Beyond Their Control : The Disempowerment of Women in Middle Eastern and African Literature

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tara Jernigan Sinclair (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Marame Gueye

Abstract: The disempowerment of women involves factors that influence every aspect of their lives birthing deep oppression victimization and sometimes violence. Fadia Faqir's Pillars of Salt explores two Muslim women whose victimization occurs in contrasting situations but with similar results. It is their newfound friendship that brings hope to their oppression. Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi lifts the veil on an often stereotyped religion by articulating the thoughts and exposing the lives of Muslim women living in a harem. With the encouragement of her mother Fatima determines to overcome all odds. Colonization's impact is evident in Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions. Tambu longs to take full advantage of an education offered to her by her assimilated uncle. Her cousin Nyasha in contrast remains confused and suffocated by her hybridity. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie portrays disempowerment to the extreme through young Kambili as she struggles to discover her own identity under the weight of colonial mimicry in Purple Hibiscus. Surprisingly being allowed to spend time with her aunt becomes Kambili's saving grace. The thesis concludes by exploring the notion that all women have a story to share and it is through each story that empowerment is made possible.

Additional Information

Date: 2013
Women's studies, Culture, Disempowerment, Oppression, Patriarchy, Religion, Tradition
Power (Social sciences) in literature
Females in literature
African literature--Women authors
Middle Eastern literature--Women authors
Faquir, Fadia. Pillars of salt--Criticism and interpretation
Mernissi, Fatima. Dreams of trespass--Criticism and interpretation
Dangarembga, Tsitsi. Nervous conditions--Criticism and interpretation
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, 1977- Purple hibiscus--Criticism and interpretation

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