Nawal El Saadawi's novel Woman at Point Zero examines a character named Firdaus, a peasant girl who tries to negotiate a role of independence for herself in mid-to-late 20th century Cairo. Briefly forced into a bad marriage, and unable to get a university education along with any sustaining employment, Firdaus resorts to earning her wages as a prostitute, an occupation she ironically comes to admire for the power it gives her over men. Yet her job as a prostitute along with her ongoing attempts to remain independent in a male-dominated world have another unexpected effect. She is forced to renegotiate and challenge a male-defined public space. Along with being a compelling portrait of a woman trying to maintain her independence, Woman at Point Zero is also a text that delineates and maps how gender comes in conflict with public space and how gender negotiates and challenges it.
Kenneth DiMaggio, Capital Community College, United States
Stream: Humanities - Sexuality, Gender, Families
This paper is part of the ACAH2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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