Literature Written Assignment
Word Count: 1221
The Roles of Money, Power, and Sexuality in Woman at Point Zero
Nawal el Saadawi does an exceptional job applying various symbols and motifs into her novel Woman at Point Zero. These elements are essential to the novel’s structure as well its plot. Not only do these symbols and motifs provide historically accurate information about the treatment of women in Egyptian society, they also provide insight into the mind of the novel’s protagonist Firdaus. Throughout the course of the novel, the ideas generated in Firdaus’ head fluctuate due to experiences concerning the symbols and motifs presented by Nawal el Saadawi. The reader’s interpretation of Firdaus’ thoughts and actions are crucial to understanding the concepts that Nawal el Saadawi meant to portray throughout the novel. The inner mechanisms of Firdaus’ mind are presented to the reader through the author’s use of symbols, such as money and power, and motifs, such as sexual pleasure, in Woman at Point Zero.
During her childhood, Firdaus’ family was the source for her initial views on money and power. Firdaus was born into a poor family and lived in a community stricken with poverty. As a child, Firdaus relied on her parents and other family members for any amount of money; Firdaus never had any real money of her own. Her father was considered the “master” of the household and many of his actions gave Firdaus a simple, black and white view on power: men possess power, women do not. Firdaus grew up in a society where virtually any man has power over any woman; this concept is demonstrated to Firdaus when her uncle forces her to marry Sheikh Mahmoud. The abusive relationship Firdaus formed with her husband, created by the unbalance of power, encourages her to run away from her home and escape her past life. Soon after this event, Firdaus finds Sharifa, who will play the role of Firdaus’ mentor. After Firdaus meets Sharifa, her opinions and views...