Study Guide

A Hologram for the King King Abdullah

By Dave Eggers

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King Abdullah

Lit crit pro tip: pay attention to the epigraph, guys. These little nuggets usually give you a huge amount of insight into the symbolic heft of the text at hand.

A Hologram For the King's epigraph comes from a mega-famous play called Waiting For Godot. Check out our What's Up With The Epigraph? section for the whole story, but, briefly: the play's drama revolves around a couple of guys waiting for someone named Godot…who never shows.

And like the elusive Godot in Samuel Beckett's play, King Abdullah represents an unknowable, god-like figure. He is the force of nature that cannot be predicted, and is accountable for nothing. He's Fate. Destiny. Prosperity.

Of course, in reality King Abdullah's an aging, beloved monarch. Even the sophisticated Zahra Hakem approves of him—at least more than previous rulers (XXXII.43.307). That's because Abdullah promises to offer more freedoms to women than they've ever had. It hasn't happened yet, but the hope is there.

And that's another thing that makes Abdullah feel like an all-powerful being: he holds the future of an entire country in his hands and purse. On a personal level, he owns Alan. The two have never met, and yet there's no doubt that Alan's immediate future depends on the good humor of the king.

That's unfortunate, too, because—just like Fate and Fortune—Abdullah is unpredictable. And Alan learns this the hard way.

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