B. Her interaction with people from other parts of the world gave her the impetus to clamor for change.
lll. A. Her writing reflected what was happening in the Arab world.
1. She got opposition from the government and the religious groups
2. Her writings were not welcome in the male-dominated society
B. The topics w she wrote about were sensitive and encouraged revolt
1. She was sacked from her government job
2. She was imprisoned.
Nawal El Saadawi Biography and writings
Nawal El Saadawi was born on the 27th of October 1931. She was born in the remote village of Kafr Tahla whereby she was circumcised when she was six years old. The father was very interested in education and therefore insisted that all his children must receive an education. His father used to work with the ministry of education, and he aggressively campaigned against the occupation of Egypt by the British. This forced the British to exile him in the Nile Delta. Initially, the government had decided not to promote him for ten years as a punishment (Eustace 34). He was a progressive man and always taught his daughters how to exercise self-respect in her mind.
She received her higher education at the University of Cairo where she received her M.D in 1955 and then joined the University of Columbia in New York where she graduated within 1966 with an M.P.H. She later went to the University Ayn Shams where she researched psychiatric between 1972 and 1974. She later worked at the University of Cairo as a physician and later in the ministry of health. Later in 1968, she founded a health magazine which was later shut down by the Egyptian government after several years of operation. In 1972, she was expelled from her job in the ministry of education because of the book she wrote called Al-marah was al-jins which translates to women and sex(Eustace 37). Both the religious and government authorities highly condemned the book. In 1981, she was arrested and imprisoned for two months and during that time she wrote the book called Mudhakkirat fi signal-nisa. She did this on a roll of toilet paper which was smuggled into the prison using a cosmetic pencil.
In 1982 she formed the Arab Women Solidarity Association and later became the editor of the publication which was owned by the organization. She faced several challenges more especially the legal ones because of her outspoken nature. The challenges did not only emanate from the political establishments but also the religious bodies (Muhammad 63). The religious organizations went to the extent of accusing her of apostasy. This is the background as well as the experiences she went through both in the hands of the government and religious leaders shaped her writing. Since the two groups oppressed her since she was a woman she decided to write about it. (Eustace 40).Furthermore, she also observed how women were oppressed in society and decided to fight for that through her writings.
Her short stories, novels, and non-fiction writings mainly deal with the plight of women in the Arab world. Some of those writings include The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World, The Thread and the Wall and the Memoirs of a Woman Doctor. She vividly narrates In her book the way the patriarchal society has been oppressing women in the society. When she published the book called women and sex in 1972 whereby various issues affecting women were contextualized such as the aggression against women she received a lot of opposition(Muhammad 64).However, she did not relent.
The book became the launching pad for the feminism second wave. Apart from campaigning for the rights of women she also fights for the equal rights of women in the Arab world. She vividly expresses her female thoughts about the plight of women in society more especially the Arab world. Since these issues were not permitted in the Arab world that is why she was occasionally imprisoned. She has most concentrated her work to talk about the theme of women rights and how they suffer in society. She decided to use her literary works to address the issues that are facing women in society (Muhammad 65). The following novels bring out the theme of feminism out clearly:
The woman at point zero
The memories of a woman Doctor
It is through the motivation of Nawal that any more writers have been influenced to write about issues that affect t women in society not only in the Arab world or the whole world. In reading Nawal's books, one is likely to understand the complex nature of Muslim society and the status of women in the Muslim world. She mainly uses the oral literary traditions, imagery and the women narratives (Suwaed 233). She also focuses on other topics such as gender roles, honor killing, and prostitution.
Nawal is a female revolutionist writer who is blessed with an invincible expression of power as well as a very rare ability to propagate and transmit her messages through the use of different literary techniques. She uses pipelines such as travel books, plays, critical articles, scientific and theoretical essays, short stories and novels. She brings into the attention of the public a completely new phenomenon in the Muslim society whereby the struggle of women for liberation is clearly articulated in the written form (Suwaed 235). She pursues a feminist gender objective with a big concept of social freedom as it is expressed in most of her writings. She argues that it is not possible to have liberation if the society has an oppressive social system and it is hierarchical (Suwaed 239). She fights for the exploitation of women as well as any form of gender discrimination at the family level, home, workplace, the political arena, and the society level.
She is of the view that a woman should have the rights and the autonomy physically, emotionally and economically. She believes that in the current social conventions and the traditional and cultural practices prohibit many women the ability to develop the feelings of family comfort because they are not given the respect they deserve. She is a very active advocate of the social welfare of women who is doing her best to change the male-dominated society and make it free, liberal, non-oppressive, just and equal to both men and women (Suwaed 245).She strongly believes that the oppression women are facing is the reason as to why many societies are still backward. She therefore candidly promotes the idea that women should not conform to the oppression but rather rebel against the traditional practices which are making them conform and appear as if they are lesser human beings. She, therefore, encourages women to fight for their rights because freedom cannot come on a silver platter. They should, therefore, rise in arms and fight so that they can be in their rightful places in the society as well as self-realization (Muhammad 70). She posits that it is only through campaigns that women can gain their rightful positions in the different layers of society.
She argues that one of the main problems of the contemporary Arab society is that it does not have spiritual, scholastic and political leadership that can question the traditional values which are intimidating to women. She explains that most men in the Arab society believe men think that their authority was God-given yet the reality is that those are just mere reflections of the male-dominated society and the feudal system (Suwaed 246). According to her the humility which women display more especially in the Arab world is not inherited, but it was acquired behavior pattern that was imposed on them by the society led by men since the time they were young(Miriam 70). She further explains that in most rural areas in the Arab society the women are treated as property, and they are subjected to the desires and whims of men.
The author has used different literary techniques depending amongst her different books. However, some literary styles stand out prominently. For instance in a woman at point zero she uses symbolism to express her ideas with maximum impact. This is where she uses symbols to express certain ideas (Miriam 70). She also uses imagery whereby she vividly describes certain features, persons, events, and objects to the extent that the reader can form images in mind about what is being described. She also extensively employs dialogue where two characters are represented as having a conversation with each other. This stylistic device makes the piece of writing to be lively and captivating. Another final stylistic technique which she uses is the setting whereby the time, place and the conditions where the actions are taking place are set( Miriam 70). All the above features make the piece of writing to appealing to the reader. They equally help in driving the point home with maximum impact.
Nawals work has had profound effects in the transformation of the society more especially the Arab society. Her campaigns and agitations for the freedoms of women have led to women gaining a substantial form of freedom (Abdullah et al.,23). It also makes other women join the campaign to stop the oppression of women through the male-dominated society.
Anker, Elizabeth S. Women's Rights and the Lure of Self-Determination in Nawal El Saadawi's Woman at Point Zero. Fictions of Dignity. Cornell UP, 2012. Fictions of Dignity, Chapter 005. Web. The book delves deeply into the kind of suffering women go through simply because of their gender. The author uses Egypt as an example where due to religious reasons women are degraded in the society to the extent that their roles have been reduced to bearing children are taking care of their families at home.
El Saadawi, Nawal, and Jo Beall. Nawal El Saadawi. Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity 5 (1989): 33-39. Web. The book explains in a clear manner on how society has reduced women to a level that they are not even allowed to think for themselves. The author, therefore, gives suggestions on how they can be empowered. She uses Egypt and the Arab world as the places where women have been affected most. The book illuminates to the public how women have been denied even their basic rights such as education.
Nkealah, Naomi. The Multiple Faces of Patriarchy: Nawal El-Saadawi's Two Women in One asa Critique of Muslim Culture. ARIEL 44.2 3 (2013): 221-238. Web. The author vividly explains how the male-dominated society has made women be just objects of reproductions and domestic servants. The author disputes the notion propagated by men that it God who designed women to play second fiddle. She argues that the belittling of women was not designed by God to be rather it has been brought about patriarchy.
Sadawi, Nawal., Horst, Adele S. Newson, Bagnole, Rihab Kassatly, and Hatatah, Sharif. The Dramatic Literature of Nawal El Saadawi.London; San Francisco: Saqi, 2009. Print.The author analyses the of NawalfNawal El Saadawi literature. She explains clearly the styles she uses in her pieces of literature and the topics she mostly writes about. One of the themes which is cited on all his writings is the plight of women in the Muslim world.
Tarabishi, Georges., and Sadawi, NawaAgainstn agaSex:Her Sex : A Critique of Nawal El-Saadawi. London: Saqi, 1988. Print. The book criticizes the writings of Nawal El -Saadawi.Tarabishi argues that all the heroines in her books do not se...
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