1. Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
Alladin is a Middle Eastern folk tale that is popular in the Arabic Culture. The story Aladdin and the Magic Lamp is one of the tales in the story collection The Book of One Thousand and One Nights also called Arabian Nights. The story of Aladdin is one of the stories of magic and religion. It is common among the Arabic culture because it emphasizes the concept of simplicity and virtues of goodness. Aladdin is a rich young lad from a small Chinese town. The cunning magician pretends that he is the uncle to the young Aladdin and with the intention of helping the young kid grow as a successful merchant. Instead, the sorcerer’s real motives are to take advantage of Aladdin’s situation leaving him and his mother poor and destitute. The story has numerous conflicts pitying the magician and the young lad. Remarkably, Aladdin manages to outsmart the magician. He rises through the social ladder eventually marrying the Sultan’s daughter.
The story Aladdin and the Lamp is a pinnacle of the Islamic culture. The story narrates the ordeal of a young innocent under the arms of a selfish and greedy magician. However, that is not the point of the story; the story intends to expose the role of honesty and the conquest of calm over evil. It is for this matter that the story has become rooted in the Islamic culture for a long time. It is a story that has been told for generations in the Islamic tradition for young children. However, the significance of the story is getting lost as video games and Hollywood movies replace the crucial role of Islamic traditions in children’s lives. Still, the story is the epitome of Islamic creativity and the allure of children’s lives. It is timeless and will continue to be an indispensable part of children’s life in the Arab world.
While no one knows the author of this story, it still stands as a stellar achievement in the world of literature. Aladdin and the Lamp has a distinctive style that seems to defy even the poorest of all translations. Perhaps one of the most stalk characteristics is the framing-tales technique device employed in the story. Unlike western stories, Aladdin and the Lamp is a communal, rural, and a low class story. It delves into the Arabic culture, not because of its origin, but because of its quintessential description of fantasy in the Arab world. The story is an anal of a rise of a low class urban poor to the apex of the society. In many ways, it compares to the most famous rugs to riches Cinderella story.
I like Aladdin and the Lamp story because of its development and structure. The story develops micro-minute tensions built by heightening conflicts that come as the plot develops. The story starts with the death of Aladdin’s father that creates the first tension. The entrance of the magician is yet another tension as well as the conflict with the sultan, the loss of the jinnee, and finally the conflict with the magician’s brother. The miniature conflicts help in developing interest that is typical of oral traditions. This is what distinct the story from the rest of the stories in the medieval Europe. Similarly, the moral of the story is rather subtle compared to western stories that have open and transcending moral themes.
2. Aladdin and the Magic Lamp Retold
Kevin was the son of a poor clothe maker. His father tried to have him as an apprentice, but he could not take the offer seriously. He was lazy and preferred pleasures of the streets than serious work. Still, his father loved him so much that he accepted to work to death so that his son would get wherever he wanted. Kevin would get things free from his dad so there was no need to work. Kevin also refused to attend school. After his father’s death, Kevin did not change his ways, instead, he still played in the streets with the naughty boys and had his mother provide for him. Kevin became notorious for breaking into people’s houses.
When Kevin turned fifteen, a magician from a Mexico arrived in town. The magician was looking for one of the foolish boys. He wanted to con them of all the precious things they had. When Kevin saw the foreigner in the streets, he quickly ran to him and asked if he would help him in any way. The magician asked him who he was, and he said that he was the son of the famous tailor of the town who had died two years ago. Seeing how he foolish he was, the magician pretended that he was a long lost uncle and was sad to learn that his brother had died. Kevin believed him. The magician then asked Kevin why he was not a tailor, and Kevin said that he hated being a tailor and preferred hanging out with his friends in town. The magician then offered him a job of being the magician’s shopkeeper and Kevin willingly accepted.
The next morning, Kevin and the magician travelled a long distance to Wisconsin. These were days when people had no cars. They went through mountains and valley, cities and villages, deserts and swamps until Kevin got tired. When they arrived at secluded place, Kevin asked the magician about the shop that he planned to open. The magician asked Kevin to gather firewood so that he can make fire. The magician then performed some tricks and the ground was opened up forming a hole that had a stone and spackling brass chain on it. The magician asked Kevin to pick the brass chain. When Kevin tried picking the brass chain, he saw darkness in the abyss. The magician ordered him to go through the stairway or else he would kill him.
Kevin grudgingly went through the stairway. Upon the reaching the stairway, the magician ordered him to grow through the golden wall and an orchard and pick a lamp that had oil on it. However, before going, the uncle gave him a ring that would protect him. On his way to the lamp, Kevin passed an orchard that had all kinds of fruits. He had never seen the fruits and wasted no time collecting them. He then picked the lamp, emptied the old and started his way back trough the golden wall. When he reached, the stairway so he would climb out, he asked the magician to help him with the fruits since had a massive load on him, however, the magician only cared about the lamp and refused to help him offload. The magician knew that he could not forcefully take the magic lamp from Kevin so he had to beg him. Kevin refused to give the magician the lamp without the magician helping him with fruits. The magician muttered some words and Kevin was locked in the cave.
Kevin was terrified. He called and called, but no one would answer. Out of frustration, he began crying and touched the ring that the magician had given him. Suddenly a jinnee appeared. The jinnee was monstrous and ugly. It said that it was a slave to anyone who possessed the ring. Kevin then asked the jinnee to take him to his mother’s place in St. Louis. Immediately, Kevin found himself with the mother in East St. Louis. When his mother saw the old lamp that he carried, he tried to clean it and older and bigger jinnee appeared. Aladdin had learned the drill so he asked for anything he wanted, and the jinnee provided. He became rich and famous. He opened candy shops, malls, and amusement parks.
One day, Kevin saw the Governor’s daughter. No one else had seen her face, but Kevin hid behind the wall and saw her face. He fell in love with her and wanted her for marriage. When he reported this to her mother, she declined to go to the Governor to seek her hand for marriage. However, Kevin was obstinate and told his mother that the Jinnee would help them convince the Governor. When the old went to the palace to lay her claim, everyone laughed her off. She had nothing to do except to perform tricks. The Governor eventually asked her to come. She offered the Governor a gift of precious jewels covered with on old rag. The jewels were so beautiful, and the Governor had never seen something like them. However, this was not enough to convince the Governor.
The Governor asked Kevin, and his mother to come after three months. Kevin then did multiple tricks including sending gifts to the servants of the Governor. One time, Kevin rubbed the lamp and everyone got forty golden bowls each full of golden jewels and forty slaves. When the Governor asked Kevin to build a palace for the daughter, be built a marvelous palace that rivaled the one that the Governor had.
Kevin always took care of the lamp that had made him rich and famous. Nevertheless, one day, the old magician came back and tricked the princess so that they would exchange lamps, new for old. Because the princess did know the trick of the magic, she willing gave the magician the lamp and ran away with her. When Kevin came back, he was incensed and asked the small jinnee for help. They took a long trip to the magician place in Mexico and fought hard until thy splayed those dead. She took the lamp and his wife and came back to his place. Still, the magician brother had more tricks to play; he came back disguising himself as an old, poor lady. He wanted to trick Kevin’s wife so he would steal the lamp and revenge for his brother’s death. Aladdin quickly found out and killed the old woman.
The retell was succinct and with limited content. It was brief to meet the needs of a foreign audience who do not understand the culture of Arabs and the importance of stories to the culture. For an American audience, this is a children’s story. However, for Arabic audience, this is a story about life and mystery in it. My intention was to create a simpler version of the original script using little details as possible to make to succinct while preserving the original meaning and value of the story. I have also used ordinary words and reduced the Arabic nature of the story to make resonate with the new audience.
I have also changed the geography of the story taking it away from Middle East and bringing it closer home to North America. I think the change in geography changes the perception of the audience about the story by making less authentic and more local. Instead of Aladdin, I have used the name Kevin that is a more Anglo-Saxon regular name. I have also used Governor instead of Sultan. The changes are not meant to harm the story but rather to create homeliness with the American audience. The purpose for the change is to make this a pure American fantasy story. I want to make the story play with the fantasy of the children and teach those lessons about comprehension and understanding the little details of American culture. At the end of the story, I want to be asked be questions such as “do we have jennies in America? When did this story happen?”
My answer to such questions would be that there are Arabic Americans. They did have a chance to hear the story in Arabic, and this is their chance. The story is tailored to meet the fantasy of twenty first century while retaining the classical aspect to it. I am sure that by using these means, I am able to continue the legacy story telling that has been at the pinnacle of the Arabic culture. However, the story retains its meaning and timelessness. I think this is a story about human life, and it would be applicable across cultures.
Anonymous. Aladdin and his Magic Lamp. N.p.: United Holdings Group, 2012. Print.