Codes And Values There are certain standards, codes, ethics and values by which people live their lives. It is these standards and codes that determine what is right and wrong. In other words, they create a boundary that draws a line between what is considered unethical or immoral. These standards or codes in certain people's lives are set by their respective religions. On the other hand, the groups, communities or tribes in one's life set these standards. In eastern societies these standards are set mainly by one's faith or religious beliefs.
In Palace Walk that is set in a typical eastern Islamic country, values and codes of life were carved out purely by religion. Acts were considered strange or unethical based on one's faith, which accepted or rejected them because they were forbidden. These codes and values play an important role in the lives of the characters of the novel. These characters could be placed at the top level of a hierarchy of ethics or at the bottom of it. Sayyid Ahmad was a man whose behavior can be characterized as being ethical and moral at home and family gatherings and different with friends. In other words he could be termed a hypocrite.
He sets a standard at home, which every member of the family had to abide by and would not dare to escape from. If one was caught doing something unethical or immoral, he or she faced serious consequences. Sayyid Ahmad punished Amina severely because she had gone to pay a visit to Al-Husayn's shrine, bye separating her from the rest of the family. Her problem was merely that she had escaped from his standards and laws by going out, even though she did not commit any crime by going to the shrine of the Prophet's grandson who was very dear to the family including Sayyid Ahmad. He believed that his family maintained good ethical values by obeying his commands. These standards and values had their roots in religion or Sayyid Ahmad's understand in of it, that the women of his house could not go out or see men who are strangers to them.
The men had to abide by codes too when they walked through the streets by keeping their eyes low. Sayyid Ahmad seemed to be a pious man and a paradigm for the rest of his family, by abiding to his own set values at home. This would leave a lasting impression on his family and the members would not dare to rebel against him. He was a man who feared God but would do things that were considered unethical at the same time. He participated in immoral acts that were forbidden is Islam, such as drinking alcohol and committing adultery.
He would leave his codes and values home when he would leave for his nightly entertainment. These values and ethics were shattered in a matter of seconds as if they never existed. Once in his world of nocturnal pleasures he would act free of these codes and values. He would not admit his wrong doings when the soldier caught him while he was coming out of his neighbor's house. It was due to Sayyid Ahmad's actions that the whole family ends up in chaos and failure.
One of the consequences of these codes and values was the change in Yasin's life. Yasin was a man who was lost between his mother and Sayyid Ahmad. He was looking for love and affection and would often try to create an atmosphere of humor and joy. He was like a thirsty animal looking for a pool of love and affection.
Sayyid Ahmad's codes and strict values did not provide him with what he wanted at this crucial moment of his life. In order to find love he wanders around the streets where he comes across a company of bad people and gets involved in illicit relations with a singer. Sayyid Ahmad's rules made Yasin think twice before doing anything, and make him fear the consequences. As the novel proceeds, we come to know that he no longer cares about the values and codes when he sees his father's true character at Zubayda's dwelling, singing and participating in unethical acts. He starts to think that he can be just like his father and can do as he wished. He fulfilled his desires of making love with anyone as long as she is a woman.
His standards fell to the extent that he even try to rape the family servant and a black slave. Sayyid Ahmad was the one who had indirectly given him a permit to act this way. If his father had been a good role model as he was at home, he would not have been responsible for Yasin's unethical behavior. Instead Sayyid Ahmad would have tried to correct Yasin of his wrongdoing. Fahmy, on the other hand, was a perfect example of morality and ethics. He displayed total obedience to his father's commands and orders.
Fahmy was a boy who acted within the morals and values and does not do something that would ruin his family's honor. He was aware of his limits and was very careful not to cross it. He was aware of the consequences that he would have to face if he dared to break the codes. Fahmy fell in love with this girl next door named Maryam, but he would not approach her because he was not allowed to do this. He was aware that it would bring a bad name to his reputation and the family's as well. The huge difference between Yasin and Fahmy was that Fahmy was much more obedient to the laws than his brother.
Fahmy's morals gave way to the fruit of independence and patriotism. He was a role model for everyone and possessed a true moral character. No matter where we live, there are certain codes and values we base our lives upon. We try our best to stay in our limits and follow the codes throughout or lives. These codes and standards act as a scale, which differentiates between right and wrong. In the novel Palace Walk, codes and values play an integral part in a character's life.
We see the influence these values and codes have on their lives and how it helps shape their future.