The reason why women are scarcely mentioned throughout the history textbooks are because women are conformed in their status of the private sphere. Women are related to “nature” considering their roles in society such as child bearers and housewives. Culture is considered as a sustaining force that transcends nature to create and control a new interest. Because of this “nature” status put on women, they are considered inferior to men. However, this is not the case for everyone and not all society understands culture and nature like westerners do. Some consider what women and men do rather than the symbolic attributes that are placed on them.
Jean Makdisi, author of “Teta, Mother, and I,” writes about her grandmother in order to erase the notion that women were scarcely mentioned in history. It is the power of knowledge that made Jean Makdisi wonder about women’s culture.
Authors, Isabelle Allende, Ama Ata Aido, and Jean Makdishi all hold the theme of knowledge in their articles. Makdishi realized that in order to write about Teta, her mother, and herself, she needed the history of Teta’s home country. “Two Words” by Allende talks about Belisa Crepusculario who made a living by selling words. The knowledge of words led her to help El Mulato and Colonel to create the perfect speech to touch the minds of men and women. Once she made the speech, she left the Colonel with two words that made him unwell for thinking about it over and over. The cultural belief that women are inferior to men is refuted by the actions of Belisa. From her knowledge of words and writing, she stunned the Colonel. Belisa found out that “words make their way in the world without a master” (Allende 7). “Other Versions” by Aido talks about the main character, Kofi, wanting to know why his mother will not take his hard earned money. His mother rejects the money so that it will go to his father as a tradition. The fact that his mother would not take his money drove him wild. He met a woman on the train not dressing warm. This reminded him of his mother and Mrs. Hey so he took out the money and tried to give her it. However, just like the mother, she refused and tried giving him money. Women in this story represent “nature” because though they may need the money to ease their life, they rather give it to their children. This shows the close relationships between the mother and child. They yearn of knowledge fights against the types of nature and culture placed. The three stories all relate to knowledge and the importance of understanding their situations. Knowledge is power and it gives women power to overcome the culture and beliefs society has laid out. Knowledge deem importance to culture as it makes them more questionable about the societies and teachings.
“Woman is being identified with – or, if you will, seems to be a symbol of – something that every culture devalues, something that every culture defines as being of a lower order of existence than itself. Now it seems...