Analysis Of My Name Is Red

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The book My Name is Red, published by Turkish writer Orham Pamuk in 1998 and translated into English in 2001, presents a story set in Istanbul during the reign of Sultan Murat III in the 16th century. Covering a timeframe of about nine days, two main events set the story forward: the murder of the renowned illuminator Elegant and the return to Istanbul of Black after being in exile for 12 years. Instead of telling the story from one single point of view, the plot is narrated by multiple people who are identified in the title of each chapter. Pamuk also examines the cultural tension between the East and the West by centering it on two different theories of art. On one side is the Western style of portraiture and on the other the Eastern miniature tradition. As the characters in My Name is Red show a deep sense of struggle between keeping a lifestyle dictated by the Koran and immersing themselves in the Western art of portraiture, Pamuk explores the themes of identity and representation of both worlds, showing the impossibility of a pure self. The story opens in the winter of 1571 with the undiscovered corpse of illuminator Elegant Effendi, who had been working on a secret book instructed by Master Osman, the Sultan’s Head Illuminator, for the Sultan. It continues with the appearance of Black and his reunion with his uncle, Enishte Effendi, who commissions him to also work on this book and find the murderer. The secrecy of the book relies on the inclusion of representational
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