Essay on Salman Rushdie’s Idea of Women in The Satanic Verses

Essay on Salman Rushdie’s Idea of Women in The Satanic Verses

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In Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses Rushdie tells a story about two men, Saladin Chamcha and Gibreel Farishta, oddly connected by the fact that they both survive the hijacking of their aircraft. Throughout the novel, Gibreel has powerful dreams in which the narrator brings up the topic of the Satanic Verses. The Satanic Verses were supposedly verses that Muhammad said were part of the Quran and then were later revoked. The Verses allegedly said that Allah was not the only god and that there were three slightly lesser female deities. It is believed that the Satanic Verses were removed from the Quran because they accepted females as divine. In The Satanic Verses women are portrayed as evil or tainted because they stray men from living the proper Islamic life according to how the Quran says they should live. Through Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha’s stories in the novel, Rushdie shows the reader what he believes to be the role of women in the Islamic culture, nothing more than simply an object for the purpose of satisfying men. He believes that the reason women are expected to fill a traditional role in society is because of Islam and its teachings.
Rushdie uses The Satanic Verses and his critical essay “In Good Faith” to explain the reasoning behind why some women do not take pleasure in being a part of the Islamic culture. In Salman Rushdie’s essay “In Good Faith” he describes the unfair standards that women are subject to in Islamic culture. He says that sons get twice as much inheritance as daughters and widows are only entitled to an eighth of a share (In Good Faith, 400). The punishments for thievery or prostitution are stoning to death or mutilation, but the consequences for these infractions apply to women al...

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...eves those Satanic Verses to be a key factor behind the maltreatment of women in Islamic society because they only reinforce the idea that women are less valuable than men. Through the use of the devil as the narrator, Rushdie illustrates how Satan is more of a caring god to Muslim women than Allah because of the better way of life and more value they have with him rather than with God.

Works Cited
Phillips, Kathy J. "Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses as a Feminist Novel." Literary Studies East and West: Constructions and Confrontations: Changing Representations of Women and Feminisms, East and West. Ed. Cristina Bacchilega and Cornelia N. Moore. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1996.
Rushdie, Salman. “In Good Faith.” Imaginary Homelands London: Grata, 1991: 393-414.
Rushdie, Salman. The Satanic Verses. New York: Random House Publishing Group, 1988.

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