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Symbolism Of Money In Woman At Point Zero By Nawal El Saadawi

1512 words - 7 pages

Munzher Rana

Mr. Wallbridge

IB HL English

2/1/14

Woman At Point Zero: Symbolism of Money

The novel “Woman at Point Zero” by Nawal El Saadawi tells the tale of a woman, named Firdaus being interviewed by a journalist before her execution. She is in prison on the charge of murdering a man, in an extremely sexist culture, which has a lot of disparity between men and women. One of the recurring symbols in the novel was that of money. Money was a very negative symbol in the novel, and it was highlighted by Firdaus that one could not possess both money and integrity. Another important appearance it made was in determining how Firdaus would live and it seemed to be the factor, which ...view middle of the document...

When speaking to the reporter, she states “Now I had learnt that honor required large sums of money to protect it, but that large sums of money could not be obtained without losing one's honor. An infernal circle whirling round and round, dragging me up and down with it.” This quote foreshadows her future meeting with Sharifa and her involvement in prostitution. Prostitution could be seen as a field in which people lose honour at the expense of gaining money, and this would be shown through Sharifa. When Firdaus was selected over her and began to gain popularity, she grew jealous and once again this resulted in immoral actions in the hopes of gaining more money for herself, and this would result in her loss of honour in the process. A recurring theme in relation to this, is the fact that the person who turns to be greedy, usually results in losing the thing they are striving to keep. This would happen with Firdaus as well, as she allowed herself to be taken over by a pimp, and this resulted in her killing him over it.
Another aspect of money, which was highlighted in the novel was the usage of green as a them in the book, and this was mainly shown with Sharifa. The materialistic aspects of money and the things that came along with it, showed the greed and the shallow nature of people in this period of time in Egypt. Sharifa took pride in materialistic things and looks, which once again showed the shallow nature of people in Egypt. Sharifa showed Firdaus how to wear makeup and accessorize, which showed how men at the time would focus on a woman’s accessories rather than her as a person. Green as a color was used to portray the shallow, materialistic nature of the people during this time, and this is because green is mostly used as a general colour of money and it is also used as a colour symbol for greed. Green was very prominent when describing Sharifa, and this could have been a reason for this. The quote reads “I opened my eyes to find a woman seated next to me. She was wearing a green shawl, and her eyes were shadowed with green make up. The black pupils in the center of her eyes seemed to have turned green, a powerful dark green, like the trees on the bank of the Nile. The waters of the river reflected the green of the trees and flowed by as green as her eyes.” This quote foreshadows Sharifa’s future role in Firdaus’ life, and foreshadows her affiliation with money and greed. The prominence of so much green is a symbol of this, and could indirectly represent her materialistic side. Following this, the description of the surroundings was also affiliated with the colour. “ The waters of the river reflected the green of the trees, and flowed by as green as her eyes. The sky over our heads was as blue as the bluest sky, but the colors mingled and everything around radiated this liquid green light, which surrounded me, enveloped me completely, so that I felt myself gradually drowning in it. It was strange, this sensation of drowning in dark...

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