Essay Richard F. Burton 's Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night

1672 Words Nov 22nd, 2016 7 Pages
Turning the Tables: Exploring How Perceived Female Powerlessness can be a Survival Tool or Cause Submission in a Patriarchal Society
Hisham Matar’s novel In the Country of Men presents a young woman and mother, Najwa, who is surviving in a world ruled by men. Scheherazade, the protagonist of Richard F. Burton’s The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, faces a similar predicament of trying to be successful in an intricately oppressive society. Examining the lives, choices, and actions of these two women reveal many commonalities and stark differences in how they handle their surroundings. Najwa and Scheherazade both appropriate a man 's world through their only viable weapons, words and beauty, to achieve their goals. Despite this similarity, Najwa resembles Scheherezade only in a sick, polarized, broken down way.
The two characters share a common goal to stay safe under unsafe conditions and use distinctly feminine tactics to protect what they care about. They both have a maternal motivation, which is inherently feminine, in order to protect their families. Scheherazade also desires safety for women in a land where the King is killing them daily. Both women find that their strengths lie with words rather than force and execute their actions accordingly. Najwa’s husband puts his life in danger by actively disagreeing with Qaddafi’s rule, which poses a danger to Najwa’s goal of a complete family. Once captured, she brings her son and a cake to her higher up neighbors…

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