Firdaus Gender Motif

1459 Words 6 Pages
From the beginning, it is clear that Firdaus will die. Her fate is established early on in the novel, leaving the question on how she found herself on death row. Firdaus grows up in an unloving household, where her mother values her father over Firdaus because of his status as the man of the household. Later in life, Firdaus is married to the Sheikh- a man who abuses her and cuases her to abandon him and her family. Her life becomes a cluster of events where it becomes unclear on who is in control of Firdaus and what caused her to end up on death row. There is no clear answer to this, and instead a multitude of factors contribute to her fate. The abuse and deception motifs, unequal gender motif, and control of oneself motif emphasize that Firdaus’s …show more content…
As a child, her father is given all the luxuries while she receives nothing. When sleeping on the cold ground, her “mother used to abandon [her] alone and go to [her] father to keep him warm” (22). When resources were lacking, she would go hungry while her “father never went to bed without supper, no matter what happened” (23). The father, the man of the household, receives comfort and nourishment regardless of the circumstances. The mother is forced to reject her children, especially female children like Firdaus, in order to fulfill the father’s needs. Additionally, the religion of the community justifies the exploitation of women at the hands of men. When Firdaus lived with the Sheikh, “he hit [her] all over with his shoe” and returns to her uncle’s home for comfort (58). While there, Firdaus is told by the uncle’s wife “that it was precisely men well versed in their religion who beat their wives” (59). When Firdaus seeks comfort from her uncle after the Sheikh hits her, she is informed that all holy and good men beat their wives. The religion that her culture follows allows for women to abused with no consequences towards the abusers, emphasizing that men have the upper hand. After Firdaus murders Marzouk, she recognizes that she had no chance to succeed in life and that men are the true criminals as they create a system that oppresses women. When she is confronted by the police, Firdaus exposes this system as see proclaims “that [men] criminals, all [men]: the fathers, the uncles, the husbands, thee pimps, the lawyers, the doctors, the journalists, and all men of all professions”’ (137). After suffering under this stacked system, Firdaus realizes that women are not the true criminals but instead the men who benefit from their society are. By calling all men criminals, Firdaus addresses the system that upholds male power over freedom for all. The unequal

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