One of the key differences that can be highlighted between the narrator’s grandfather’s house and Sa’eed’s house in London is the structure. The narrator explains that his grandfather’s home had a heavy wooden door. On the other hand, the apartment in London had an iron door. There are three things that one has to consider based on this premise. The first is the difference in timing/age. The narrator argues that even at that time when he was in his grandfather’s house, the community had stopped using wood to make their doors. Therefore, his grandfather’s house was unique due to the fact that it had been built many years before that particular time.
On the same note, the narrator states that his grandfather’s house was made of mud and did not particularly have any predetermined structure, and also had differently sized rooms. On the other hand, the apartment in London was well designed and made out of bricks. The structural differences between the two houses can be attributed to the fact that one was in a relatively conservative area while the other was in a highly active city. Secondly, time affected structural design and preferences ensuring more differences between the two houses. Thus, through this difference, one can argue that the theme of time is critical in the story.
A second difference between the two homes is the décor that is used inside. Salih explains that entry into the house was through the courtyard. The fact that the house had a patio already communicates the size and status that was accorded to the infrastructure. The courtyard had wooden furniture and the narrator describes the fact that his grandfather’s house was a reflection of its surroundings. Such that if the fields were green with plenty of harvests, then the green would be reflected into the décor of the house. This is not the same case for the London apartment. The bedroom is described as dark and the narrator has to light an oil lamp. This indicates that either the room was too dark (no natural light) or the narrator had arrived when after dusk.
The identified difference can be tied to one of the themes of the literary work. This is the theme of migration and identity. One can argue that the narrator’s home (his grandfather’s house) was bright with so much light due to culture and also location. In Sudan, the houses were spacious and not too close together. On the other hand, in London, people lived in apartments that were cramped together blocking natural light. This is a critical theme in the book as the narrator is a Sudanese who migrated to London.
One can argue that one of the biggest themes of the novel is gender violence. This theme is clearly brought out in the two scenarios. Arguably, this theme offers some sought of similarity between the two scenes. In his grandfather’s house, the narrator meets a woman who is comfortable enough to speak about her sexual interactions. In fact, she clearly describes her lovers and picks one who she agrees was the best. She is telling this to a group of men who appear fascinated about her courage to identify her lovers. It is also important to note that the other characters do not feel ashamed or try to make the woman feel bad for having 8 ex-husbands.
The stated can be compared to the London apartment, which gives the narrator sad memories of things that had since transpired. Of women with who he had been in a relationship with throughout the years. He also remembers the violence in his relationships as he enters his bedroom. Whereas similar in relation to the theme, the two homes present women differently. In his grandfather’s house, women are protected and have the right to speak their minds. However, in his London home, they are beaten and violently abused.