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The Significance Of Firdaus’s Life And Downfall In Woman At Point Zero

1333 words - 6 pages

The Significance of Firdaus’s Life and Downfall in Woman at Point Zero

Throughout the novel Woman at Point Zero, written by Nawal El Saadawi, the theme of value and ranking is commonly talked about. The reputation that the main character, Firdaus, builds for herself is a reputation that holds a lot of power. That reputation was broken after Firdaus’ meeting with a prince, after she confessed that she had killed a man earlier that night. The author uses imagery and word choice to show the significance of events that take place throughout the novel and relate them to how Firdaus’s career as a prostitute impacted her reputation positively up until the moment she confessed to killing someone. ...view middle of the document...

To continue, when Firdaus becomes a prostitute, she has to start from the absolute bottom, she had to accept the requests and demands that men would ask, she had to be proper and work her way up with connections that she would make or find. Over the years, Firdaus had made quite the reputation for herself; she could refuse men she did not want to sleep with, she was able to have her own place to live, a place to shop and even another job. Firdaus felt that “[she] had been locked up to with more respect, and had been valued more highly than all the female employees” (81). She was feeling proud of herself and felt that she was valuable in her community. In many different cultures, prostitutes are thought to have not much value, but in Firdaus’ case, she thinks that she has a lot of value and skill to share with her community. Because the theme of the book is value and reputation, at this point, Firdaus has realized the importance of her reputation and knows how to use it in a way that she will be beneficial in continuously getting what she wants. By getting what she wants, she is above the social groups that were put into the stereotypes of being a prostitute in an Arab culture, and especially in a time where women were meant to be under men, even in religion. More specifically, the cultural groups created in Egypt around this time include following a strict Muslim religion, and respecting exactly what the Koran tells people to do.
Also, before the encounter with the prince, Firdaus had committed her most horrible crime a human could commit. She killed a man. With all the value and high regards she had obtained, and all of the time and hard work it took to get herself there, she threw it all away when she met the prince. Although she still resembled someone infinitely valuable. When the prince offered her “ two thousand ” (106) just to sleep with him. She eventually accepted his offer and did what he told her to do, but instead of holding onto the money that was awarded to her for her services, she ripped it all up before his eyes. By doing this, Firdaus was priceless. She could do anything. But instead of doing something she could not handle, she confessed her crime to the prince. She told him that she had killed a man. Her reputation and value would have plummeted as soon as word got out. But Firdaus is a character that can not hold onto something can affect her positively. For example when Firdaus has money and a home and a shower, but then does not seem to want that lifestyle very much. The authors choice and decision of using Firdaus’s big moment in her career shows that even in this time period of the 1960’s, women could be...

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