In the Country of Men


In the Country of Men, by Hisham Matar, is a story about Suleiman, a nine-year old boy, who has to face the reality of living life in Libya; a country ruled by a dictator. Suleiman’s life consists of many imbalances that cause him to face disorder and instability throughout his childhood years. The reasons for the imbalances in his life are that even though he is still a young boy, he is expected to be the man of the house during his father’s absence and is also expected to be his mother’s “saviour”.   Suleiman’s search for order and stability in his life leads him to face challenges, temptations, and fears that cause him to lose his innocence.

First Body Paragraph:

Topic Sentence: While searching for order and stability in his life, Suleiman has to face many challenges that force him to act more mature than his age, causing him to lose the innocence of being a young boy.


1) “Baba never found out about Mama’s illness; she only fell ill when he was away on business. It was as if, when the world was empty of him, she and I remained as stupid reminders, empty pages that had to be filled with the memory of how they had come to be married. ” (Matar, 2)
Suleiman is challenged to live with his mother, Najwa, who drinks in the absence of his father and burdens her son with the knowledge of her forced arranged marriage.
 When his mother is drunk she becomes unstable thus Suleiman has to take care of her, thus Suleiman portrays a role that is not suitable for a nine-year old boy.  
2) “I felt my cheeks burn with anger: where is Baba? He should be here because    
        when he’s home everything is normal, she is never ill and I am never woken
        up like this to find everything changed.” (Matar, 11)
       Suleiman lives without his father most of the time; this becomes a challenge for
            him because in his father’s absence Suleiman’s world turns upside down as his