Character Development In Woman At Point Zero By Saadawi

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Throughout Woman at Point Zero, Saadawi furthers the character development of the protagonist, Firdaus, by frequently repeating noteworthy phrases that grabs the reader’s attention. Though this seemingly overused literary technique may seem like lethargic writing, Saadawi’s purposeful reiteration of thematic concepts reveals a subtle attempt to depict Firdaus as a strong feminine character that is stuck in a vicious cycle of pain that is forced onto her by society. This underlying conflict helps illustrate the juxtaposition between Firdaus’ strong character and the oppression she faces, allowing Saadawi to delve into a deeper, more politically driven theme in her book. Saadawi’s frequent use of repetition expands on the central opposition between…show more content…
Through her use of repetition, Saadawi successfully depicts Firdaus as a woman who is stuck in this destructive cycle of being tricked into a temporary euphoria-like high before being shocked into depression by the cold reality of her oppression. On multiple occasions, Firdaus is seen coming to this erroneous revelation on how she can succeed in her society as a woman and experiencing temporary happiness before experiencing some type of trauma that renders her bitter and morose about the truth of her situation. The most notable example is Firdaus’ inability to find true love throughout her life. Towards the end of the book, Firdaus is seen failing at succeeding in a meaningless job in order to try and reach her deluded goal becoming a “respected” woman when she meets Ibrahim. Firdaus’ description of her interaction with Ibrahim creates a strong sense of déjà vu as Saadawi writes out…show more content…
For example, another instance of this destructive cycle is when Firdaus realizes that the women she regarded as strong and respectful female role models are nothing more than slaves to the oppression caused by men. When Firdaus moves in to live with her uncle, she is introduced to the wife, who is immediately depicted as a fearsome character, with a “voice [that] was soft not with gentleness, but with the softness born out of cruelty” (pg.29) and eyes that were “black with an extinguished vitality that left nothing but pools of dark, sleepy indifference.” (pg.29) The wife even manages to stand her ground against the uncle, whose “feeling for her was more one of fear than of love…” (pg.30) However, despite her initial depiction as a strong female character, the wife is seen being forcefully raped by the uncle later on, despite her pleas to stop “for the sake of the Prophet” because “this is sinful.” (pg.51) The same instance occurs with another supposed role model for Firdaus, Sharifa, who describes herself as “hard, terribly hard” with a “heart [that] is cruel, and my bite [that is] deadly.” (pg.72) Sharifa is later raped by Fawzy while also uttering the words “no, for the Prophet’s sake!” (pg.81) In both

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