Theme Of Hypocrisy In Woman At Point Zero

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Criticism of hypocrisy in Woman at Point Zero Word count: The oppression of women in the Middle East and North Africa was commonplace, with women often beaten and deprived of fundamental rights. Entrapped by social constraints, there was little hope for opposition, as the patriarchal perspectives of society were enforced by everyone, even women themselves. One of the most prevalent ways was through the use of hypocrisy and double standards to cast an illusion of justice and equality, when in reality, women were disadvantaged in nearly every aspect. The hypocrisy of society is demonstrated in Nawal El Saadawi’s novel Woman at Point Zero, where women such as Firdaus are dominated by double standards. She finds both initial hope and consequent…show more content…
Sharifa, an empathetic woman, is first met in an area where “the air which entered [Firdaus’] lungs was pure and free of dust” (54), representing her apparent purity. The green of her shawl, eyes, and makeup symbolize the movement of Firdaus into a new stage, and the peace, hope, and growth accompanying it. The setting of a spotless apartment on the tree-lined bank of the Nile River further sets the atmosphere of safety and comfort, a substantial change from her confinement in Bayoumi’s flat. Vivid imagery and concrete diction also establish the empathy of Sharifa: Firdaus describes how Sharifa’s “fingers too were soft” (56), her clothes as being “soft . . . with a lovely smell of perfume” (56), and how “everything around [Firdaus] had this smooth, soft quality about it” (56). Firdaus embraces Sharifa’s attitude, feeling “born again with a new body, smooth and tender as a rose petal” (57). The association of Sharifa with softness and Firdaus’ transfer into a smooth body shows Firdaus’ rapid alignment with Sharifa’s purported character. However, Firdaus eventually realizes that Sharifa is exploiting her when she expresses her desire to feel pleasure, but is shut down by Sharifa, who invokes that Firdaus is being greedy, when it is the definite opposite. Firdaus observes that Sharifa would “count the pound notes, and stack them quickly in some secret recess the…show more content…
He asserts himself to be a revolutionary looking to change the status quo, “speak[ing] about justice and the abolition of privileges enjoyed by management as compared to the workers” (86). His subversive spirit engulfs Firdaus, who believes that Ibrahim is “fighting for [the workers] and for all of those who are deprived of a decent life” (90). Metaphorically, his fight for the workers can be likened to the fight for gender equality against the dogma of powerful officials. However, much like Bayoumi and Sharifa, his actions do not uphold his beliefs when he becomes engaged to the chairman’s daughter instead of remaining loyal to the workers, significantly contradicting his outward beliefs. Firdaus is deeply affected, having “never experienced suffering such as this” (93). Her perception of men is shattered as she loses faith in society and succumbs to a life of dissent and isolation. Saadawi depicts the detrimental use of hypocrisy to oppress
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