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Literary Analysis of Woman at Point Zero

English IO
by

Gray Galloway

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of Literary Analysis of Woman at Point Zero

Symbols Theme Repetition Motif Literary Analysis Photo credits: 'horizon' by pierreyves @ flickr So... http://kvinnelige.blogspot.com/2010/10/woman-at-point-zero.html Themes: Oppression of Women How is it developed?
Firdaus' relationships
Meaning of Firdaus' name
Quotes to support the theme
Author's Intent?
"All women are victims of deception. Men impose deception on women and punish them for being decieved, force them down to the lowest level and punish them for falling so low, bind them in marriage and then chastise them with menial service for life, or insults, or blows." -pg. 94 "When one of his female children died, my father would eat his supper, my mother would wash his legs, and then he would go to sleep, just as he did every night. When the child that died was a boy, he would beat my mother, then have his supper and lie down to sleep." -pg. 17 "A virtous woman was not supposed to complain about her husband. Her duty was perfect obedience."- pg. 47 Symbols Green
Money Books "I opened my eyes to find a woman seated next to me. She was wearing a green shawl, and her eyes where shadowed with green make-up. The black pupils in the centre 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. The sky over our heads was as blue as the bluest sky, but the colours mingled and everything around radiated this liquid green light which surrounded me, enveloped me completely, so that I felt myself gradually surrounded. It was strange, this sensation of drowning in dark green, in a dark green with a density of its own..." -pg. 55 “Can the Nile, and the sky, and the trees change? I had changed, so why not the Nile and the colour of the trees? When I opened the window every morning I could see the Nile flow by, contemplate the green of the water, and the trees, the vivid green light in which everything seemed to bathe, feel the power of life, of my body, of the hot blood in my body.” -pg. 59 Supporting Evidence Refuting Evidence False Sense of Freedom “All women are prostitutes of one kind or another. Because I was intelligent I preferred to be a free prostitute, rather than an enslaved wife.”(99) Does Firdaus have more freedom as a prostitute than other women? "...I discovered the school had a library. A neglected room in the back yard, with its shelves falling to pieces, and books covered in a thick layer of dust, I used to wipe off the dust with a yellow cloth, sit on a broken chair under the light of a feeble lamp, and read." -pg.26 "I developed a love of books, for with every book I learned something new. I got to know about the Persians, the Turks and Arabs. I read about crimes committed by kings and rulers, about wars, peoples, revolutions, and lives of revolutionaries." -pg.26 " 'You are beautiful and have culture.' " -pg.58 "One day, when I donated some moeny to a chartiable association, the newspaper published pictures of me and sang my praises as the model of a citizen with a sense of civic responsibility. And so from then on, whenever I needed a dose of honour or fame, I had only to draw some money from the bank." -pg. 99-100 "On one occasion they put me in prison because I turned down one of these important men. So I hired a very big lawyer, for a very big sum of money. Shortly after, I was released from gaol without charges. The court decided I was an honourable woman. Now I had learnt that honour required large sums of money to protect it, but that large sums of money could not be obtained without losing one's honour." -pg. 99 “A prostitute always says yes, and then names her price. If she says no she ceases to be a prostitute. I was not a prostitute in the full sense of the world. So from time to time I said no.”(97)
"Yet not for a single moment did I have any doubts about my own integrety and honour as a woman. I knew that my profession had been invented by men, and that men were in contol of both our worlds , the one on earth, and the one in heaven."(99)
"A woman’s life is always miserable. A prostitute, however, is a little better off. I was able to convince myself that I had chosen this life of my own free will.”(97) “Now I realized that the least deluded of all women was the prostitute. That marriage was the system built on the most cruel suffering for women.”(94)

Firdaus
Nawal El Saadawi
Firdaus' father
Firdaus' mother
Firdaus' uncle
Ms. Iqbal
Wafeya
Sheikh Mahmoud
Bayoumi
Sharifa Salah el Dine
Ibrahim
Marzouk
Author's Intent? Repetition Author's Intent
Examples
Pages 28-36 : Pages 84-92
Page 2 : Page 108
Page 10 : Page 105 Motifs Eyes
Opened Eyes
Closed Eyes
Detail of Eyes
Author's Intent?

Pleasure
Examples
Author's Intent

Voice
Examples
Author's Intent "My eyes wandered to the little garden in the
back yard. I walked towards it and sat down. I
kept looking around me all the time. Whhenever
I heard a sound coming from a distance, or
sensed some movement or other, I strained my
ears and my eyes." - Pg. 91 "One evening I dared to stretch out my hand to his plate, but
he struck me a sharp blow over the back of my fingers. I was so hungry that I could not cry. I sat in front of him watching as he ate, my eyes following his hand from the moment his fingers plunged into the bowl until it rose into the air, and carried the food into his mouth." - Pg. 18 "There was nobody to upset things for us except the superintendent who walked around the boarding house on tiptoe, spying on us day and night, listening to what we had to say. Even when we slept she kept a vigilant eye on our every movement, followed us as we dreamed. If one of us so much as sighed, or emitted a sound, or made the slightest movement in her dream, she would pounce on her like a bird of prey." - Pg. 24 "... Wary, doubting, stealthy eyes, eyes preparing to pounce."

Pg. 12, 27, 42 "I cried. He wiped my tears away and took me in his arms. I closed my eyes and he kissed me gently on the lids." Pg. 62 "I would close my eyes and try to bring back the scene. The two
circles of deep black surrounded by two rings of intense white would gradually appear before my eyes. When I stared into them for sometime, they would start to expand, rapidly beoming bigger and bigger, so that at a certain moment the black reached the size of the earth, and the white grew into a piercingly white mass, as big as the disc of the sun. My eyes would lose themselves in the black and the white until they could no longer perceive either of them. The images before my eyes grew confused. I could no longer distinguish between the faces of my mother and my father, of Wafeya and Fatheya, of Iqbal and Ibrahim." - Pg. 87 "The eyes of the people riding in the buses no longer looked dull and jaundiced, but glowed and shone with a new light. When I looked into the mirror my eyes sparkled like diamonds." - Pg. 89 "My face was turned towards her, and my eyes looked into her eyes: two rings of pure white, surrounding two circles of intense black that looked out at me. As I continued to gaze into them, the white seemed to turn even whiter, and the black even blacker, as though light flowed through them from some unknown magical source which was neither on the earth, nor in the heavens, for the earth was enveloped in the cloak of night, and the heavens had no sun nor moon to give them light." - Pg. 29 "And yet i could feel it somewhere in my body, a gentle pulsation beginning like a tender pleasure, and ending like a tender pain." - Pg. 26 "I felt as if something was pulsating out from a wound buried deep in my guts. When I stetched the muscles of my back, stood upright and breathed deeply it hurt. I could feel it rise up to my belly like a shiver, like blood beating strongly through the veins. The hot blood in my chest rose to my neck, swept through to my throat, to become a flow of warm rich saliva, bringing with a it savour of pleasure, so strong, so poignant that it was
almost bitter." - Pg. 70 "Her voice too was like the voices one hears in a dream. It was close to me, yet seemed to come from afar, spoke from a distance and seemed to arise from nearby."
- Pg. 8 "Her voice was soft not with gentleness but with the softness of born cruelty" - Pg. 22 "They were men who sowed corruption on the earth, and plundered their peoples, men endowed with loud voices, a capacity for persuasion, for choosing sweet words and shooting poisoned arrows." - Pg. 27 "His voice sounded like an angry hiss." - Pg. 64 "The Principal called out in a commanding voice: 'Don't reply while seated. Stand up!' I realized that I was on my feet when the white rings and the black circles moved up wards in unison to fasten themselves once more on my eyes." - Pg. 33 "I felt my eyelids getting heavier as if I were about to fall asleep, but her voice echoed in my ears again. It was a smooth voice, its depths so soft that it sounded almost drowsy."
- Pg. 55
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