Framed Essay

1312 words - 6 pages

Nawal El Saadawi frames Firdaus’s story to show readers that men are superior over women and how women were beleaguered in the Islamic patriarchal structure of Egyptian society in the 1970s. Framing the story gives a chance for Nawal El Saadawi to come across as an impartial character. This drives to pursue readers to have sympathy over woman and influence an act for change over human rights. The format of the two narrative voices indicates the different perspectives, which allows the main focus to be on Firdaus and her story. In the Author’s preface, Chapter 1 and Chapter 3, Nawal El Saadawi’s character is the narrator and uses these chapters to frame Firdaus’ story, therefore, framing the importance of Firdaus’s story in Chapter 2.
The effect of the Author’s Preface allows the reader to get an understanding of a part of Nawal El Saadawi’s life before she wrote Woman at Point Zero and why the interview was essential in order to complete the novel. The novel was important to Saadawi to write because parallel to herself, Firdaus lived in a world where women were beleaguered: “I developed a feeling and admiration for this woman who seemed to me so exceptional in the world of women to which I was accustomed.”(xi) Saadawi and Firdaus both perceived or faced how women were beleaguered in the Islamic patriarchal structure of Egyptian society. In the Islamic patriarchal structure of Egyptian society in the 1970s women were beleaguered and would not stand up for themselves or they would be beaten. When Saadawi calls Firdaus a “real woman”(1), she is empathetic over her attitude in the society Firdaus lives in because she stood up for herself by murdering her pimp. Firdaus’s courage and lack of fear to stand up for herself, encourages the desire to "challenge and to overcome those forces that deprive human beings of their right to live, to love, and to real freedom" (iv). In the Author’s Preface, Saadawi declares “Firdaus, however, remained a woman apart. She stood out amongst the others,”(xi) which provides readers enough information on how she perceives Firdaus as a “role model”. If she sees Firdaus as a “role model” figure, readers will have the same “role model” image of Firdaus as Saadawi. This hints the reader’s standpoint before reading, formulating the Author’s Preface a fragment to framing the importance of Firdaus’s story.
Saadawi narrates Chapter 1. She uses repetition of questions and statements such as “Her refusal to see me was not directed against me personally, but against the world and everybody in it.”(5), to foreshadow not only Firdaus’s story but also identification achieved over woman’s rights. In inquiry, these questions’ such as “What sort of woman was she?”(4) along with “Could that signify that she was better than the Head of State?”(4), creates the reader to reflect on Firdaus character. Furthermore, this foreshadows the respect and sympathy Saadawi gains for Firdaus after hearing her story, along with the...

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