Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

1294 Words6 Pages
Captivity in Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi, is a strongly emphasized theme. Fideaus the protagonist is constantly constrained and surveilled within the realms of the Egyptian society subsequently being emotionally, and twice literally, captive. The significance of captivity in Woman at Point Zero is not only for plot or dramatic effect. In the writing of Woman At Point Zero Nawal El Saadawi wishes to inform the reader about the captivity felt by some women in suppressive countries. In this way, she means the protagonist Firdaus to not only represent one woman but many. Captivity in Woman at Point Zero is not only that of the literal, lock and key. Throughout the novel Firdaus is subject to varying forms of captivity, emotionally from societal expectations, mentally and physically in both jail and as a literal prisoner of Bayoumi. Further captivity is introduced to the reader through use of an 'eyes' motif to show how, in Firduses societal paradigm she was and felt, constantly surveilled by the Egyptian patriarchal society.

Throughout Firdauses life she is subject also to degrees and different forms of captivity as a child under control of her parents she finds herself 'powerless', furthermore she is captive in an arranged marriage to her husband Sheikh Mahmoud in his, and societies social expectations for her behaviors a married woman. She later describes as herself and other women as having been 'bind them in marriage and chastise them with menial service for life' The verb bind is directly connotative of a physical captivity that one is desperate to be free from, it is also adds to the negative tone, showing that marriage was a hardy, difficult trap, almost impossible to flee. Despite marriage not generally being ...

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...t of Firdaus and also allows better understanding of her motives and desperation to be free, having been surveilled and captive all her life. The theme of captivity is significant in making readers question their own lifestyles as Firdaus does, either making us count our blessings or query as to if we are all captive in some smaller way. By repeating the theme of captivity in a variety of ways throughout, El Saadawi furthermore ensures it is brought to the readers full attention, provoking us either into action to ensure less captivity for women like Firdaus or into guilt over our assumedly freer lives. The continually captive and oppressed Firdaus is symbolic of any woman today subject to captivity and injustices from their societies, and in a world where this continually occurs this theme is both universally significant and relevant in the modern societies today.
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