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What is the significance of the use of eyes and black and wh

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Lada Volovelsky

on 24 August 2014

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Transcript of What is the significance of the use of eyes and black and wh

Whose
eyes are
these?

Why is the passage repeated?
most repeated passages in the novel assist in communicating the transformation of Firdaus to reach the level of wisdom needed to move forward in her journey to enlightenment
the symbol of eyes is repeated constantly throughout the novel that have an adverse effect on her
as long as Firdaus feels the eyes watching her, she will not be able to progress from fear
when Firdaus is betrayed by Ibrahim, the world is revealed to her as full of pain and she realises that there is no comfort in the eyes, but there is also nothing to fear in the eyes.
What is the effect of the use of eyes and black and white in
Woman At Point Zero
by Nawaal El Saadawi?

"The circles of deep black surrounded by two rings of intense white would gradually appear before my eyes. When i stared into them for some time, they would start to expand, rapidly becoming 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." (page 16, 29-30, 31, 32, 87)
So
What?

Firdaus' mother
Miss Iqbal
The audience at the high school awards ceremony
Ibrahim
"Nothing to hold onto except [her mothers] two eyes. Two eyes to which I clung to with all my might. Two eyes that alone seemed to hold me up. To this very moment I do not know whether they were wide or narrow, nor can I recall if they were surrounded by lashes or not. All I can remember are two rings of intense white around two circles of intense black..." (page 16)
"[about Firdaus' mother] She looked exactly like my mother...but when I used to look into her eyes I could feel she was not my mother. They were not the eyes that held me up each time I was at the point of falling. They were not two rings of pure white surrounded by two circles of intense black..." (page 17)
encompasses and represents the correct role and behavior of a woman in her society
has the "husband first, children and self second" mentality
always had caring and feeding for her husband as a priority
connection between her and Firdaus was not very strong
maternal figure
teacher is one of few respectable jobs for women in Egyptian society
emotional connection with Firdaus
"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 magical force..." (page 29-30)
"a big hall crowded with hundreds of mothers, fathers, and other relatives of the girls" (page 32)
no one came to see Firdaus
"I saw all heads turn towards me, and all eyes staring in my direction, countless eyes transformed under my gaze into innumerable rings of white surrounding innumerable circles of black, which turned in a concerted circular movement to fix their look steadily in my eyes." (page 32)
relationship between Ibrahim and Miss Iqbal is mirrored almost identically
disillusion Firdaus and takes advantage of her
deceives Firdaus into thinking he is different to other men, but he is the same
"The circles of deep black surrounded by two rings of intense white would gradually appear before my eyes. When i stared into them for some time, they would start to expand, rapidly becoming 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." (page 87)
Firdaus feels controlled by the eyes
the eyes care for Firdaus
develops deep emotional and affectionate connection with the people with the eyes
audience situation-- deep emotional and affectionate connection with the school, people at the school and the memories
the eyes are a representation of belonging to society
Firdaus is haunted and followed by the eyes
they are desired/expected society
people described with the eyes do not try to make waves, they simply obey and believe in the role they have been given
"Two circles of deep black surrounded by two rings of intense white"
White
purity
innocence
light
goodness
virginity
safety
cleanliness
perfection
faith
simplicity
charity
}
positive connotations
"pure white"
"silky and white" (page 59)
Black
power
elegance
formality
death
evil
mystery
fear
strength
authority
prestige
grief
depth
filth
}
negative connotations
"deep black"
"intense black"
"pitch black" (page 65)
"dirty black" (page 67)
"jet black" (page 52)
"fine black" (page 20)
"Two circles of deep black surrounded by two rings of intense white"
when black is bad and white is good, this quote means that good and bad always exist, but they always exist together at equilibrium with the good surrounding and controlling the bad
"The black reached the size of the earth, and the white grew ...as big as the...sun" (page 87)
the size of the white-- the sun-- is enormous compared to the size of the earth but if you exist on the earth the earth is all you know, the sun looks distant, and all you know is the bad and so everything seems like the bad
black and white are extreme opposites-- is there a grey zone to good and bad?
the extremities of black and white suggest Firdaus is the grey zone as she does not have the eyes and does not conform to societies expectations
shows deceptive nature of eyes
easy to fall victim to the false good of others
depicts desired society
a society that complies to the freedoms and restrictions without causing trouble
presents contrast between good and bad with Firdaus in the middle
language used to depict white and black is very powerful and rich creating a clearer image of the societies values and morals
is a hurdle for Firdaus to overcome
once Firdaus stops fearing about the eyes, she finally manages to make up her own mind and decide what she intends to do

Why is it used?
What is the effect?
Is it effective?
the language of the quote is vivid and gives the reader a strong image of what they eyes look like
the audience learns that Firdaus is haunted by the eyes
this suggests there is something to fear in the eyes, although they act like a safety net
the audience is given conflicting images of the eyes-- both that it is a form of safety and a threat
repeating the quote gives the effect of
the eyes being embedded into Firdaus' head
increased urgency
more prominent anxiety levels
by constantly having the feeling that she is being watched, Firdaus' actions become much more urgent and she becomes more anxious
if the eyes were described with less enticing language the eyes would be forgotten as soon as the reader turns the page
the reader would not understand the trauma caused by constantly being followed by eyes or the fear experienced
the urgency and anxiety levels would not be emphasised so greatly, affecting the tone and rhythm of the novel and the readers interpretation
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