Analysis Of The Book ' The Hidden Face Of Eve ' Essay

2418 Words Dec 17th, 2016 10 Pages
More than Genies and Spirits: The presence of Feminist Characters in old Arab Stories
In her book titled The Hidden Face of Eve, Naawal El Saadawi an Egyptian writer writes that “Woman is at her best and most powerful when she takes on the form of a genie or spirit in A Thousand and One Nights. Men fall victims to her beauty and her spells and go through suffering and even torture to gain her favour.” (, P. 162) In this passage, El Saadawi expresses an opinion that is very popular within the literary world especially with orientalists. Many believe that in books such as A Thousand and One Night, women are portrayed as manipulative creatures who use their beauty to gain what they want. This is an example of what Edward Said describes in Orientalism as orientalists using the orient to mark their progress. However in oriental stories such as the Tales of Seraglio: Turkey and Persia we see women depicted as deceitful and creatures who use their beauty to manipulate men. Meanwhile, through looking at figures in A Thousand and One Night such as Shahrazad, Tawaddud, and Princess Budur, we find that there are many feminist characters present in A Thousand and One Night.. Could this presence of feminists in old Arab stories and the subjugation of women in oriental tales destroy the argument formed by orientalists to criticize the orient men for subjugating the oriental women? Unlike the belief that only Arab stories subjugate women, in the Tales of Seraglio: Turkey and Persia, we…

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