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Woman at Point Zero
Transcript of Woman at Point Zero
"I neither liked the look of my nose, nor the shape of my mouth. I thought my father had died, yet here he was alive in the big, ugly, rounded nose. My mother too, was dead, but continued to live in the form of this thin-lipped mouth" (19)
"I curled up in my uncle's arms like a baby in its womb" (21) "When I opened my eyes and looked into the mirror I realized that now I was being born again with a new body" (57)
"Life is very hard. The only people who really live are those who are harder than life itself" (57)
"I became a young novice in Sharifa's hands. She opened my eyes to life, to events in my past, in my childhood, which had remained hidden to my mind" (58)
"You are beautiful and have culture" (58) "When I opened my eyes I was bathing in sunlight" (68)
"It was the first time I had held such a big note in my hand" (70)
"through the streets with my head held high and my eyes looking straight ahead" (73)
"tore away the shroud that covered up a truth I had in fact experienced when still a child" (68-69) "my body was light as a feather, as though its weight had been nothing more than accumulation of fear over the years" (105)
"my head held high to the heavens, with the pride of having destroyed all masks to reveal what is hidden behind" (105)
"I looked no different from respectable, upper-class women" (105)
"I am a killer, but I've committed no crime..I kill only criminals" (109) Childhood "By birth I was lower class"(10)
"I looked around almost in surprise, as though I had not been born here, but had suddenly dropped from the skies...to find myself in a place where I did not belong" (15) Heartbreak/Prostitute Theme: Power "to bend over the headman's hand and pretend to kiss it, how to beat his wife and make her bite the dust each night" (10) Since childhood, Firdaus is taught that male domination is natural and right. A good woman is obedient and takes beating after beating without complaint. Stephanie Chappelle
Audrey Stephenson In Love "by dint of these efforts, I at last found a job with one of the bid industrial concerns" (79)
"his words did not leave my ears..They had cut their way through to my mind in a moment of time which now belonged to the past. But no force on earth could turn back the hands of time one single moment" (77)
"a hammer in my head ringing out one phrase with every blow: 'not respectable', 'not respectable', hammering it out, blow after blow" (77-78)
"The veil was torn from my eyes. I was opening them for the first time, seeing my life in a new way" (78) Theme: Attaining Respect Attaining respect does not become one of Firdaus’ goals until Di’aa, a client, points out to her that in spite of her financial security, she is not respectable. When Di’aa tells Firdaus that she is not respectable because the work she does is shameful, she is deeply hurt. In an effort to become a more respectable woman, she gives up her nice apartment and prostitution in order to work in an office. Indeed, she becomes a “respectable” woman by again placing herself under the power of men. This demonstrates the futility of trying to be a "respectable" woman in the society. If one is a prostitute, she exercises free will and does not answer to a man while her work is degrading. If she is some honorable profession, men still treat her like she's worthless. Theme: Money For the majority of Firdaus' life, she views money as some foreign and mighty object. Only when she is given the ten pound note does she see money as attainable and herself as on the same level as all of the other wealthy people. This new perspective allows her to understand what makes money seem so mysterious and powerful to the poor. Combining her money with her ability to refuse clients, her control of money and sex give her great power. With it, she is no longer at the mercy of men. "Yet I am living without love" (25)
"I'm in love" (90)
"Love has made me a different person.It has made the world beautiful" (90)
"When the street becomes your life, you no longer expect anything, hope for anything. But I expected something from love" (93)
"With love I began to imagine that I had become a human being" (93) Theme: Choice As a prostitute, Firdaus has the money and the power to make choices for herself. She chooses her own place and clothes and begins to choose which men she does and does not sleep with. Because of this, she begins to believe in her own independence. The power to choose for herself is intoxicating. And soon, the fact that she has rejected powerful men makes her even more alluring to them. By exercising choice, Firdaus commands more and more money and gets an increasing number of wealthy clientele. Sharifa, being the only person who ever praises Firdaus, easily gains Firdaus' trust. She becomes Firdaus' mentor. As each of Firdaus' lives involve different perspectives, in this life Sharifa teaches Firdaus of the lessons that she has learned in the cold life of a prostitute--what to value and how to feel. "I had never experienced suffering such as this, never felt a deeper pain. When I was selling my body to men the pain had been much less" (93)
"Now there was no room or illusions. A successful prostitute was better than a misled saint" (94)
"Everything around seemed to fill me with tranquillity" (94)
"She no longer hopes for anything or desires anything, she no longer fears anything, for everything which can hurt her she has already undergone" (95)
"A woman's life is always miserable. A prostitute, however, is a little better off" (97) Heartbreak and More Prostitution Theme: Truth All throughout her life, Firdaus accumulates knowledge and understanding of the truths of her society, such as the power of money, a woman's nonexistent honor, the dominance of man over woman, and that to survive the cruel world she must lose all faith and trust in man and learn to depend only upon herself. Knowing all of this constructs a Firdaus who finds killing a man natural, necessary, and justified. Killing the pimp begins Firdaus' final life as there are no more life-changing truths in her society that she doesn't already know. Teacher Theme :Pleasure During her childhood, Firdaus has her first sexual experience with a local boy named Mohammadain. After undergoing a strange surgery Firdaus never again experiences sexual pleasure the way she once did. Sharifa tells Firdaus that "we work, Firduas, we just work. Don't mix feelings with work" (57). Sharifa tells Firduas to get pleasure from more materialistic things and not from emotions.
She also describes with contempt, the way men who come to her as clients will demand, during sex, to know whether or not she is taking pleasure in the act. For these men, the act is not about two people enjoying each other, but instead about proving their physical prowess. So Firdaus tells her clients that she feels pleasure (though she does not), which stops them from asking.