices in

    his fiction are seemingly unimportant issues that are buried deep beneath the so called

    more important issues. Pamuk, whether he is employing the metaphor of the Ottoman

    %mpire or *ar!ism, is always writing about the ignored, the unheard. &hen he is

    apparently talking about the %ast-&est clash, what he is actually demonstrating is not the

    clash of alues but the problem of iewing a different culture through the lens of a

    dominant ciili'ation.

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    Chapter $

    My %ame is !ed.

    *y 1ame is )ed marked a new chapter in Pamuks literary career and cemented

    his place in the international arena as a noelist of solid literary merit. Published in 844/,

    the noel set against the back drop of the Ottoman %mpire is at once a murder mystery, a

    reimagining of Ottoman legacy and of course a postmodernist te!t comprising a multitude

    of identities or "s, that each chapter begins with. The chorus of different "s in the noel

    create a beautiful symphony of oices that not only reeal the comple!ities of narratiebut also highlight the subalterns within.

    The eponymous character of the noel, the color red in a chapter ?" am )ed@

    states that since it is a color that is depicted in blood, clothes, paintings and all things

    irresistible, it basically is a multitude of identities rolled in one. The noel is certainly rich

    in colors. The noel which relates the story of a group of miniaturists makes use of a

    da''ling ariety of colors to portray different things but it is the color red which

    ultimately stands out among different colors.

    The subaltern in the noel is the lost Ottoman identity which is gien oice and

    allowed to come into limelight through the works of different miniaturists. )ed

    ultimately then becomes the liberator of the subaltern in *y 1ame is )ed.

    *1) that takes place oer a period of days in /A/ begins with the gruesome murder

    of a miniaturist. The miniaturist who was working on a secret book commissioned by the

    0ultan dies as a result of his work for the book. The corpse of the murdered man is

    depicted as speaking from the bottom of a well and sets off a chain of narraties that

    clearly indicate that *1) is a noel that reeals its secrets slowly, almost teasingly.

    The subaltern in the te!t is the Ottoman legacy of Turkey, symboli'ed through the

    agency ofMiniature "aintin!$ The "stanbul of /A/ is a witness to the absolute pinnacle

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    of Ottoman glory, yet there is a strong sense that the Ottoman %mpire is slowly but

    steadily on its way to decline.

    Towards the ery beginning of the noel the readers are greeted with a shocking

    spectacle that allows the readers to see from the perspectie of a dead man. There is a

    feeling at the ery beginning of the narratie that perspectie is gien a a lot of

    importance in the unierse of *1), with people, ob+ects and drawings all contributing

    their perspecties and helping to build a multilayered narratie that does not rely on the

    security of a linear one-dimensional narratie. "n a sense, the narratie of the dead man

    recounting his own death as ?J my arrial to this side was soothing, like the dream of

    seeing oneself aslee[email protected] seres as an allegory for the Ottoman %mpire recording its

    own decline and foreshadowing its demise that took place in //5. The entire noel can

    be read as the last will and testament of an empire in its last days.

    The death of the miniaturist %legant %ffendi in the beginning can be read as an

    initation to sole the ensuing mystery and discoer the hidden meaning of such a

    gruesome act as murder.

    Fet me say also that if the situation into which wee fallen were described

    in a book, een the most e!pert of miniaturists could neer hope to

    illustrate it. s with the 6oran-

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    The dead miniaturists assertion that the situation he and his fellow miniaturists

    find themseles in is too intense and too shocking to be illustrated. (e proides an

    interesting comparison by comparing the impossibility of his own situation to that of the

    impossibility of illustrating the 6oran. (e then ends with a sharp obseration that much

    of the power of the 6oran as a narratie stems from its impossibility to be illustrated.

    &hen something resists attempts to hae itself depicted in pictures, it ends up being

    enormously powerful. This opens up another possibility for the readers H maybe the

    subaltern in the noel cannot be precisely illustratedK maybe it ought to remain somewhat

    abstract and in the background so that ultimately it would end up being much more

    powerful than the master narratie itself.

    One of the key themes and binaries in *1) is the reelation of self and

    concealment of self. The &estern tradition of painting encouraged the indiidual to

    emerge in his painting. This was in stark contrast to the %astern tradition that

    encouraged a more esoteric approach to painting. The %astern tradition held that it was

    not the painter but the painting that held supreme importance and a true artist, knowing

    that he would be immortali'ed in his art would neer consider the option of signing his


    "f the anecdote of 2ih'ad is tied to the hidden and the subaltern in a narratie, it

    becomes clear that sometimes the master and subaltern narraties end up swapping

    identities. &hat is isible becomes secondary in importance to what is hidden.

    2ih'ad was so well aware of this fact that he didnt hide his signature

    anywhere in the painting. nd according to the elderly master, there was a

    sense of embarrassment and a feeling of shame in this decision of his.

    &here there is true art and genuine irtuosity the artist can paint an

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    incomparable masterpiece without leaing een a trace of his identityJ

    &hat was enerated as style was nothing more than an imperfection or

    flaw that reealed the guilty hand. 7889

    This leads to the argument that Olie, the murderer of %legant %ffendi and

    %nishte %ffendi makes that style that denotes the indiiduality or eccentricity of a

    painter is actually nothing more than an admission of imperfection or flaw on part of the


    The ery practice of making pictures in a predominantly *uslim world, let alonedeclaring oneself as the maker of those pictures was fraught with impossible difficulties.

    This is acknowledged by %nishte %ffendi who is about to be murdered by Olie and in a

    clarity of ision that is often e!perienced by a man about to bid life on earth a farewell,

    %nishte correctly deduces that part of Olies e!cuse to murder him is not ambition but

    fear. "t is the fear of a sinner who is foreer in dread of an impending doom or

    punishment regarding what he does and practice.

    s with 0heikh *uhammad of "sfahan, we miniaturists are inclined to feel

    guilty and regretful, were the first to blame ourseles before others do, to

    be ashamed and beg pardon of

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    )epublican historiography and forced to adopt a subaltern stance. "t also in a sense can be

    applied to the dying %nishte %ffendis obseration that the reason eerything succeeds in

    dying results from a desire to pass on when ones time was up.

    #ust before " died, " actually longed for my death, and at the same time, "

    understood the answer to the question that "d spent my entire life

    pondering, the answer " couldnt find in booksC (ow was it that eerybody,

    without e!ception, succeeded in dyingE "t was precisely through this

    simple desire to pass on. " also understood that death would make me a

    wiser man. 78/89

    The description of the color )ed is important and ery interesting in this regard.

    The anecdote of the two blind master miniaturists talking about describing a color to

    someone who is blind and has neer encountered the color )ed with his own eyes is full

    of symbolism.

    ?2ecause wee spent our entire lies ardently and faithfully working as

    painters, naturally, we, who hae now gone blind, know red and remember

    what kind of color and what kind of feeling it is, @ said the one whod

    made the horse drawing from memory. ?2ut, what if wed been born

    blindE (ow would we hae been truly able to comprehend this red that our

    handsome apprentice is usingE @

    ?n e!cellent issue, @ the other said. ?2ut do not forget that colors are not

    known, but felt.@

    ?*y dear master, e!plain red to somebody who has neer known red.@

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    ?"f we touched it with the tip of a finger, it would feel like something

    between iron and copper. "f we took it into our palm, it would burn. "t we

    tasted it, it would be full-bodied, like salted meat. "f we took it between

    our lips, it would fill our mouths. "f we smelled it, itd hae the scent of a

    horse. "f it were a flower, it would smell like a daisy, not a red rose. @ 788L9

    This incident itself is an e!tension of the argument that the unknown while

    always has a certain charm and a mystique, is also quite comple! to be understood

    completely. The Ottoman era, much romantici'ed by the 1eo-Orientalists and reiled by

    the staunch )epublicans in an e!ample of such a phenomenon. "t can only be described

    in terms of certain images and keywords like religion, mysticism, mythical, rich,

    kings etc, but is more than a little beguiling for a generation that has been forbidden to

    try and access it.

    2lindness is another trope used by Pamuk in the narratie and signifies insight in

    a classic postmodernist twist that leads to a reersal of meaning. *eaning as $errida

    and ;oucault point out is something arbitrary as indeed it is the case in *1). 2lindness

    here is an attempt to presere ones honor and ones genius after haing been at the

    absolute pinnacle of glory.

    ?The old masters, @ *aster Osman said, ?would suffer pangs of conscience

    about changing their talent, colors and methods. Theyd consider it

    dishonorable to see the world one day as an %astern shah commanded, the

    ne!t, as a &estern ruler did- which is what the artists of our day do. @

    ?&hen the great masters of old were forced to adopt the styles of ictors

    and imitate their miniaturists, they presered their honor by using a needle

    to heroically bring on the blindness that the labors of painting woulde

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    caused in time. Mes, before the pureness of

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    This argument is what Olie describes as his e!cuse for murdering both elegant

    %ffendi and %nishte %ffendi. (e claims that an adoption of the enetians style would

    hae led to the %uropeans deriding the Ottomans for haing gien up on being Ottomans

    and the e!tent of shame and ridicule would hae known no boundaries. "t also, according

    to Olie, is an assertion of the secular identity of a work of art, something that smacks

    of the Turkish )epublics Ottoman cleansing efforts. "nfact Olies entire speech seems

    to hae been directed at contemporary Turkish metanarratie and how the master

    narratie refuses to acknowledge the subaltern Ottoman narratie.

    Olies diatribe ironically leads him to e!perience whateer he has been

    passionately preaching. (e is blinded and beheaded and +ust before it, in a final mockery

    of his stance he is told

    ?ccording to legend, blood clots in the eyes of some and not in others. "f

    llah is pleased with your artistry, hell bestow (is own magnificent

    blackness upon you and take you under (is care. "n that case, you shall

    behold not this wretched world, but the e!quisite istas that (e sees. "f (e

    is displeased, you shall continue to see the world the way you now do.@


    The final pages of *y 1ame is )ed are from the account of 0hekure who wishes

    she had a youthful portrait of herself and that too in the manner of the enetian artists.

    (er lament that the cost of depicting a face like any other as the old masters of (erat did,

    was to forget the magnificent beauty of a face. This lament eokes the lament of a

    subaltern that its muted oice can neer actually make itself heard.

    *y own portraitK but " knew howeer hard the 0ultans miniaturists tried,

    theyd fail, because een if they could see my beauty, woefully, none of

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    them would beliee a womans face was beautiful without depicting her

    eyes and lips like a =hinese womans. (ad they represented me as a

    =hinese beauty, the way the old masters of (erat woulde, perhaps those

    who saw it and recogni'ed me could discern my face behind the face of

    that =hinese beauty. 2ut later generations, een if they reali'ed my eyes

    werent really slanted, could neer determine what my face truly looked

    like. (ow happy "d be today, in my old age-which " lie out through the

    comfort of my children-if " had a youthful portrait of myselfN 7A489

    (oweer, 0hekure is made to see things realistically by her son Orhan who tells

    her that if the old masters of (erat could not immortali'e her, the enetian masters could

    capture her youthful beauty but could neer actually stop time.

    Perhaps hes right. "n actuality, we dont look for smiles in pictures of

    bliss, but rather, for the happiness in life itself. Painters know this, but this

    is precisely what they cannot depict. Thats why they substitute the +oy of

    seeing for the +oy of life.

    This signifies a compromise that the subaltern narratie has to make. 2etween

    being depicted faithfully and being in a limbo with time being fro'en, there is a grey area,

    the true abode of the subaltern.

    Towards the end, 0hekure ends the narratie and in another postmodernist twist

    warns the readers not to be taken in by her son Orhans e!aggerated storytelling who

    would do anything to make a story more interesting.

    "n the hopes that he might pen this story, which is beyond depiction, "e

    told it to my son Orhan. &ithout hesitation " gae him the letters (asan

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    Wasif 22

    and 2lack sent me, along with the rough horse illustrations with the

    smeared ink, which were found on poor %legant %ffendi. boe all, dont

    be taken in by Orhan if hes drawn 2lack more absentminded than he is,

    made our lies harder than they are, 0heket worse and me prettier and

    harsher than " am. ;or the sake of a delightful and conincing story, there

    isnt a lie Orhan wouldnt deign to tell. 7A4B9

    This is perhaps the real Orhans 7Pamuk9 manner of reealing to the readers that

    what is considered subaltern and master actually depends upon the readers. The identities

    in the course of this narratie are ery fluid. "t is the reader that must impart them

    consistency to them.

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    Wasif 23

    Chapter &.

    'he Black Book

    %ara %ita"or The 2lack 2ook is often credited with proiding Pamuk with his

    first break on the international scene, after it was translated in /8. The 2lack 2ook is

    considered a postmodernist te!t with different genres intermingling to produce an incisie

    commentary on the Turkish cultural and social landscape.

    "n The 2lack 2ook, identity and what it means to be isibleinisible takes on a

    wholly different perspectie. The main protagonist of the noel is

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    Wasif 24

    The ery beginning of The 2lack 2ook sets the tone for this endless chase and

    quest for finding meaning. The epigraph of the noel hints towards an ensuing chase for

    an answer to the mystery, but at the same time, there is a sense that the mystery would be

    one with no closureC

    "bn rabi writes of a friend and derish saint who, after his soul

    was eleated to the heaens, arried on *ount 6af, the magic mountain

    that encircles the worldK ga'ing around him, he saw that the mountain

    itself was encircled by a serpent. 1ow, it is a well-known fact that no such

    mountain encircles the world, nor is there a serpent.

    The epigraph then points to the fact that this mystery would transcend the physical

    realm and actually become a metaphysical mystery. t the same time, )Iya, the


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    Wasif 25

    questions about mysteries of being and knowing which transcend the mere

    machinations of the mystery plot. *etaphysical detectie stories often

    emphasi'e this transcendence, moreoer by becoming self-refle!ie 7that

    is, by representing allegorically the te!ts own process of composition9.

    7qtd. in

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    Wasif 26

    of a metaphysical detectie story, the solution to a problem lies not in soling it but in

    self-actuali'ation that results from a failure to sole such a mystery.

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    Wasif 27

    suffering led him to self-actuali'ation, the ultimate goal of a loer in 0ufi mystical

    traditions. Thus )umi, while pining for his beloed, actually reali'ed himself, much like

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    Wasif 28

    metaphor for the spiritual +ourney in the 0ufi tradition, one must undertake to redeem

    oneself and regain ones lost identity.

    This 0ufi parable in The 2lack 2ook also brings to life another lost subaltern

    oice - that of the sacred, the deified and the lost mystical traditions. )ead against the

    backdrop of authoritarian )epublic and its denouncement of anything religious and

    anything remotely reminiscent of its Ottoman past, this particular parable becomes

    another subaltern that must be liberated.

    ;or one thing, the ery mention of these 0ufi traditions that hae largely been

    relegated to the periphery of the grand master narratie of Turkish )epublic, would be

    blasphemous especially from an oertly nationalistic iewpoint. Pamuk then, turns this

    blasphemy on its head and deliberately creates binaries of the sacred and blasphemous to

    drie home the idea that a master narratie can only ignore the subaltern narratie for so

    long. Qltimately it has to be unearthed.

    0econdly, as the 0ubaltern 0tudies Pro+ect basically aims towards a reisionist

    historiography, we consider how The 2lack 2ook achiees this aim. The 0ufi parable

    already demonstrates the fact that subaltern narraties can be immensely powerful in

    creating tensions in a master narratie. "n addition to this, subaltern narraties can also be

    used to pinpoint the biases of master narraties, which more often than not are

    %urocentric in their approach.

    s =hakrabarty points out in his article ?(istory as =ritique and =ritiques of

    (istory@ 7//9, the 0ubaltern 0tudies approach can be used to change history at its ery

    center. =hakrabarty argued that most histories of colonial "ndia were unapologetically

    eurocentric in their approach and een when recounting narraties of the unpriileged, the

    tone was unmistakably imperialistic. The only way to correct the tone of these narraties

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    Wasif 29

    would be according to =hakrabarty, to reanaly'e them from a different iewpoint, i.e., the

    iewpoint of the subaltern.

    This incidentally is what is being done in the unierse of The 2lack 2ook.

    Pamuk, the deils adocate re+oices in blaspheming about eerything from )epublic to

    0ufi parables. &hen )umi and 0hams are mentioned, it is actually the dominant discourse

    of the )epublic that is being challenged through means of a 0ufi parable. 0imilarly, when

    (urufis the fourteenth century mystical brotherhood and their"ir;a'lallah starabadi

    are mentionedin the noel, there is a sense of loss of mystery in the narratie. This loss

    e!tends to the loss of the old Turkish alphabet as well, and contributes to a general sense

    of loss in the narratie.

    The (urufis and the old Turkish alphabet are therefore many of those subaltern

    oices that hae been brutally relegated to a peripheral status. "ndeed the description of

    the letters

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    Wasif 30

    hae been strangled to a degree that they can only silently cry at their plight. =ell who

    has made all those drawings that

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    Wasif 31

    postmodernist trope used by Pamuk, that is reminiscent of %co, there are endless clues

    strewn throughout the noel that ultimately amount to nothing. These clues do not

    contribute anything to the plot at all but perform a ery different function H that of

    dethroning the main plot and shifting the focus to the small sub-plots within the te!t.

    ;or e!ample, +ust when 9

    This ties up with what ;. *. SIncI had to say in the first section of his book.

    ccording to him, of the two ?warring twins@ 7B4>9 %ast and &est

    J all these great historical eents illustrated a truth to which ;a'lallah had

    made frequent eiled illusions in his writingJ"n ?any gien historical

    period@, the winning side was the one that succeeded in seeing the world

    as a mysterious place awash with secrets and double meanings. &hereas

    the side that saw the world as a simple place, deoid of mystery and

    ambiguity was doomed to defeat and in ineitable consequence, slaery.


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    Wasif 32

    SIncI goes on to describe the relationship between letters and faces and suggests

    controersially that in good times, peoples faces are full of meaning, and predictably

    only the (urufis could gauge that meaning. (oweer since the persecution of (urufis

    began and since they anished without a trace, the world lost its mystique and the human

    faces their letters.The only way out according to SIncI was to locate the meaning of

    faces using Fatin letters now, as the old Turkish alphabet was e!tinct.

    SIncIs logic regarding all this is that all te!ts carry any number of infinite

    possibilities within - a bit like ?an unending ma'e of city streets, with each street leading

    to anotherJ@ 7B/59. (e also deelops his argument further by claiming that the more a

    mystery becomes apparent, the more it intensifies. nd when, a person finally wearies of

    these series of neer ending mysteries, he would be met with diine reelation in the form

    of the *ehdi or the *essiahs message, or so SIncI claims.

    This argument of SIncI is another step in the direction of the unearthing of the

    subaltern narraties. 0ubaltern narraties howeer are not simple plot deices that merely

    play peek-a-boo with readers. 0uch narraties lead to other narraties and it is suggested

    if the meaning of a te!t is to be gleaned in its entirety, a more holistic approach is needed,

    that of looking for narraties beneath narraties.

    The 2lack 2ook in a sense is e!actly about this hunt for those layers of narratie

    beneath the master narratie, that lend a richness to the main narratie without eer being

    isible themseles.

    &hile discussing the subalterns in The 2lack 2ook, there is another theme that

    is e!tremely important especially if we wish to trace the relationship between the

    subalterns in The 2lack 2ook to those of Pamuks other noels. The theme of hI'In is

    one that is often repeated in Pamuks works and is a recurring metaphor for the feeling of

    loss that permeates his te!ts.

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    Wasif 33

    (I'In, the rabic and Turkish word for melancholy is used to describe not +ust a

    feeling of unrelieed sadness and gloom but also its reason, namely spiritual loss. "n

    "stanbulC *emories of a =ity, Pamuk in the chapter deoted to hI'In states that

    Jwhen it appears in the 6oranJit means much the same as the

    contemporary Turkish word. The Prophet *ohammed referred to the year

    in which he lost both his wife (atice and his uncle %buTalip, as ?Senettul

    huzn#-or the year of the melancholyK this confirms that the word is meant

    to coney a feeling of deep spiritual loss.@ 7qtd in

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    Wasif 34

    (u'un, the melancholy that is felt throughout the te!t is there because of a loss of

    spirituality and by e!tension, there is a sense of loss in the material world too. Towards

    the end of the noel, while much of the mystery remains unsoled, as is to be e!pected of

    a metaphysical detectie story,

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    Wasif 35

    The final passages of The 2lack 2ook while dont e!actly proide a closure to

    the mystery of )Iya, =ell and their murderers, bring together two identities so that they

    could be merged together. The identities of

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    Wasif 36

    Chapter (.Sno#.

    "n 0now, as in the other noels, 6a, the narrator becomes a catalyst, helping reeal

    many different identities that are symbolic of the multifaceted identity of modern day

    Turkey. The headscarf wearing girls, the secular"slamic diide and clashes in modern day

    Turkey are all captured by 6a, who has become a medium for the uneiling of the


    6a, a poet traels throughout the length and breadth of 6ars, a fictional town in 0now in

    search of different stories and during this course comes across different identities.

    The ery beginning of the noel snow inspires a sense of melancholy and to an

    e!tent foreboding. The silence of snow eokes not a soothing and calming silence but

    the sort that often precedes a storm. nd it is e!actly like this in this case. There is a

    storm of sorts already happening in the remote city of 6ars, where the noel takes place

    but another and much more lethal storm is also about to take place in the narratie. One

    that inoles suicide, torture, a coup and a furious battle of different ideals. ll of this

    takes place when it is snowing heaily in 6ars.

    ?The silence of snow, thought the man sitting +ust behind the bus drier. "f

    this were the beginning of a poem, he would hae called what he felt

    inside him the silence of [email protected]

    One ma+or reason 6a isits 6ars is his curiosity regarding the suicide girls.

    There hae been a lot of suicides among young girls and 6a is interested in finding out

    the reason. (oweer 6a is struck by the fact that most suicides hae been carried out by

    the girls in an e!tremely drab, almost boring manner without any rituals or suicide notes.

    This is suspicious in the sense that suicide is often a way for indiiduals to finally claim

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    Wasif 37

    some limelight in death, something they were denied while they were alie. 6as

    obseration is important in another perspectie. The suicide girls are, in a way on the

    wrong side of history , at least as far as Turkish historiography is concerned. Their

    suicides committed in a no-nonsense way is for a cause that is doomed to be suppressed.

    This cause, that of being allowed to wear head scares isnt a stunt told by the girls in a

    feror inspired by the "slamists as is commonly assumed but a fight for their own identity.

    2ut the suicide stories he heard that day would haunt him for the rest of his

    life. "t wasnt the poerty, or the helplessness, or the insensitiity that 6a

    found shocking in these stories. 1or was it the constant beatings to which

    the girls had been sub+ectedK or the conseratism of their fathers, who

    wouldnt een let them go outsideK or the constant sureillance of +ealous

    husbandsK or the lack of money. &hat shocked and frightened 6a was the

    manner in which these girls had killed themselesC abruptly, without ritual

    or warning, in the midst of their eeryday routines. 7/B9

    The e!tremely clich:d debate regarding headscares and identity is gien

    coerage here and it soon transpires as the narratie moes forward that clich:s ultimately

    are based in reality. 2y choosing to coer their heads, girls are not protecting their

    modesty so much as they are protecting a subaltern iewpoint that is often trampled by

    the official )epublican narratie. "ndeed these suicides, remarkable because of the lack of

    ritual tied to them, become all the more remarkable when 6a who has been pondering this

    issue, reali'es that these girls hae been e!tremely brae in pulling off something that had

    always scared him due to the loneliness of the act.

    This argument can be compared with the one

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    Wasif 38

    on the basis of anything other than her gender. (er recounting of the incident of

    2huaneswari 2haduri proes this point.

    "n his fantasies suicide was a solemn ceremony with sleeping pills and

    whisky, a final act you performed alone and of your own free will. %ery

    time he had eer imagined doing away with himself, it was the

    indispensable loneliness of it that scared him offK and so, he had to allow,

    he had neer really been seriously suicidal.7/39

    &heneer the discussion of the subaltern entails, the subaltern of religion often

    attracts the greatest amount of controersy , especially when discussed with respect to the

    chief practitioners of religion- the bearded sheikhs.

    ? $o you really want guidance from meE asked the sheikh. &e are +ust

    like those people you mentioned H bearded proincial reactionaries. %en

    if we shaed off our beards, there is no cure for being proincial."m

    proincial, too, and " want to become een more proincial. " want to be

    forgotten in the most unknown corner of the world under a blanket of

    snow, said 6a. (e kissed the sheikhs hand again. The ease with which he

    could do this pleased him, but he knew that one part of his mind stilloperated in a different way, in a &estern way, and he despised himself for


    6a, when he isits 0heikh 0aadettin is so impressed by the 0heikhs humility and

    his self-depreciating speeches that he is immediately moed to make a few of those

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    Wasif 39

    speeches himself. (oweer he soon discoers that the 0heikhs humility while not

    entirely an act, is definitely meant to put isitors such as 6a, who are sceptics by nature

    into a sense of awe and fascination regarding religion and

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    Wasif 40

    intellectual figure of 6a. ll of these subalterns emerge from their clich:d cocoons and

    demonstrate their own fluidity.

    This is also eident when Turgut2ey adises 6a to be on the watchout for "slamists as

    they are currently, going about making atheists lies hell. &hen 6a replies that he has

    decided to open his heart to

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    Wasif 41

    it soon becomes clear that none of them would like to witness any blood being shed due

    to a theatrical act, howeer noble its ideals might be.

    ;rom the mid-thirties through the early years of the 0econd &orld &ar,

    when it was known asMy .atherland or My Scar'# this short play was

    performed frequently in lyc:es and town halls all oer natolia, and it was

    ery popular with &esternising state officials eager to free women from

    the scarf and other forms of religious coercion. 2ut, after the fifties, whenthe ardent patriotism of the 6emalist period had gien way to something

    less intense, the piece was forgotten. 7/A49

    "n the second scene, when the women made her grand gesture of

    independence, launching herself into enlightenment as she remoed her

    scarf, the audience was at first terrified. &e might say that een the most&esternised secularists in the hall were frightened by the sight of their

    own dreams coming true. ;ear of the political "slamists was so great that

    they had long ago accepted that the city must remain as it always had been.

    " say dreams, but not een in their sleep could they hae imagined the

    state forcing women to remoe their headscares as it had done in the

    early years of the republic. They were prepared to lie with the practice,

    as long as the "slamists dont use their intimidation or force to make

    &esternised women wear scares, as wee seen in "ran.

    "t is ironic that Turgut2ey denounces the audience of the play for being cowards,

    when he himself, towards the end of the noel decides to issue a +oint statement with

    many other similar minded people to protest the coup.

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    Wasif 42

    2ut the truth of the matter is thisC all those ferent secular 6emalists in

    the front rows werent really 6emalists at all-they were cowardsN said

    Turgut2ey to 6a after it was all oer. 7/A/9

    That is why regardless of the impassioned defense of his play by the playwright,

    the audience do not relate to the sub+ect matter as people in a staunchly )epublican

    country might do. This is indicated in the cat calls that follow the performance of the play,

    suggesting that anyone who adocates the remoal of head scares so passionately might

    as well strip and run to %urope as the urge to snatch head scares is not so much an

    impulse to proide women their rights but a plea to %urope for acceptance. The islamists

    and the 6emalist secularists are +u!taposed throughout the noel tohint at the reluctance

    of either party to let the other speak.

    &hen the angry girl tore the scarf off her head, she was not +ust making a

    statement about people, nor about national dressK she was talking about our

    souls, because the scarf, the fe', the turban and the headdress were all

    symbols of the reactionary darkness in our souls, from which we should

    liberate ourseles and run to +oin the modern nations of the &est. lthough

    few could make out herwords, eeryone heard one taunt from the back

    ery clearlyC 0o why not take off eerything and run to %urope stark

    nakedE 7/AA9

    The speech that 0unayVaim deliers at the time of his mock on-stage reolution

    is teeming with clich:s and e!pleties for the other, the uncouth and the irrational.

    &hat is interesting is that in snow the subaltern is not hidden, but deliberately pointed

    out and paraded in front of the readers. &hat then, is the need to liberate the subaltern

    oices when they are already e!tremely prominent in the narratieE The answer lies in the

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    Wasif 43

    fact that "slamists or secularists do not constitute the subaltern in the narratie, neither

    do the suicide girls. "t is speech itself which has been muted and art which has been

    castrated in a metaphorical sense and becomes impotent during much the narratie.

    "ndeed in the unierse of 0now, it isnt the narraties of either "slamists orthe

    secularists that trouble the readers but how two key tropes of speech and art hae been

    treated. 2oth speech and art hae been reduced to their most shameful traesties, with

    speech, especially free speech being rewarded with bullets and art being suberted to

    sere truly horrific purposes such as enactment of a mock reolution that ends in the

    murder and torture of many people.

    Oh, honorable and beloed citi'ens of Turkey, said 0unayVaim. Moue

    embarked on the road to enlightenment and no one can turn you back from

    this great and noble +ourney. $o not fear. The reactionaries who want to

    turn back time, those ile beasts with their cobwebbed minds, will neer

    be allowed to crawl out of their hole. Those who seek to meddle with the

    republic, with freedom, with enlightenment will seek their hands crushed.


    &hen 0unayVaim is told of the murder of director of the %ducation "stitute, he

    becomes distraught with grief and in one of the most ironic speeches in the entire

    narratie, insists ?This lowly murder will be the last assault on the republic and the

    secular future of Tu[email protected] following actions of his band of followers, dressed as

    soldiers result from a religious school student who shouts ?$amn the godless secularistsN

    $amn the fascist infid[email protected]/A9. The actorssoldiers open fire on the audience and in a

    classic postmodernist instance of reality merging with fiction, it becomes unclear if the

    performance is staged or lie.

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    Wasif 44

    The e!perimentation with art forms, another one of the noels sub plots is

    e!plored in the eents that follow the coup that takes place after the shooting incident.

    0unayVaim decides to act out a suggestion of the three men who had taken part in

    0unayVaimsthreatrical act of brutality. The three men suggest to 0unay that they should

    turn the ending of *y ;atherland or *y 0carf into a reality and 0unay agrees, not so

    much because of the brilliance of the proposal but because he feels the urge to teach the

    audience about nuances of modern art.

    J and he had resisted their proposal for a whole day, fearing that the

    inolement of the shady, armed adenturers would ruin the artistic

    integrity of the piece. 2ut, in the end, he could not counter the argument

    that he might need a man e!perienced with guns to control the lowlifes in

    the audience who were unlikely to appreciate the nuances of modern art.

    "t was later said that he felt great remorse about his decision in the hours

    that followed, and great pangs of passion in the face of the bloodshed

    caused by this band in tramps clothing. 2ut, as is so often the case, this

    was only a rumour. 7/3>9

    rt and creatiity, while made a mockery of in much of the narratie, ultimately

    sere as the only reasons for hope. s in the 2lack 2ook, so in 0now as long as

    creatiity is forthcoming, all seems to be well. One day after the massacre at the theatre,

    6a is shown taking a walk around the city and he is not perturbed by the odd sound of a

    gun shot or the staging of a coup. (e is only happy that the night is a beautiful one and

    that the city of 6ars is filling him with poems. 6a like any writer feels most alie when

    his muse is urging him on and the fact that his long standing writers blck came to an end

    while in 6ars is what matters to him mostC

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    Wasif 45

    Once the men were inside, 6a went on his way. (e continued to hear the

    odd gunshot, but he now paid no more attention than he gae to howling

    dogs. (is mind filtered out eerything but the beauty of the night. ;or a

    time, he tarried before an empty old rmenian house. Then he stopped at

    an rmenian church to pay his respectsC the trees in its gardens were

    dripping with icicles and looked like ghosts. The pale yellow streetlamps

    cast such a deathly glow oer the city that he felt himself in some strange,

    sad dream, and, for some reason, it made 6a feel guilty. 0till, he was

    mightily thankful for this silent and forgotten country now filling him with

    poems. 7/39

    "n stark contrast to 6a, 0unayVaim who also has his own share of artistic urges,

    but neertheless has always been somewhat unfulfilled in terms of getting opportunities

    to practice his art, is shown as always being caught up in a quandary wheneer the chance

    to proe himself presents itself.

    &hen the military took oer in the /54, all left wing plays were banned,

    and it was not long afterwards that it was decided a ma+or new teleision

    drama about tatIrk would be commissioned to celebrate the hundredth

    anniersary of his birthJThe predominant iew was that great national

    films called for great international stars like Faurence Oliier, =urt #urgens

    and =harlton (eston. 2ut this time,/rriyet# the biggest Turkish

    newspaper, entered the fray to promote the iew that for once a Turk

    should be allowed to play the role. 7/>9

    The irony presented here is unmistakable of course. The fact that to play tatIrk,

    one must be %uropean is in direct clash with the ideals of the ultra-1ationalist military

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    Wasif 46

    coup. (oweer the iew that for great 1ational heroes, the local population simply would

    not do and it would hae to be international stars of great stature to portray the father of

    the Turks, smacks of the ery proincial mentality, most of the secularists and the

    bourgeoisie so actiely denounce. The fact that the countrys biggest newspaper has to

    +ump in to make people see sense, is suggestie of the colonial mindset of the people as

    is the newspapers point that for once, a Turk should be accorded this honor.

    0unay howeer is described as finding himself in trouble when he tries to earn

    himself a reputation first a staunch secularist fit to fill taturks boots, and later as a

    ferent admirer of the Prophet *ohammedC

    The small "slamist periodicals went on the rampageC

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    Wasif 47

    0unayVaimsactually has a lot of subersie potential, as what he is describing is one of

    subaltern 0tudies Pro+ects ma+or concerns, i.e., the ob+ectiity of history. (istoriography,

    traditionally has been often sub+ected to rigorous reisionism by the subaltern 0tudies

    theorists as it is often with the agency of historiography, especially one that has been

    written in a predominantly %urocentric mode of writing. The fact that it is 0unayVaim

    who is mentioning all this points to yet another irony in the narratie H namely of the

    master narratie helping the subaltern narratie come to forefront.

    "t was (egel who first noticed that history and theatre are made of the

    same materials, said 0unay. )emember that, +ust as in the theatre, history

    chooses those who play the leading roles. nd +ust as actors put their

    courage to the test on the stage, so, too, do the chosen few on the stage of

    history. 78489

    The argument is further e!tended when 0unayVaimtells 6a that his bleeding heart

    liberal attitudes wont help him curry faor with the terrorists as they absolutely hate the

    ery semblance of anything remotely &esternised. The argument is deeloped in a style

    typical of both )ight and Feft wing radicals who announce the imminent arrial of an

    apocalyptic time if people dont follow them.

    &hen we go the way of "ran, do you really think anyone is going to

    remember how a porridge-hearted liberal like you shed a few tears for the

    boys from the religious high schoolE &hen that day comes, theyll kill you

    +ust for being a little &esternisedK for being frightened and forgetting the

    rabic words of a simple prayerK een for wearing a tie, or that coat of

    yours. 784L9

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    Wasif 48

    6as reply to all this is a confession that he might be starting to beliee in

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    Wasif 49

    Ottoman god, he considers it as his duty to uphold the will of the people, who are in this

    instance against the coup.

    The question is, speaking as the communist, moderni'ing, secular,

    democratic patriot " now am, what should " put first- the %nlightenment or

    the will of the peopleE "f " beliee first and foremost in the %uropean

    %nlightenment, then " am obliged to see the "slamists as my enemies and

    should support this military coup. "f, howeer, my first commitment is to

    the will of the people- if, in other words, "e become an unadulterated

    democrat H then " hae no choice but to go and sign that statement. &hich

    of the things "e said is trueE 78>L9

    "n the final denouement of the fren'ied days 6a spends in 6ars, 0unayVaim is

    unwittingly killed by 6adife on stage in another e!ample of the boundaries of art and

    life being blurred. The death of 0unayVaim and that of 2lue, another ma+or character in

    the noel, described by many as an "slamist, suggests the death of two ma+or ideals. "t

    also signalsan end to 6as brief stay in 6ars as he is forced to leae 6ars and "pek, the

    woman who so beguiled and enchanted him while in 6ars, refuses to leae with him for

    ;rankfurt as she is coninced he betrayed 2lue to the police.

    The narratie is fast forwarded to four years later, when 6as friend, Orhan isits

    6ars after the murder of 6a in ;rankfurt. (ere, once again Pamuk resorts to his faorite

    postmodernist trope of introducing the author-figure in the noel. Orhan, listens to stories

    of 6ars, stories about 6a and finally towards the end of his narratie discusses the process

    of meta fiction. ;a'ils assertion that he does not want to be a part of any narratie that

    presents him as an ob+ect to be pitied is taken seriously by Orhan. "t is another instance

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    Wasif 50

    of the postmodernist narratie structure allowing for the subaltern oices to make their

    presence felt without any fear of being +udged.

    2ut " can tell from your face that you want to tell the people who read the

    noels how poor we are, and how different we are from them. " dont want

    you to put me into a noel like that.

    &hy notE

    2ecause you dont een know me, thats whyN %en if you got to know

    me and described me as " am, your &estern readers would be so caught up

    in pitying me for being poor that they wouldnt hae a chance to see my

    life. ;or e!ample, if you said " was writing an "slamist science-fiction

    noel, theyd +ust laugh. " dont want to be described as someone people

    smile at out of pity and compassion. 7>/9

    0now, set against a ery gloomy backdrop is Pamuks only oertly political noel

    written in the wake of a controersial interiew that led him to getting labeled as a traitor

    by the ultra-nationalists for insulting Turkishness. Met it is precisely that quality of

    Turkishness that Pamuk e!plores here, all the while demonstrating that Turkishness

    cant be and has neer been a monolithic entity. "t is a multi-layered entity that is made

    richer by the inclusion of arious narraties.

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    Wasif 51

    Chapter ).Conclusion.

    &hat Pamuk demonstrates throughout his fiction is that identities will remain

    subaltern as long as they are imprisoned within a homogenous narratie. The moment,

    presence of different narraties in acknowledged in the te!t, the imprisoned identities or

    subalterns come into their own. *y 1ame is )ed, The 2lack 2ook and 0now

    illustrate this fact on different leels.

    Pamuks popularity at home and abroad might stem from his own assertion that he

    was a noelist writing in the new and contemporary style +ust as the older generation of

    Turkish writers was fading away. "t can howeer in some part also be attributed to the rich

    comple!ity of Pamuks writing and his willingness to e!plore new aenues in terms of

    thematic concerns, that hae rarely been e!plored before. (is use of postmodernism

    allows him to let multiple narraties do the talking at once. "t also paes a way for him to

    e!plore centuries old themes of spiritual loe, loss of cultural heritage, as well as

    contemporary ones such as din s delet and the significance of oerlapping narraties.

    Pamuk redefines and rehistorici'es dominant Turkish literary tropes 79 and in the

    process lets the subaltern oices embedded in the narratie come out and make their

    presence felt.

    The application of theories of the 0ubaltern studies pro+ect to Pamuks works

    might seem like a strange idea at first. fterall, Pamuk hails from a country that has neer

    e!perienced colonialism and that as a result has neer really missed any part of its

    cultural legacy. lso it has no residue to speak of from its association with any dominant

    culture. (oweer Turkey is one of those countries that hae been sub+ected to a massie

    upheaal from within. The abolition of the Ottoman %mpire and the moement to

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    Wasif 52

    induce in people a mass amnesia regarding all things Ottoman, has resulted in a

    confusion regarding many things that +ust refuse all attempts to sweep them under the


    To begin with, the Turkish alphabet was )omani'ed, but it retains its oriental

    sounds. The Ottoman %mpire was abolished, but the sense of being reered by the

    millions of 0unni *uslims worldwide remained a distinct memory in the Turkish

    imagination for many years to come. "n addition to this Turkeys bittersweet relationship

    with the %uropean Qnion is a frequent reminder of the schi'ophrenic sense of national


    &hat Pamuk does in his noels is to e!plore e!actly this part of the Turkish

    identity and in his arious noels, he has e!plored different narraties contributing to the

    grand metanarratie of Turkish identity and culture.

    The theories of the 0ubaltern studies group can therefore act as a gauge to

    determine e!actly how Pamuk liberates the subaltern in the metanarratie of Turkish


    The term subaltern is a fluid one that can mean many things at the same time. This

    study considers the subaltern oices as those oices that hae been deliberately pushed

    into the background as they are seen as a threat to official Turkish historiography and the

    grand metanarratie of Turkish )epublic.

    &hile Pamuk cannot strictly be pigeonholed into one category, his writing has a ery

    predominant postmodernist strain and his liberal use of postmodernist tropes in his noels

    help him in reimagining the Turkish metanarratie and also help him indulge in igorous

    reisionism of Turkish historiography.

    s )ana+it

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    Wasif 53

    in his workd attempts to subert this tradition as much as possible. ;or him, as for the

    ma+or proponents of the subaltern 0tudies Pro+ect, the relationship between te!ts and

    power is a ery important one. Te!ts are mostly used by the powerful as a way of

    imposing their identities on to others. One ma+or reason the 0ubaltern 0tudies group gies

    such importance to this relationship is because historically nations that hae been

    sub+ugated by dominant cultures hae had their histories cast in an elitist mode, i.e., the

    mode used by their masters. Pamuk reali'es this only too well and this is one

    relationship he e!plores at length in *y 1ame is )ed.

    *y 1ame is )ed, as a te!t anticipates the downfall of the Ottoman %mpire as the

    influence of enetian masters on the Ottoman mode of painting becomes more

    pronounced. The miniaturists in the noel, especially the young ones are so coninced of

    their own inferiority to the techniques of the enetians that they become indifferent to the

    modes of painting used by the old masters of (erat. The enetian ideal of letting the

    indiiduality of a face come out in the painting is taken up the miniaturists but without

    much success. They hae learned to sign their pictures with their indiidual stamps but

    not paint their faces with the same success as the enetians. The result is a hodgepodge of

    style and form that refuses them any control oer what they paint.

    The fact that the sultan himself has commissioned a book to be illustrated in the

    manner of the enetians is suggestie. &hen the %mperor himself allows the art of his

    people to become subaltern to that of another culture, the downfall of an empire can be

    said to hae begun.

    nother concern of the subaltern studies

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    Wasif 54

    One solution to this dilemma of course would be to proinciali'e %urope as $ipesh

    =hakrabarty suggests, howeer in case of some cultures, and Pamuks portrayal of the

    Turkish culture is one of them, %urope looms larger than life. "t resists any attempts to

    proinciali'e it to diminish its hegemony by aiming for an alternatie ersion of history.

    Pamuk depicts this with striking images in 0now. Throughout the narratie

    structure of the noel, the one ideal towards which the secular )epublicans aim, is being

    &esterni'ed. The idea of &esterni'ation is not limited to merely clothes or language but

    e!tends to the belief system itself. %uropean )enaissance is the supreme ideal towards

    which an enlightened mind must aspire to. "ndeed this idea is so predominant throughout

    the noel that, as is often the case with such grand ideas, the )enaissance is also referred

    to as the %uropean enlightenment something that should be the ultimate aim of all Turks.

    The fact that the father of the nation must be portrayed by a %uropean actor speaks

    olumes about the strength of that nations belief in itself. "n 0now, Pamuk is not

    concerned so much with suicides and the political factions of "slamists and 6urdish and

    rmenian minorities but the fact that Turkish identity has been reduced to a subaltern

    status and the efforts of the "slamists, howeer radical or irrational might be on one leel

    about the ned for an alternatie metanarratie, one that can represent Turkishness in all

    its glory.

    %dward 0aid once praised the efforts of the 0ubaltern 0tudies Pro+ect and

    particularly lauded their efforts to subert %urocentricism by writing in discourses once

    resered e!clusiely for %uropean scholars. Pamuks efforts can be said to be directed in

    this regard. &hile Pamuk himself is unapologetic about his elitist westerni'ed "stanbulla

    background, his noels on many leels subert the ery westerni'ation Pamuk has more

    than once taken flak for.

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    Wasif 55

    This is not to say that Pamuk writes in the tradition of preachers or rabid

    reolutionaries, but that Pamuk feels a distinct need to adopt a different approach to

    storytelling than is usually employed by writers of his country. Pamuk employs all the

    deices of the postmodern noel, but suberts the narratie structure by letting the

    subaltern oices that are a part of any narratie dictate the course of the master narratie.

    *eta-fiction is another important literary trope that Pamuk makes use of. The

    creation of te!ts, narraties, discourses and books are a familiar part of Pamuks writing

    and all of them are an e!tension of the theme of meta-fiction. Pamuk has declared in his

    book, Other =olours that life is full of things that conspire to keep a person from

    pursuing literature. 7Pamuk, Other =olours. !i9 this sentiment is echoed repeatedly in all

    three of his noels discussed in this study.

    Fiterature then is another subaltern that emerges from Pamuks narratie as it is

    literature that has more subersie potential than any other subaltern the readers might

    come across in Pamuk. "t is so feared that it is often pushed off center stage into the

    background, for fear that it might help any subalterns come to light. lso Pamuks

    treatment of narratie structure suggests that he does not treat it as something of primary

    importance. (e is only interested in fragments as he calls the different narraties, in that

    reole around a center. nd Pamuk in his usual playful tone hopes towards the end of

    his preface in Other =olours that the readers would en+oy imagining the center of his

    books into being. 7!i9

    measure of an authors success in his translatability or his ability to reach out

    to other cultures, once translated from his original language. The translatability

    determines the releance of a te!t once it has been translation and its reception depends a

    great deal on the releance of narratie structure and sub+ect matter once they hae

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    Wasif 56

    migrated from the host te!t to secondary te!t. s the title of this study suggests, Pamuk

    reaches out from the center towards the periphery and then helps pull the subaltern

    narraties towards the master narratie. The phenomenal success of Pamuk with foreign

    readers is a testament not only to his great skill as a writer but also to the fat that he has

    been able to proide the subaltern oices in his te!t, a safe passage so that they can

    moe from the periphery towards the center of the narratie.

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    Wasif 57


    lmond, "an. D"slam, *elancholy, and 0ad, =oncrete *inaretsC The ;utility of 1arraties

    in Orhan PamukWs The 2lack 2ook.DNew +iterary /istory7844B9C LA-4. &eb.

    ndrews, &alter

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    Wasif 58

    Yiekoglu, ;eride. D$ifference, isual 1arration, and DPoint of iewD in *y 1ame "s

    )ed.D1ournal o' 3esthetic 2ducation7844B9C /8>-/BL. &eb.

    $harwadker, inay. DTranslating the *illenniumC "ndian Fiterature in the 3. &eb.

    %rturk, 1ergis. DThose Outside the 0ceneC 0now in the &orld )epublic of Fetters.DNew

    +iterary /istory784/49C 3BB-A8. &eb.

    ;arred, 3-A4. &eb.

    9C 8>8->>. &eb.

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    Wasif 59

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    Wasif 60

    1oet'ke, =hristian Fee. DThe 0ubaltern 1umenC *aking (istory in the 1ame of LA-/>4. &eb.

    0assoon, nne 0howstack. 6ramsci and Comtem"orary Politics Beyond Pessimism o' the

    0ntellect. 1ew MorkC )outledge, 8444. &eb.

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    Wasif 61

    Varakal, yse. DTurkey, "slam, 1ationalism, and *odernityC (istory, /L5-844L by

    =arter aughn ;indley.DReview o' Middle 2ast Studies&inter 84//C 88>-88A.